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7726: Richard McGee Morse, Latin America Expert, Is Dead at 78 (fwd)
Of course, we all extend our condolences to Richard and his family. His
father was a true friend of Haiti.
The New York Times
April 28, 2001
By SIMON ROMERO
Richard McGee Morse, a historian who influenced the field of Latin American studies through his belief that the cultures of Ibero America could help Anglo America understand its own assumptions, died on April 17 in Pétionville, Haiti. He was 78.
Mr. Morse was one of the first academics in the United States to offer a nontraditional analysis of Latin America by suggesting, often to the dismay of contemporaries, that English-speaking North America had much to learn from the cultures of Spanish-, Portuguese- and French-speaking countries of the South.
His most influential work was perhaps "Prospero's Mirror," published in Spanish in 1982 and in Portuguese in 1988, but never entirely in English.
"For two centuries a North American mirror has been held aggressively to the South, with unsettling consequences," he wrote in the preface. "The time has perhaps come to turn the reflecting surface around. At a moment when Anglo America may be experiencing failure of nerve, it seems timely to set before it the historical experience of Ibero America, not now as a case study in frustrated development but as the living- out of a civilizational option."
Mr. Morse's interest in Latin America was sparked during a research trip to Cuba in 1942, while he was an undergraduate at Princeton.
Mr. Morse was born on June 26, 1922, in Summit, N.J., and reared in Connecticut. His forebears were from New England.
He attended the Hotchkiss School and Princeton. During World War II he served in the Navy in the Pacific, then enrolled in Columbia, earning a Ph.D. in history and teaching there.
In 1954, he married Emerante de Pradines, the daughter of a prominent family in Haiti, who was studying dance with Martha Graham.
The Morses moved to Puerto Rico, where Mr. Morse was a founder the Institute of Caribbean Studies.
His book "From Community to Metropolis: A Biography of São Paulo, Brazil," published in 1958, established him as a pioneering voice on Latin America.
Mr. Morse taught at Yale from 1962 to 1978. He befriended Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a former left- wing sociologist who became a centrist and is now the president of Brazil.
>From Yale, Mr. Morse went to Stanford, where he taught until 1984, then moved to Washington as secretary of the Latin American program at the Woodrow Wilson Center. In 1993, Mr. Morse was awarded the Order of the Southern Cross for contributions to Brazilian culture, the nation's highest honor for non-Brazilians.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Morse is survived by a son, Richard A. Morse, a musician and the proprietor of the Grand Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince, and three grandchildren.
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