JALAS&L Spring 94-95 Article #1 Highlights
[Thanks to Kathleen King <Kathleen.P.King@CYBER.WIDENER.EDU> for keeping H-Ethnic informed of the upcoming themes of the JALAS&L.]
FROM: The Journal of Afro-Latin American Studies and Literatures,
Subject: Spring 94-95 Article #1 Highlight
Greetings everyone and thank you for your continued support expressed through many letters, phone calls, e-mail messages, etc. Before highlighing the first article of this issue I would like to welcome the following to our family of readers: The Institute of International Education, The Smithsonian Institution's Program in African American Culture, Fundacao Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica, CEAP-Brazilian Center for the Articulation of Marginalized Peoples, GELEDES-Brazilian Institute of Black Women, Group OLODUM of Bahia, Centro de Estudos Afro-Asiaticos of Rio de Janeirok, Center for Black Music Research of Columbia College Chicago, University of California-Davis, Princeton University, Cornel University, The University of Michigan, Morgan State University, Washington University in St. Louis, Northwestern University, Kent State University, Hampton University and the following subscription agencies: Faxxon, Readmore, The Book House, Ebsco, Blackwell North America, Social Issues Resources Series, ABC-CLIO, NAES Publications-Institute for Ethnic Studies, Oxbridge Communications, R.R. Bowker-Ulrich's International Periodicals.
Brazil and Race: Lessons from Bahia
Laurence Glasco, University of Pittsburgh
BEGINNING OF QUOTE:
This report on race relations in contemporary Brazil is based on an unusual type of field research, that of university students on a class assignment. In February 1993 approximately 450 faculty and university students-most from the United States-spent four days in Salvador, Bahia, as part of a program called Semester-at-Sea. They arrived on board of the SS.Universe, a ship that sails around the world twice a year, offering university credit for classes that involve both formal instruction and field research. Students in my courses were encouraged to go out and gain some first hand knowledge about race relations in Salvador da Bahia.
The students were relatively well prepared for their assignment. Two Brazilian interport lecturers introduced them to Brazilian life and culture; class readings exposed them to scholarly literature on Brazilian race relations; class discussions examined techniques for making field observations-what things to look for, and what types of questions to ask. The students were white and spoke no Portuguese, but this turned out to be less of a handicap than we feared. Brazilians of all colors and from all walks of life proved willing, often eager, to communicate with them--in English and, when necessary, in sign language--about race relations.
The students' greatest assets were their enthusiasm and sense of adventure. They met a wide range of Brazilians--taxi drivers, tour guides, prostitutes, popsicle vendors, university students, professional, and businessmen. They ate in a wide range of places, from "greasy spoons" to exclusive restaurants; they visited neighborhoods both poor and wealthy, they attended soccer matches, went to beaches, and worshipped in a variety of churches. As a whole they experienced more in four days than I could in four weeks.
Brazil and Race: The Debate
The observations and reports of the Semester-at-Sea students during this voyage contribute to the long-standing debate about Brazilian race relations which once was considered exemplary. In the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's, the Brazilian scholar Gilberto Freyre fostered the image of Brazil as a land of racial tolerance. Such an image has been reinforced by the American historian, Frank Tannenbaum, who agreed that Brazil's race relations stood in stark contrast to the racial violence and formal segregation that bedeviled the United States. Indeed, in the 1950s, Brazil's image as a "racial democracy" inspired a series of UNESCO studies whose aim was to make it a model for others to follow.
Today, many Brazilians still regard their country as largely devoid of
racial discrimination-a position taken by at least one of our interport
lecturers-but others consider the Brazil's reputation as tarnished. The
UNESCO studies, which were designed to highlight the nation's harmonious
race relations, ironically produced a generation of scholars--notably
Florestan Fernandes and the Sao Paulo school of sociology--who argued
that Brazil's image as a racial democracy was undeserved. Today, when
scholars speak of Brazil's "racial democracy," they often enclose it in
ironic quotation marks.
END OF QUOTE
Other topics covered in Prof. Glasco's article are: Salvador da Bahia and its History; The Students Findings, Race Relations and Bahian Society; Color Preference, Dating, and Marriage; Student's Assessments; and Significance of Student's Reports.
Highlights of the second article of this volume: "Emancipacao racial no Brasil: uma incessante continuidade historica" (Race Emancipation in Brazil: An Historic Continuum) will be posted in two weeks. In this article Hering underscores the significance and impact of the many and continuous struggles Brazilians of African ancestry have had be engaged in to promote liberation from the repression imposed upon them over the centuries by Brazilian prevailing orders. She examines these liberation movements, from colonial times to the present, highlighting the distressful manner in which these movements have been undermined by the dominant sectors of that society.
The Journal of Afro-Latin American Studies and Literatures-JALAS&L is published annually in the latter part of the Autumn quarter. Individual or institutional annual subscriptions include one book per year. For subscription information please write to Prof. Kathleen P. King, Technical Editor: <email@example.com>. Inquiries and submissions should be sent to the Editor, Prof. Rosangela Maria Vieira, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Howard University, 2400 6th Street, N.W.--Locke Hall, Washington, DC, 20059. Please continue to write, your support is very important to all of us.
<Respectfully submitted by Kathleen Palombo King, Technical Editor of JALAS&L, firstname.lastname@example.org>
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