A Telenovela, Slavery, and the Diaspora

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2016-04-18 01:40Z by Steven

A Telenovela, Slavery, and the Diaspora

African American Intellectual History Society
2016-04-17

Greg Childs

A Escrava Isaura, the 1875 novel by Bernardo Guimarães, was one of a number of late 19th century works of fiction in Brazil that focused on abolitionism. The story revolves around a young enslaved girl named Isaura, her efforts to gain freedom and become married to Alvaro, a wealthy white man who believes fervently in abolition, as well as her trials and tribulations with the plantation overseer who aims to seduce her and make her his concubine. It was quite transparently an anti-slavery propaganda novel. But it was also quite transparently an idealized romance, an effort to portray liberal whiteness as a heroic and saving grace for enslaved peoples. The novel was a huge success in Brazil and catapulted the author to immediate national fame.

Later in 1976 the novel would be reconceptualized as a television show, or telenovela. It was wildly successful and became one of the most watched television programs in the world, broadcasted in over 80 countries. It was undoubtedly a smash success in South America but also in the Soviet Union, China, Poland, and Hungary. In fact, it was in Hungary where the most intriguing- or depending on your perspective, most comical- story about the telenovela comes to us. According to legend, it was in Hungary in the 1980s where the faithful viewers of Escrava Isaura took up collections after the final episode of the series to help purchase Isaura’s freedom…

Read the entire article here.

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Poetry Betrays Whiteness

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2016-04-14 17:43Z by Steven

Poetry Betrays Whiteness

Harriet: A Poetry Blog
Poetry Foundation
2016-04-12

Lucas de Lima (Introduction by Daniel Borzutzky)

Among the many pointed questions that Lucas de Lima raises in “Poetry Betrays Whiteness” is that of how positions of unitedstatesian privilege can be used “to fight structural inequality and global anti-blackness.” This far-reaching essay touches upon, among other things, conceptions of race in the U.S. and Brazil; afro-Brazilian artists who have offered alternative conceptions; and a fascinating discussion of the ways that Brazilian Portuguese has been shaped by indigenous and African influences.

Lucas concludes by drawing our attention to a racist and sexist post on Harriet in 2008 that I had never seen before, and which sadly seems illustrative of the disgusting racism embedded in U.S. literary institutions that has been exposed in the past few years. Lucas asks, among other things, for the Poetry Foundation to take responsibility for the publication of the racist post it provided a platform for. This is a fair request, and one that I second. We should know why such posts are published. Editorial policies surrounding racist content should be clearly articulated and transparent

…When I’m in Brazil—the country with the largest Black population in the world outside of Africa—I am not a light-skinned Latino or a person of color. I occupy the position of a white person.

Lately, moving between racial categories has magnified my political feelings. The more time I spend in the country I left as a child, the more I hone the grief and rage that whiteness, as a global logic, provokes in me. For every Black person killed by the police in the U.S., countless more are killed in Brazil. In both places, the rise of police brutality and mass incarceration is one condition of racialized life. Another is the exploding suicide rate in Native communities, particularly among youth.

I think of nation-states as inherently militarized spaces articulated through each other. When Frederick Douglass said Brazil was less racist than the U.S. in its treatment of freed slaves, he anticipated the self-fashioning of a ‘racial democracy’ whose mixture would be defined against U.S.-style segregation. Like the vast majority of Brazilians, I have mixed-race ancestry. Because my nonwhite ancestors survived, I am alive and need to be explicit about the horrors of miscegenation—the rape of African and Indigenous women by Portuguese men. My light skin is the result of policies that whitened the population by incentivizing European immigration at the turn of the century. I think all the time about how the state transmits white supremacy through my body. My phenotype encodes a national fear of being too black and brown. As in other slaveholding societies, the idea that Brazil could one day be Haiti haunted the elite…

Read the entire article here.

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How Soccer Helped Brazil Embrace Its Racial Diversity

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2016-04-07 01:02Z by Steven

How Soccer Helped Brazil Embrace Its Racial Diversity

Zócalo Public Square
KCRW
Santa Monica, California
2016-04-06

Joshua Nadel, Associate Professor of History
North Carolina Central University

Brazil—as two recent book titles point out, and almost any kid kicking a ball anywhere in the world can tell you—is the country of soccer. While the modern sport’s actual birthplace is England, Brazil is the spiritual center of the sport. Brazil, whose beloved canarinho team is the only one to play in all World Cups and to have won five, perfected the English invention, inspiring a more poetic, fluid version of the game. And while Brazil made modern soccer, the extent to which soccer made modern Brazil is often underappreciated.

The sport landed in Brazil (and throughout Latin America) at the moment of the creation of the modern nation state, in the late 19th century. As a result it tied into the historical narratives—the stories that Brazilians crafted about themselves—that underpinned the nascent nation. Soccer helped to knit Brazil together into one country in the early 20th century and played a key role in incorporating people of African descent into the polity.

