What do Brazilians look like?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2016-06-28 01:11Z by Steven

What do Brazilians look like?

Eye on Brazil: Observations of an Ex-Expat

Sabrina Gledhill, PhD

I recently came across an article that has sparked all kinds of responses online and the time has come to add one of my own. Titled Future Humans Will All Look Brazilian, Researcher Says it naturally caught my eye! Without even reading it, my first question was, which Brazilians, from where?

While I was brunching in Paris with a fellow Brit earlier this year, two women asked to share our table and started speaking Spanish. I initially assumed they were from Spain, since we were in Europe. Also, one was “Mediterranean” looking and the other was a blue-eyed blonde, which is entirely possible in Iberia. When we eventually joined in the conversation (in English), it turned out that the “Mediterranean” woman was from Argentina and the blonde was…wait for it…from Brazil! My British companion was surprised, and said she didn’t look Brazilian. I explained that they come in all shapes and sizes…

Read the entire article here.

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Future Humans Will All Look Brazilian, Researcher Says

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-28 01:04Z by Steven

Future Humans Will All Look Brazilian, Researcher Says

Business Insider

Natalie Wolchover

It really happened: Six generations of inbreeding spanning the years 1800 to 1960 caused an isolated population of humans living in the hills of Kentucky to become blue-skinned.

The startlingly blue people, all descendants of a French immigrant named Martin Fugate and still living near his original settlement on the banks of Troublesome Creek when hematologists studied them in the 1960s, turned out to have a rare blood condition called methemoglobinemia. A recessive gene was pairing with itself to change the molecular composition of their blood, making it brown as opposed to red, which tinted their skin blue.

The hematologists’ attempt to trace the history of the mutant gene revealed a gnarly Fugate family tree, contorted by many an intermarriage between first cousins, aunts and nephews, and the like over the generations. Dennis Stacy, whose great-great-grandfather on both his mother’s and father’s sides was the same person – Henley Fugate – offered a simple explanation for the rampant interbreeding: In the old days in eastern Kentucky, Stacy said, “There was no roads.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Confounding Anti-racism: Mixture, Racial Democracy, and Post-racial Politics in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science on 2016-06-22 17:48Z by Steven

Confounding Anti-racism: Mixture, Racial Democracy, and Post-racial Politics in Brazil

Critical Sociology
July 2016, Volume 42, Numbers 4-5
pages 495-513
DOI: 10.1177/0896920513508663

Alexandre Emboaba Da Costa, Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Policy Studies
University of Alberta, Canada

In this article, I analyze the particularity of post-racial ideology in Brazil. I examine recent deployments of mixture and racial democracy as re-articulations of historically hegemonic versions of these ideologies that minimize the problem of racism, deny its systemic nature, and deem ethno-racial policies as threats to achieving nonracial belonging and citizenship. Drawing on scholarship on race and racism from the United States, Brazil, and elsewhere in Latin America, I delineate a relational framework for analyzing the post-racial and apply this framework to three examples of post-racial ideology. Through these examples, I illustrate the problematic logics shaping aggressive investments in the post-racial as future promise to the detriment of addressing the unequal effects racial difference presents for inclusion/exclusion today. The article asserts the necessity of mounting transnational and interdisciplinary theoretical, epistemological, and practical strategies to challenge the ways post-racial ideologies rearticulate racial hierarchies, maintain racial subordination, and delimit social change.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Brazil, Mixture Or Massacre? Essays in the Genocide of a Black People

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2016-06-19 23:41Z by Steven

Brazil, Mixture Or Massacre? Essays in the Genocide of a Black People

The Majority Press
214 pages
5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
Paperback ISBN: 978-0912469263

Abdias do Nascimento (1914-2014)

Translated by Elisa Larkin Nascimento

Nascimento explodes the myth of a “racial democracy” in Brazil. The author is a major figure in Afro-Brazilian arts, politics and scholarship. He founded the Black Experimental Theatre in Rio de Janeiro in 1944 and was an elected member of the Brazilian Congress from 1982 to 1986.

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Considering Brazil’s Racial Heritage

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Interviews, Media Archive on 2016-06-19 17:30Z by Steven

Considering Brazil’s Racial Heritage


Laura C. Mallonee

The 18th-century Brazilian sculptor Aleijadinho was the mixed-race son of a black slave and one of his country’s most legendary artists. In the gold-rich state of Minas Gerais, where millions lost their lives in the mines, tourists still pay to visit the immaculate baroque churches he embellished. Though leprosy took his fingers, rumor has it he continued chiseling away with tools tied to the stumps of his hands.

Aleijadinho’s enigmatic life married two contrasting subjects that have preoccupied Adriana Varejão for the past 20 years: the oft-forgotten history of Brazil’s mestizo identity, and the dramatic baroque art of the colonial period. These underpin series like Tongues and Incisions (1997–2003) and more recently Polvo (2013–2014), both which are currently featured in Adriana Varejão at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston — the artist’s first U.S. solo museum show.

Varejão spoke with us recently from her studio in Rio de Janeiro about her childhood in Brasilia, why she is drawn to painting meat, and how she feels about being a “Latin American artist.”

