LAS f386 • SLAVERY/POST-EMANCIPAT BRAZ-BRAZIL
The course will be taught in Salvador, Bahia. This course explores the history of African slavery in Brazil from its inception in the sixteenth century to 1888, when Brazil became the last nation in the western hemisphere to abolish the institution of slavery. During more than three-centuries when slave labor was fundamental to its economy, Brazil imported over 3.5 million Africans. Brazil was the single largest market for African slaves in the western hemisphere, and today has the largest population of African descent in the Americas. The course explores various aspects of the history of slavery in Brazil: Portuguese expansionism in the Atlantic and the origins of the trans-Atlantic slave trade; African involvement in the slave trade; the ideological justifications for slavery; coerced labor on sugar and coffee plantations; slavery and the eighteenth-century gold rush; urban slavery. Issues to be examined include forms of punishment and social control; divisions among the slave and free black population; methods of slave resistance; and religious and cultural practices that were reworked, adapted, or appropriated by Afro-Brazilians in their struggle against dehumanization. In exploring the transition to freedom, we will look at the nature of manumission in Brazil; the contradictions of liberalism in the postcolonial period; the international context of the termination the slave trade; and the abolitionist movement in Brazil. The second portion of the course explores the historical experience of Afro-Brazilians in the post-emancipation period. Here we will analyze efforts by Brazilian elites to whiten the population; the myth of racial democracy in Brazil and cultural depictions of blacks; enduring economic and social marginality; efforts of Afro-Brazilians to mobilize politically and the difficulties encountered.