Soccer arrived in Brazil in the 1890s, brought by British workers and Anglo-Brazilian youth who were returning from school in England. At first played in elite social clubs like the São Paulo Athletic Club, the sport soon diffused downwards to the masses, and by the first decades of the 20th century was already the most popular sport in the country. Most soccer histories in Latin America suggest two separate “births”—the foreign birth marked by arrival of sport and the dominance of expatriate teams; and the national birth, when the local youth began to beat the Europeans at their game. In Brazil a third birth exists: when Afro-Brazilians enter the field in large numbers…

Read the entire article here.

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Whiteness and Miscegenation: Ethnographic Notes, Social Classifications and Silences in the Brazilian Context

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2016-04-01 18:47Z by Steven

Whiteness and Miscegenation: Ethnographic Notes, Social Classifications and Silences in the Brazilian Context

Studi Culturali
Volume VII, Number 1, April 2010
pages 87-102
DOI: 10.1405/31883

Valeria Ribeiro Corossacz
Dipartimento di studi linguistici e culturali
Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia

This article presents some reflections from ongoing research on white upper-middle class men in Rio de Janeiro. The analysis of the construction of whiteness as an object of ethnographic enquiry permits us to consider the specificities and difficulties of ethnographic research on a category that in Euro-Western and Brazilian contexts represents the Self through which the social and cultural Other is defined. From these premises the article investigates what it means to classify him/herself and to be classified as white in Brazilian society, historically characterised by a valorisation of miscegenation and currently by a heated debate on anti-racist policies. The material presented shows how the invisibility of whiteness is associated on the one hand to the perception of the privilege connected to it, on the other hand to the pre-eminence of social class as an interpretive category.

Read or purchase the article here.

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“Whitening” and Whitewashing: Postcolonial Brazil is not an Egalitarian “Rainbow Nation”

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2016-03-20 01:12Z by Steven

“Whitening” and Whitewashing: Postcolonial Brazil is not an Egalitarian “Rainbow Nation”

The Postcolonialist
2014-03-04

Sarah Lempp

To commemorate the 500th anniversary of its “discovery” by Portuguese sailor Alvares de Cabral in 2000, Brazil officially presented itself as a “rainbow nation” without discrimination or racism; a place where people from various ethnicities live peacefully together. That the “discovery” caused slavery and death for millions of Indigenes and Africans was overlooked. The Portuguese colonization was seen as a “non-imperial act, an exercise of fraternity and intercultural and interethnic democracy”, says Portuguese sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos.[1]

The German author Stefan Zweig, who fled to Brazil from Nazi Germany, already considered Brazil a paradise characterized by hybridity and said in 1941 that Brazil “has taken the racial problem, that unsettles our European world ad absurdum in the simplest manner: in plainly ignoring its validity.” (translation S.L.)[2] According to Zweig, “for hundreds of years the Brazilian nation relies on the sole principle of free and unrestrained mixing, perfect equality of black and white, brown and yellow. (…) There are no limits to colours, no boundaries, no supercilious hierarchies…”[3]

Hence the image of Brazil as a tolerant, peaceful, “mestiço” nation is not at all new. But it ignores then and still today the multifaceted forms of discrimination and specifically Brazilian shapes of racism…

Read the entire article here.

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Inclusion Policies and the Future of Racial Relations in Brazil

Posted in Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Live Events, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2016-03-09 22:59Z by Steven

Inclusion Policies and the Future of Racial Relations in Brazil

The Futures We Want: Global Sociology and the Struggles for a Better World
3rd ISA Forum of Sociology
2016-07-10 through 2016-07-14
Vienna, Austria

Tuesday, 2016-07-12, 09:30 CEST (Local Time)
Room: Hörsaal 34

Oral Presentation

Valter Silvério, Associate Professor of Sociology
Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos, Brazil

Antonio Guimarães, Professor
Department of Sociology
Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil

After the adoption of a new Constitution in 1988, race related issues have been transposed from the private to the public sphere. Affirmative action for blacks, native Brazilians, and the poor have been spread all over the country, and a Federal Affirmative Action statute and program was created. The Statute for Racial Equality was voted into law in Congress and Federal Education Guidelines were altered to include obligatory teaching on race relations, black Brazilian culture, and African history throughout basic education. Besides being a major symbolic break through, these new policies combined have the potential to lower the levels of racial inequality and discrimination that have plagued the country throughout its history.

Nonetheless, this whole process has not been devoid of tensions and contradictions. For example, if the recognition of a black identity put into question the narrative of miscegenation and racial harmony that underpinned Brazil’s national identity for decades. It also challenges sociologists to make sense of these ongoing changes in public policy and of the role of the State in fighting inequality and fostering identity formation. Given that scenario, a central question organizing this panel is: How societies with a history of structural inequality and racial domination can evolve toward a more equal stand and mutual recognition among social groups? Answering this question implies discussing the possible paths opened to improving the status and standing of individuals and groups in a context in which the ideology of racial democracy (or similar national narratives) still holds sway in the minds of many people, including the local elites.