Laura C. Mallonee: Your family lived in Brasilia when you were very young, because your father was a pilot in the air force. That would have been less than a decade after the city was completed in 1960. What was it like?

Adriana Varejão: Just emptiness. No history. Very red, because the earth is red, and there was a lot of earth around because there was not much vegetation. They’d just built everything. This crazy president had decided to build a capital in the middle of nowhere. They called many people from all over Brazil to build Brasilia, so there was a huge amount of immigrants. Black people, Indian people, very mixed race. Very, very poor people. And they built these satellite cities where these people used to live. They were miserable cities. My mother used to work with child malnutrition in a hospital in one of them. I remember the kids with those huge bellies…

LCM: How do you view yourself racially?

AV: I am as Portuguese as I am Indian as I am black. I believe in building a mestizo identity, which means to have everything together with balance. When people come to Brazil, they forget their ancestral identity. They tend to. So Brazilians become Brazilians very quick. People don’t say here, “I’m Afro-this and this.” Or, “I’m Portuguese this and this.” No, they say, “I’m Brazilian.” This is a good point about us…

Read the entire interview here.

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Becoming Black Political Subjects: Movements and Ethno-Racial Rights in Colombia and Brazil

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2016-06-19 02:02Z by Steven

Becoming Black Political Subjects: Movements and Ethno-Racial Rights in Colombia and Brazil

Princeton University Press
328 pages
6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 9780691169385
eBook ISBN: 978140088107

Tianna S. Paschel, Assistant Professor of African American Studies
University of California, Berkeley

After decades of denying racism and underplaying cultural diversity, Latin American states began adopting transformative ethno-racial legislation in the late 1980s. In addition to symbolic recognition of indigenous peoples and black populations, governments in the region created a more pluralistic model of citizenship and made significant reforms in the areas of land, health, education, and development policy. Becoming Black Political Subjects explores this shift from color blindness to ethno-racial legislation in two of the most important cases in the region: Colombia and Brazil.

Drawing on archival and ethnographic research, Tianna Paschel shows how, over a short period, black movements and their claims went from being marginalized to become institutionalized into the law, state bureaucracies, and mainstream politics. The strategic actions of a small group of black activists—working in the context of domestic unrest and the international community’s growing interest in ethno-racial issues—successfully brought about change. Paschel also examines the consequences of these reforms, including the institutionalization of certain ideas of blackness, the reconfiguration of black movement organizations, and the unmaking of black rights in the face of reactionary movements.

Becoming Black Political Subjects offers important insights into the changing landscape of race and Latin American politics and provokes readers to adopt a more transnational and flexible understanding of social movements.

Table of Contents

  • List of Organizations
  • 1. Political Field Alignments
  • 2. Making Mestizajes
  • 3. Black Movements in Colorblind Fields
  • 4. The Multicultural Alignment
  • 5. The Racial Equality Alignment
  • 6. Navigating the Ethno-Racial State
  • 7. Unmaking Black Political Subjects
  • 8. Rethinking Race, Rethinking Movements
  • Methodological Appendix
  • Notes
  • References
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
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A Brazilian Artist’s ‘Self-Portraits’ Explore The Beauty Of Interracial Identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2016-06-18 23:46Z by Steven

A Brazilian Artist’s ‘Self-Portraits’ Explore The Beauty Of Interracial Identity

The Huffington Post

Katherine Brooks, Senior Arts & Culture Editor

In honor of mestizaje, Adriana Varejão paints herself donning the markings and ornamentation of Native Americans.

In 1976, a Brazilian census asked citizens of the country — for the very first time — to describe and identify their own skin color.

This was a significant moment for the former European colony, now considered one of the most ethnically diverse nations in the world, that’s historically struggled with discriminatory policies that disproportionately affect African descendants and interracial people. Though it may have been used for more nefarious purposes at the time, the census was a small step in affirming the many identities that exist in Brazil, wedged in the massive gap between black and white.

The survey produced over 130 different skin color descriptions, ranging from “Morena-roxa” (purplish-tan) to “Café-com-leite” (milky coffee) to “Queimada-de-sol” (sun-kissed). Fast forward a few decades, and Brazilian artist Adriana Varejão became transfixed with the multitude of colors expressed in the census, interested in the ways it illustrated — in sensual detail — the beauty of mestizaje, or the mixing of ancestries, in her home.

So in 2014, Varejão, who lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, created “Polvo,” a series of self-portraits that explore the diversity of identity in Brazil using a paint palette inspired by the 1976 census. First, she mixed oil paints herself, reproducing colors like “Amarela-quemada” (burnt yellow or ochre) and “Paraíba” (like the color of marupa wood) as pigments. Then, she painted her own image, over and over, in a variety of browns, pinks, blacks and whites; a reflection of the many ways Brazilian self-definition takes form…

Read the entire article here.

