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Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Fall 2009

POR 381 • Afro-Brazilian Diaspora

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
46960 W
3:00 PM-6:00 PM

Course Description

This course is a seminar on Afro-Brazilians in the post-abolition (1888 and after) era with the object of uncovering the strategies deployed by cultural producers and social movements' practitioners in order to overcome the odds against their achievement of political power and self-determination. Ranging in its analysis of literary texts, socio-cultural movements, visual arts, and cultural performances, it raises a number of questions: (i) What explains the continued exclusion of Afro-Brazilians from political power? (ii) What is the legacy/impact of slavery within this context? (iii) How is Africa imagined, distorted, and manipulated in this regard? (iv)What are the discourses used to justify social inequalities and racial discrimination in Brazil? (v) How does the "radical" view of discrimination silenced while the “co-opted” perspective is promoted? (vi) What are the effects of government patronage on cultural producers as they negotiate what Carl Degler calls the “mulatto escape hatch,” and (vii) What are the limitations of ideology in an era of “globalization” and pragmatism? These among other issues will form the basis of the seminar’s analysis of a social condition that goes beyond the more apparent “culture game” that must also be seen as a political game towards visibility, participation, and self-empowerment.

Grading Policy

The final grade will be based on 5 Position Papers (25%), active class participation (15%), a Midterm Bio-Bibliographic Study (20%), a Research Proposal (10%) and a Final Research Paper (30%).


1. Hanchard, Michael. Orpheus and Power 2. Alves, Miriam & C.R. Durham. Finally Us/Enfim Nós 3. Amado, Jorge. Tent of Miracles 4. Crook, Larry and Randal Johnson. Black Brazil 5. Twine, Winddance. Racism in a Racial Democracy 6. Oliveira, Emanuelle. Writing Identity: The Politics of Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Literature 7. Stam, Robert. Tropical Multiculturalism: A Comparative History of Race in Brazilian Cinema and Culture XEROX: Abdias Nascimento's 'Sortilege’ (play).


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