The roundtable aims at addressing the above question from different perspectives, looking into the Brazilian and Latin America current debates and paying attention to the transformations and new challenges faced by these societies.

For more information, click here.

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Afro-Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Course Offerings, Forthcoming Media, History, Mexico, United States on 2016-03-09 22:08Z by Steven

Afro-Latin America

State University of New York, Albany
Summer 2016
Course Info: ALCS 203

Luis Paredes

Analysis of blackness in Latin America with a focus on the representations of peoples of African descent in national identities and discourses. The course examines some of the “myths of foundation” of Latin American nations (e.g. The “cosmic race” in Mexico, “racial democracy” in Brazil, etc.), and how these myths bring together ideas of nation, gender, race, blackness, whiteness, and mestizaje (racial and cultural mixture).

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​black girls rule: celebrating brazilian women of colour

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Gay & Lesbian, Interviews, Media Archive, Women on 2016-03-08 14:44Z by Steven

​black girls rule: celebrating brazilian women of colour

i-D
2016-03-08

Hattie Collins

Weudson Ribeiro’s new photobook Black Girl Power is shining a light on black female identity and LGBT women of colour in brazil.


Brasilia based photographer, journalist and political scientist Weudson Ribeiro is known for his images celebrating Brazilian queer culture. In his latest series, Superafro: BLACK GIRL POWER, Ribero documents Brazilian LGBT women who proudly express their sexuality and their blackness as a political statement…

Tell us about Black Girl Power and what you wanted to document, not only regarding black female identity, but that of LGBT women of colour.

With Superafro: BLACK GIRL POWER, I intend to document the huge diversity within the Afro-Brazilian spectrum, celebrate the beauty of women of colour and, hopefully, make a positive difference in the fight for freedom and equality by raising awareness of issues that affect the reality of black people in Brazil, since we live in a society moulded by racism, pigmentocracy, disenfranchisement and sexism. With the phenomenal rise of feminism amongst young women and a greater access to information provided by digital inclusion, I notice females feel more encouraged to wear their hair natural, or as they will, express their sexuality and reject euphemisms employed to address Afro features as though Negroid was a burden…

What do the women of your pictures represent?

Those women represent the stand against the odds of a judgemental society. Personally, meeting such beautiful and smart black women was a watershed. Being the only son of mixed-race parents, I had a hard time understanding and accepting my own blackness. It’s a problem that affects the vast majority of Brazilians as a result of our highly mixed ethnic backgrounds. So, as in the womb, this series marks to me a rebirth as a proud black LGBT man, after 24 years struggling with my racial identity…

Read the entire interview here.

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“When I discovered that I’m black”: How racism is so cruel, that it makes it difficult for black people to recognize themselves as such

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2016-03-08 00:52Z by Steven

“When I discovered that I’m black”: How racism is so cruel, that it makes it difficult for black people to recognize themselves as such

Black Women of Brazil: The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent
2016-03-04

Jônatas Cordeiro da Silva

Originally “When I discovered that I’m black: “I’ll tell my story, because I also have one.”” from Hey Fala, January 11, 2016.

Today I feel the necessity of telling you how I discovered myself (and I’m still discovering) as black, which I will cover in a brief discussion of miscegenation.

When I see some cases, such as for example, (futebol star) Neymar who says that he’s not preto (black) or Caio (You Tuber Jout Jout’s boyfriend) who declares himself pardo (brown). I remember how difficult it was for me to recognize myself as black. I always knew that I wasn’t white, not only by the color of my skin, hair, and features, but also because of the places that neither I nor my ancestors occupied, however there is a big difference between not being branco (white) and being black.

It’s important to point out that in some way miscegenation in Brazil was historically simple, also one of the factors for miscegenation was the rape of black women enslaved by their colonizers, indigenous women were also violated. Black people were blamed for the backwardness of the Brazilian nation, there was a eugenicist plan, which envisaged that through the “mistura de raças” (melting pot or mixture of the races) the extinction of black people by 2012, so then Brazil would be a developed nation…

Read the entire article here.

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2016 Duke Global Brazil Conference

Posted in Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Live Events, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2016-03-03 21:11Z by Steven

2016 Duke Global Brazil Conference

Duke University
Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall (FHI Garage)
C105, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse
Durham, North Carolina
2016-03-04, 09:00-17:30 EST (Local Time)

Co-sponsored by FHI Global Brazil Lab and the Duke Brazil Initiative

Invited guests include:

  • Keynote: Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman (USF) – The Color of Love in Bahia
  • Dr. John Collins (CUNY) – Race, Violence, and the State in Bahia
  • Dr. William Pan (Duke) – Environment and Health in the Amazon
  • Dr. Bryan Pitts (U.Ga) – Sound and Politics
  • Guilherme Andreas (JMU) – Flute recital with piano by Gianne Ge Zhu

For more information, click here.

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