The Brazil Reader: History, Culture, Politics

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Bordering all but two of South America’s other nations and by far Latin America’s largest country, Brazil differs linguistically, historically, and culturally from Spanish America. Its indigenous peoples share the country with descendants of Portuguese conquerors and the Africans they imported to work as slaves, along with more recent immigrants from southern Europe, Japan, the Middle East, and elsewhere. Capturing the scope of this country’s rich diversity and distinction as no other book has done—with more than a hundred entries from a wealth of perspectives—The Brazil Reader offers a fascinating guide to Brazilian life, culture, and history.

Complementing traditional views with fresh ones, The Brazil Reader’s historical selections range from early colonization to the present day, with sections on imperial and republican Brazil, the days of slavery, the Vargas years, and the more recent return to democracy. They include letters, photographs, interviews, legal documents, visual art, music, poetry, fiction, reminiscences, and scholarly analyses. They also include observations by ordinary residents, both urban and rural, as well as foreign visitors and experts on Brazil. Probing beneath the surface of Brazilian reality—past and present—The Reader looks at social behavior, women’s lives, architecture, literature, sexuality, popular culture, and strategies for coping with the travails of life in a country where the affluent live in walled compounds to separate themselves from the millions of Brazilians hard-pressed to find food and shelter. Contributing to a full geographic account—from the Amazon to the Northeast and the Central-South—of this country’s singular multiplicity, many pieces have been written expressly for this volume or were translated for it, having never previously been published in English.

This second book in The Latin America Readers series will interest students, specialists, travelers for both business and leisure, and those desiring an in-depth introduction to Brazilian life and culture.

"Indispensable introduction to Brazil for students and general readers includes short scholarly articles, interviews, documents, photographs, and many autobiographical pieces. Begins with precontact indigenous peoples, but about half deals with Brazil since 1945. Topics include indigenous peoples, slavery, Vargas and labor, political protest, women, race relations, marginal groups, and popular culture. Overarching themes are mobility and repression"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 58.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A stellar collection of texts on Brazilian history and contemporary life. No ordinary reader, this volume goes below the surface to introduce an American audience to Brazil’s complexities and diversity.” - Foreign Affairs

“Duke University Press has just brought out . . . the closest thing to a voyage around ‘the great green elbow’ that one of its novelists called his rich and varied country. The book shimmers with every type of essay, historiography, and literary tidbit.” - Rain City Review

“Whether ingested in short sips or long draughts, The Brazil Reader has an accumulative weight, breadth, and durability. . . . [I]t’s a book that offers an intelligent and up-to-date survey of a vital and vibrant country. It’s hard to imagine how we were able to get along without it.” - Bondo Wyszpolski, Brazzil

The Brazil Reader is simply indispensable. . . .” - Julio César Pino, Hispanic American Historical Review

The Reader cannot fail to impress. . . . The specialist, the activist, the artist and the anonymous all find a space in The Brazil Reader, creating what the editors describe as a ‘balance of voices.’ In summary, for the well-heeled scholar or the curious undergraduate The Brazil Reader will present possibilities, challenges and thought-provoking reading.” - Jane-Marie Collins, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

“What gives The Brazil Reader its special cachet is freshness, sensitivity, and empathy in its diversity of perspectives on twentieth-century Brazil, from the top down, from the bottom up, and from somewhere in the middle.”—Stanley J. Stein, Princeton University

“A worthy successor to the pioneering Peru Reader, this volume provides a comprehensive guide to Brazil’s history and culture from the Portuguese colonial past to the postmodern present. Defty crossing disciplines and integrating elite and popular realms, The Brazil Reader is certain to please both the serious student and the general reader.”—Gil Joseph, Yale University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822322900
  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1999
  • Series: The Latin America Readers Series
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 619,838
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert M. Levine is Professor of History and Director of Latin American Studies at the University of Miami. He has published extensively on Brazil and is former chair of the Columbia University Seminar on Brazil. His previous books include The Brazilian Photographs of Genevieve Naylor, 1940–1942, and Images of History, both also published by Duke University Press.

John J. Crocitti is Assistant Professor of History at San Diego Mesa College.

