This article analyses the relationship between Richard. E Schultes' scientific explorations, rubber extraction, and the regional processes of state formation that took place in Vaupés, between 1942 and the 1970s, when the second rubber boom ended. Predominant historiography about rubber extraction in Amazonia has focused on the first rubber boom. Based on Schultes' personal archive, press materials, historical documents and fieldwork carried out in Vaupés, this article shows that the knowledge Schultes produced facilitated the resurgence of the boom industry in Vaupés, along with other processes. Among these are the local government's deployment of rubber and rubber tappers as symbols of progress and regional identity, as well as the use of the rubber infrastructure built by north American entrepreneurs as a medium for expanding the sovereignty of the nation-state. Furthermore, this article describes how the mystification and exaltation of rubber and rubber tappers as regional icons also concealed the exploitation of indigenous peoples.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)