The release of a report on the Oswaldo Cruz Institute's 1912 scientific voyage to North and Northeast Brazil, led by physicians Arthur Neiva and Belisário Penna, debate that found its way to the pages of magazines of the letters and sciences. The report used the images of disease, geographic and cultural isolation, illiteracy, poverty, and a vocation for backwardness to portray the people living in interior Brazil. These images of the sertão were extensively criticized in the periodical A Informação Goiana, published by local doctors who refused to see the interior defined as 'sickly' and 'backwards'. The article analyzes the ways in which the Neiva-Penna report distinguished itself, becoming a reference for intellectual controversies surrounding the national question in Brazil.
scientific voyages; sanitarism; sertão; nationalism; Brazil