Brazil's Living Museum: Race, Reform, and Tradition in Bahia

Brazil's Living Museum: Race, Reform, and Tradition in Bahia

by Anadelia A. Romo
     
 

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Brazil's northeastern state of Bahia has built its economy around attracting international tourists to what is billed as the locus of Afro-Brazilian culture and the epicenter of Brazilian racial harmony. Yet this inclusive ideal has a complicated past. Chronicling the discourse among intellectuals and state officials during the period from the abolition of slavery

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Overview

Brazil's northeastern state of Bahia has built its economy around attracting international tourists to what is billed as the locus of Afro-Brazilian culture and the epicenter of Brazilian racial harmony. Yet this inclusive ideal has a complicated past. Chronicling the discourse among intellectuals and state officials during the period from the abolition of slavery in 1888 to the start of Brazil's military regime in 1964, Anadelia Romo uncovers how the state's nonwhite majority moved from being a source of embarrassment to being a critical component of Bahia's identity.

Romo examines ideas of race in key cultural and public arenas through a close analysis of medical science, the arts, education, and the social sciences. As she argues, although Bahian racial thought came to embrace elements of Afro-Brazilian culture, the presentation of Bahia as a "living museum" threatened by social change portrayed Afro-Bahian culture and modernity as necessarily at odds. Romo's finely tuned account complicates our understanding of Brazilian racial ideology and enriches our knowledge of the constructions of race across Latin America and the larger African diaspora.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
An excellent intellectual and institutional history of mid-twentieth century ideas of race and culture in Bahia and the consequences for people of African descent.--Hispanic American Historical Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807871157
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
05/14/2010
Edition description:
1
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
In her historical analysis of Bahia's contemporary claim to embody the essence of Afro-Brazil, Anadelia Romo demonstrates the critical role played by local elites, foreign anthropologists, and state officials in promoting cultural images that have stymied redress of the deep-seated and racially-based socioeconomic inequalities in the region. This book will be of considerable interest to students of anthropology, history, and cultural studies.--Seth Garfield, University of Texas at Austin

Meet the Author

Anadelia A. Romo is assistant professor of history at Texas State University-San Marcos.

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