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Table of Contents

A Note on Style
Introduction 1
I Origins, Conquest, and Colonial Rule
The Origin of Fire 16
Noble Savages 20
A Description of the Tupinamba 25
The First Wave 33
Letter to Governor Tome de Sousa 37
From the River of Jenero 41
The Sins of Maranhao 43
Minas Uprising of 1720 45
Smuggling in the Diamond District 52
Decree Elevating Brazil to a Kingdom 56
II Imperial and Republican Brazil
Declaration of Brazilian Independence, 1822 63
The Baron of Parnaiba 65
Uprising in Maranhao, 1839-1840 69
A Paraiba Plantation, 1850-1860 76
The Paraguayan War Victory Parade 87
A Vanishing Way of Life 91
A Mirror of Progress 93
Drought and the Image of the Northeast 100
Dom Pedro the Magnanimous 104
Solemn Inaugural Session of December 24, 1900 107
Intellectuals at Play 109
City of Mist 110
The Civilist Campaign 113
Gaucho Leaders, 1923: Photograph 115
Factory Rules, 1924 116
III Slavery and Its Aftermath
The War against Palmares 125
Slave Life at Morro Velho Mine 131
Scenes from the Slave Trade: Logbook Entries 135
Cruelty to Slaves 138
Slavery and Society 143
Abolition Decree, 1888 145
Laws Regulating Beggars in Minas Gerais, 1900 146
IV The Vargas Era
The Social Question 156
Manifesto, May 1930 158
Heroes of the Revolution: Composite Postcard Photograph 160
The "Gold for Sao Paulo" Building, 1932 162
Where They Talk about Rosa Luxemburg 166
Two Versions of Factory Life 172
Seized Correspondence from Communists, 1935-1945 176
The Paulista Synagogue 182
Why the Estado Novo? 184
New Year's Address, 1938 186
Rural Life 190
A New Survey of Brazilian Life 195
General George C. Marshall's Mission to Brazil 197
Comments on the Estado Novo 200
Educational Reform after Twenty Years 204
Ordinary People: Five Lives Affected by Vargas-Era Reforms 206
Vargas's Suicide Letter, 1954 222
V Seeking Democracy and Equity
Rehearsal for the Coup 231
The Military Regime 235
Excerpts from the 1967 Brazilian Constitution 238
Tropicalism and Brazilian Popular Music under Military Rule 241
Literature under the Dictatorship 248
Pele Speaks 254
The Maximum Norm of the Exercise of Liberty 258
Families of Fishermen Confront the Sharks 260
The Reality of the Brazilian Countryside 264
The "Greatest Administrative Scandal" 268
Life on an Occupied Ship 274
A Letter from Brazil 277
Inaugural Address 280
Fernando Henrique Cardoso: Theory and Practice 289
Is Brazil Hopelessly Corrupt? 295
VI Women's Lives
Aunt Zeze's Tears 302
Tarsila and the 1920s 308
The Integral Woman 317
The Children Always Had Milk 319
Women of the Forest 323
My Life 327
A Healer's Story 331
Sonia, a Middle-Class Woman 334
Family Life in Recife 337
Xuxa and the Televisual Imaginary 343
Dreams of Uneducated Women 348
VII Race and Ethnic Relations
A Letter from Brazil, 1918 354
Growing Up Black in Minas Gerais 359
Exotic Peoples 365
Brazil: Study in Black, Brown, and Beige 367
Immigrant Ethnicity in Brazil 374
The Myth of Racial Democracy 379
The National Day against Racism 382
The Church Tries to Combat Prejudice 384
What Color Are You? 386
Mixed Blood 391
VIII Realities
The Animal Game 398
How Brazil Works 402
Iansa Is Not Saint Barbara 408
Upward Mobility Is Possible 411
Crab and Yoghurt 415
Voices from the Pavement 420
Pixote's Fate 423
A Letter to President Cardoso 430
The History of the Huni Kui People 432
Urban Indians 436
Mayor Orders Billboard Shacks Destroyed 441
Cultural Imperialism at Its Most Fashionable 447
The Gay and Lesbian Movement in Brazil 454
Liberation Theology's Rise and Fall 462
IX Saudades
Bananas Is My Business 471
The Invention of Tradition on Brazilian Radio 474
Bahia Music Story 483
O Axe de Zumbi 487
At Carnival 490
Two Poets Sing the New World 491
Two Essays on Sports 497
Suggestions for Further Reading 505
Acknowledgment of Copyrights 511
Index 519
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