Chica da Silva: A Brazilian Slave of the Eighteenth Century

Chica da Silva: A Brazilian Slave of the Eighteenth Century

Cambridge University Press
January 2009
348 pages
228 x 152 mm; 0.6kg
Hardback ISBN: 9780521884655

Júnia Ferreira Furtado, Professor of Modern History
Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Júnia Ferreira Furtado offers a fascinating study of the world of a freed woman of color in a small Brazilian town where itinerant merchants, former slaves, Portuguese administrators and concubines interact across social and cultural lines. The child of an African slave and a Brazilian military nobleman of Portuguese descent, Chica da Silva won her freedom using social and matrimonial strategies. But her story is not merely the personal history of a woman, or the social history of a colonial Brazilian town. Rather, it provides a historical perspective on the cultural universe she inhabited, and the myths that were created around her in subsequent centuries, as Chica de Silva came to symbolize both an example of racial democracy and the stereotype of licentiousness and sensuality always attributed to the black or mulatta female in the Brazilian popular imagination.

  • Explores issues of slavery, racial distinction, gender, social mobility, and local colonial policy
  • Draws on a wide range of sources, including major archives in Brazil and Portugal, as well as literature on the colonial period in Portuguese and English
  • For scholars in Atlantic history, African diaspora, slavery, gender, and Latin American history

Read the beginning of the introduction here.

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