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In Light of Africa

In Light of Africa: Globalizing Blackness in Northeast Brazil

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    In Light of Africa
    Book Description:

    In Light of Africaexplores how the idea of Africa as a real place, an imagined homeland, and a metaphor for Black identity is used in the cultural politics of the Brazilian state of Bahia.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-1993-7
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Chapter One Blackness and Africanity in Brazil and Elsewhere
    (pp. 3-35)

    In this stirring verse, Countee Cullen, one of the luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance, evokes the image of a wild, sensuous and verdant Africa, a place of fertility and life where the African American could perhaps find succour. In almost all of his work about race and colour, Cullen seeks to remind that, ultimately, all descendants of enslaved Africans are forever strangers in the New World, exiles from Africa, both geographically and spiritually. For Cullen, Africa was a place where Black men and women were kings and queens – proud and free. More importantly, Cullen provided African Americans – long...

  5. Chapter Two West African Cultural Brokers in Northeast Brazil
    (pp. 36-64)

    Just as Cape Coast was once a major point of embarkation for thousands upon thousands of Africans, captured and shackled, leaving for the plantations of the Americas, it was also the starting point for the life of another man from the West African coast who today labours under a Brazilian sun. In the introduction to the present work we met Georgia from Cape Coast. He is part of a small – approximately 120 individuals, primarily from Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, and Ghana – but growing and influential community of West Africans living in Bahia that are actively involved in aspects of...

  6. Chapter Three Manifestations of Afro-Brazilian Blackness
    (pp. 65-117)

    These words were uttered by a noted religious leader and professor in Salvador at the “Reconnecting with Africa” forum held at the famedcarnaval bloco, Ilê Aiyê, in Salvador in November 2005.¹ Ilê Aiyê is the oldestbloco carnavalescoor carnaval association in Salvador devoted exclusively to the city’s Black population and is widely regarded as the most “African” of these organizations.

    From a narrative perspective, this chapter picks up precisely where the previous one left off. Not just in terms of the continuing story of how African-oriented expressions of Black identity are manufactured and negotiated in Salvador. The opening...

  7. Chapter Four Blackness in the Bahian Sertão
    (pp. 118-144)

    Home to ranchers, gold and diamond prospectors looking to strike it rich, maroon slave communities, pilgrims, prophets, and messiahs of every variety, Brazil’s interior, thesertão, has always held a powerful and central place in the imaginary of Brazil and very much forms part of the national character. In this chapter, I seek to explore how rural communities such as Bom Jesus da Lapa understand the discourse of Blackness being promulgated by groups such as the purity-driventerreirosandblocos afros. Specifically, it deals with how assertions of an African-oriented identity play in the backlands of Bahia, a place that,...

  8. Chapter Five Conclusions
    (pp. 145-158)

    This work and the research upon which it is based have sought to show how Afro-Brazilians in the northeastern state of Bahia use the idea of Africa to redefine and reinvent meanings of Blackness. It has explored how Black communities in Bahia have attempted to engage Africa, both as an ideal and as a real place, in a active dialogue about what African cultures mean to Black society in Bahia and, more generally, in Brazil. From the early days of the plantation, through decades of slave revolt and “return” to the West African coast, to abolition and the foundation of...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 159-164)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 165-178)
  11. Index
    (pp. 179-192)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 193-195)