H-Net Reviews: Peace Corps Fantasies

By Amanda Lawson
H-Net Reviews

Peace Corps Fantasies (Molly Geidel)Molly Geidel’s Peace Corps Fantasies argues that the 1960s Peace Corps structured and idealized development as a male-dominated, fraternal community that informed the Peace Corps’ actions in Africa and Latin America. Simultaneously, it created a cultural empire that glorified the United States’ model of capitalist and masculine society based on a modernization theory, which claimed that as societies developed both technologically and socially, they achieved fraternal status with larger, First World nations. This fraternity was especially desirable for the First World as a tool for containment and anti-communism intervention in developing Third World nations. Modernization theory promised a path to prosperity through capitalist economic development.[1] By studying various facets of the 1960s Peace Corps, Geidel breaks down the United States’ implementation of modernization theory and its national and global results.

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