“Race” and cultural achievement

In his early work, Ross begins conceptually linking race to such cultural achievements as education and Bildung.

Ross has a range of responses to the notion of two different races living side by side. At the end of the referenced chapter, there is a brief passage in which such a question is raised, and here, Ross imagines a slow, steady mixture of Europeans and South American natives into a new “race”. Significant are the terms in which he imagines this new race—it is the mixture of German education and governmental structure with South American character traits, and thus includes both cultural and ‘climatic’ categories.

On his journey, Ross meets a German surveyor, who leads Ross “to the Indian puesto, where he eats and sleeps. Here, the brown-skinned señorita serves him maté […] Next to the old Indian, who can neither read nor write, who knows nothing aside from his horses and sheep, sits the academically educated German engineer and former Royal Prussian officer of the state, who drinks from the same bombilla—the straw with a sieve at the bottom—and speaks with the Indio caballero to caballero. A newcomer from Europe who is accustomed to completely different conditions is always surprised by the natural, gentlemanly certitude with which even the simplest natives of this land act. […] Watching the two next to each other, I see a vision of the future of this state in which a new land and a new race comes into being, almost imperceptibly, out of the greatest contrasts of climate, soil, and man”.

Kristin Kopp

Colin Ross. Auf dem Cayuncohochland. In: Südamerika, die aufsteigende Welt. 1. Aufl. Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus; 1922; 125-130.

Topic: Race
Case: Geopolitics

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