Professor Sonia Roncador: Domestic Servants in Literature and Testimony in Brazil, 1889-1999
Posted: March 24, 2014
This book demonstrates the symbolic centrality of servants in Brazilian intellectual discourse (fiction, memoirs, conduct literature, and journalism) over the course of one century—from the aftermath of the abolition of slavery (1888) to late twentieth-century maids' testimonies. It explores demeaning images of servants to examine the ways intellectuals reconciled the colonial legacy of servitude with Brazil's modernization. While the first chapters examine the discourse of 'the servant problem,' revealing the elite's power anxieties vis-à-vis post-abolition transformations of domestic social contracts, later chapters explore new nuances of cross-racial conflicts facing contemporary servants' grassroots movements and the increase in female white-collar employment.