This article explores the emotional community of museum natural scientists in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Argentina, a context in which the growth of museum natural sciences and nation-state formation became closely intertwined. Influenced by powerful nineteenth-century notions of civilization and modernity, Argentine scientists and statemakers sought to create a distinctively Argentine science, which would emulate European science in form but also retain a uniquely national character. A small group of influential museum administrators and scientists consciously strove to strengthen science’s influence in Argentine national society by creating communal norms among scientists that resonated with narratives about civilization and modernity, and that guided proper behavior and emotional expression. Scientists also challenged the expectations of their community, testing the strength of central emotional tenets such as patriotism and objectivity. This article uses emotional communities as a framework for exploring the push and pull between social patterns and individual choices in this critical moment in Argentina’s history, when new and powerful ideas about science—as a modern, objective, and national practice—emerged in tandem with nation-state formation. In particular, this article explores museum natural scientists’ emotional concerns with objectivity and patriotism through a small group of Argentine museum natural scientists: Francisco P. Moreno, Juan B. Ambrosetti, Hermann Burmeister, and Florentino Ameghino.

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