Ruralizing Dewey: The American friend, internal colonization, and the Action School in post-revolutionary Mexico (1921-1940)
Valle, Carlos Martinez
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The article examines how and to what extent the ideas of John Dewey were adopted and adapted by the political and educational elite of post-revolutionary Mexico and the consequences of that adoption. It provides the political, cultural, and socio-economic context of reception as well as the various points of entry of Dewey`s ideas including the relation between the Secretary of Education, the Universidad Nacional de México and Columbia University (in particular Teachers College) and the influence of the Protestant missionaries. The article discusses the issues and ideas that characterized the political and educational debates of the time and mediated the traveling and reception of international pedagogical ideas. It pays particular attention to the building of Mexicanidad (nation building) through the incorporation or the integration (depending on the dominant current thought) of the rural and indigenous population in a contradictory and eclectic modernizing project. It does not neglect the negative consequences of the translation of some progressive ideas. The introduction of Dewey`s ideas are discussed within the context of the various political and educational tendencies inside the Secretary. The last part of the paper is devoted to Rafael Ramírez, a progressive educator, a central protagonist, who served in the Secretary for a long time in spite of political changes and who devoted his life to rural education and its civilizing mission. He wrote about education and we can trace his reading of Dewey.