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Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-06-18 23:21Z by Steven

Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil

Duke University Press
304 pages
11 b&w photographs, 4 tables
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2260-3
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-2292-4

Jeffrey Lesser, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Winner, Brazil in Comparative Perspective section of Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Best Book Award

Despite great ethnic and racial diversity, ethnicity in Brazil is often portrayed as a matter of black or white, a distinction reinforced by the ruling elite’s efforts to craft the nation’s identity in its own image—white, Christian, and European. In Negotiating National Identity Jeffrey Lesser explores the crucial role ethnic minorities from China, Japan, North Africa, and the Middle East have played in constructing Brazil’s national identity, thereby challenging dominant notions of nationality and citizenship.

Employing a cross-cultural approach, Lesser examines a variety of acculturating responses by minority groups, from insisting on their own whiteness to becoming ultra-nationalists and even entering secret societies that insisted Japan had won World War II. He discusses how various minority groups engaged in similar, and successful, strategies of integration even as they faced immense discrimination and prejudice. Some believed that their ethnic heritage was too high a price to pay for the “privilege” of being white and created alternative categories for themselves, such as Syrian-Lebanese, Japanese-Brazilian, and so on. By giving voice to the role ethnic minorities have played in weaving a broader definition of national identity, this book challenges the notion that elite discourse is hegemonic and provides the first comprehensive look at Brazilian worlds often ignored by scholars.

Based on extensive research, Negotiating National Identity will be valuable to scholars and students in Brazilian and Latin American studies, as well as those in the fields of immigrant history, ethnic studies, and race relations.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • The Hidden Hyphen
  • Chinese Labor and the Debate over Ethnic Integration
  • Constructing Ethnic Space
  • Searching for a Hyphen
  • Negotiations and New Identities
  • Turning Japanese
  • A Suggestive Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Race and Nation in Modern Latin America

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico on 2016-06-18 23:11Z by Steven

Race and Nation in Modern Latin America

University of North Carolina Press
March 2003
352 pages
5 illus., notes, bibl., index
6.125 x 9.25
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8078-5441-9

Edited By:

Nancy P. Appelbaum, Associate professor of History
State University of New York, Binghamton

Anne S. Macpherson, Associate Professor of History
State University of New York, Brockport

Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt, Associate Professor of History
Unversity of Maryland

With a foreword by Thomas C. Holt and an afterword by Peter Wade

This collection brings together innovative historical work on race and national identity in Latin America and the Caribbean and places this scholarship in the context of interdisciplinary and transnational discussions regarding race and nation in the Americas. Moving beyond debates about whether ideologies of racial democracy have actually served to obscure discrimination, the book shows how notions of race and nationhood have varied over time across Latin America’s political landscapes.

Framing the themes and questions explored in the volume, the editors’ introduction also provides an overview of the current state of the interdisciplinary literature on race and nation-state formation. Essays on the post-independence period in Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, and Peru consider how popular and elite racial constructs have developed in relation to one another and to processes of nation building. Contributors also examine how ideas regarding racial and national identities have been gendered and ask how racialized constructions of nationhood have shaped and limited the citizenship rights of subordinated groups.

The contributors are Sueann Caulfield, Sarah C. Chambers, Lillian Guerra, Anne S. Macpherson, Aims McGuinness, Gerardo Rénique, James Sanders, Alexandra Minna Stern, and Barbara Weinstein.

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Dreaming Equality: Color, Race, and Racism in Urban Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2016-06-18 21:26Z by Steven

Dreaming Equality: Color, Race, and Racism in Urban Brazil

Rutgers University Press
November 2001
278 pages
6 x 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8135-3000-0
Web PDF ISBN: 978-0-8135-5602-4

Robin E. Sheriff, Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of New Hampshire

In the 1933 publication The Masters and the Slaves, Brazilian scholar and novelist Gilberto Freyre challenged the racist ideas of his day by defending the “African contribution” to Brazil’s culture. In so doing, he proposed that Brazil was relatively free of most forms of racial prejudice and could best be understood as a “racial democracy.” Over time this view has grown into the popular myth that racism in Brazil is very mild or nonexistent.

This myth contrasts starkly with the realities of a pernicious racial inequality that permeates every aspect of Brazilian life. To study the grip of this myth on African Brazilians’ views of themselves and their nation, Robin E. Sheriff spent twenty months in a primarily black shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, studying the inhabitants’s views of race and racism. How, she asks, do poor African Brazilians experience and interpret racism in a country where its very existence tends to be publicly denied? How is racism talked about privately in the family and publicly in the community—or is it talked about at all?

Sheriff’s analysis is particularly important because most Brazilians live in urban settings, and her examination of their views of race and racism sheds light on common but underarticulated racial attitudes. This book is the first to demonstrate that urban African Brazilians do not subscribe to the racial democracy myth and recognize racism as a central factor shaping their lives.

Table Of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 The Hill
  • Chapter 2 Talk: Discourses on Color and Race
  • Chapter 3 Silence: Racism and Cultural Censorship
  • Chapter 4 Narratives: Racism on the Asphalt
  • Chapter 5 Narratives: Racism at Home
  • Chapter 6 Whiteness: Middle-Class Discourses
  • Chapter 7 Blackness: Militant Discourses
  • Chapter 8 Conclusion: Dreaming
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index
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