Writing Identity

Writing Identity: The Politics of Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Literature

Emanuelle K. F. Oliveira
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Purdue University Press
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  • Book Info
    Writing Identity
    Book Description:

    Writing Identity examines the intricate connections between artistic production and political action. It centers on the politics of the black movement and the literary production of a Sao Paulo-based group of Afro-Brazilian writers, the Quilombhoje. Using Pierre Bourdieu's theory of the field of cultural production, the manuscript explores the relationship between black writers and the Brazilian dominant canon, studying the reception and criticism of contemporary Afro-Brazilian literature.

    eISBN: 978-1-61249-119-6
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Emanuelle K. F. Oliveira
  4. Introduction Afro-Brazilian Literature and Political Action
    (pp. 1-12)

    The military coup of 1964, when the Brazilian military overthrew the democratic government of João Goulart, marked the beginning of a period that many political activists and intellectuals believe to have been the darkest in Brazilian history.

    In 1968, the military government decreed the Fifth Institutional Act, a constitutional amendment that eliminated civil liberties and temporarily dissolved congress. Violence intensified, and a wave of arbitrary arrests followed. Thousands were imprisoned, tortured, and killed. Others were exiled, returning to the country only after the 1979 political amnesty.

    By the late 1970s, the rebirth of popular grassroots move ments in urban areas...

  5. Chapter One Afro-Brazilians: Politics, Culture, and Identity
    (pp. 13-38)

    Understanding contemporary Brazilian race relations requires both revisiting the past and scrutinizing the present. An impor tant part of that endeavor involves examining Afro–Brazilians’ construction of a robust sense of black identity, starting with the re–emergence of the black movement in the mid–1970s when Brazil was still under military rule. Also vital to the task is understanding that the authoritarian nature of Brazil’s ruling elite played an important role in shaping perceptions of race by systematically excluding the lower strata of the population from institutional politics. The systematic production of a dominant discourse, reflected in such notions...

  6. Chapter Two Cadernos Negros: Politics and Literature
    (pp. 39-70)

    Discussion of racial issues in the mid-1970s stimulated the development in Brazil of a marginal black press that sought to reach out to the black community at large and to promote consciousness–raising within the lower strata of the population.

    Experimental journals such asÁrvore das Palavras[Tree of Words] (1974–76) andJornegro[Journal in Black] (1978–82) followed in a tradition of resistance in the black press that dated from the 1920s and continued into the 1960s.¹ They were among more than eight hundred alternative publications that came to life in the mid-1960s and 1970s, despite growing political...

  7. Chapter Three Cadernos Negros and Quilombhoje: Afro-Brazilian Literature Revisited
    (pp. 71-110)

    Cadernos Negrosemerged from the social and political turmoil of the re-democratization process in Brazil, which saw the rebirth of many repressed political discourses. As one of the civil society movements that resurfaced, the black movement promoted a racial agenda that challenged dominant perceptions of race. Political and racial resistance also affected a resurgent Afro-Brazilian literature, whose writers were at the core of the resistance movement against racism, the myth of racial democracy, and the reality of black social and economic oppression. The black movement was decisive for the appearance of the journal: its creators were active in black politics...

  8. Chapter Four Quilombhoje Authors and the Brazilian Canon
    (pp. 111-164)

    The creation of Quilombhoje represented an important moment forCadernos Negrosauthors. The writers continued to examine social, racial, and political questions, while studying the Brazilian canon and the Afro-Brazilian literary tradition. In their meetings, they promoted a continuing evaluation of their literary production and discussed issues of literary research, seeking to enlarge their cultural capital and obtain subsidies for the production of their texts.

    This chapter reviews Quilombhoje literary production from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s and considers the group’s critical appropriation of the Brazilian canonical tradition. Quilombhoje poetic production incorporated some of the accomplishments of Brazilian literary...

  9. Chapter Five Quilombhoje Women’s Writings: The Politics of Race and Gender
    (pp. 165-206)

    Race has been at the core of Quilombhoje’s literary project. In their initial concern with black identity and their subsequent dialogue with the Brazilian canonical tradition, Afro-Brazilian writers have sought to forge a literary tradition that includes a social and racial critique. Categories of race and class fre quently have intersected in their political discourse and literary practice. Given the complexity of multi-faceted social groups and their literary production, however, the analysis cannot end there. Another important element must be considered: gender.

    This chapter examines the role of women in the black move ment, showing how they link feminist and...

  10. Conclusion: Afro-Brazilian Literature in a Democratic Society
    (pp. 207-214)

    With their political participation and their literary struggle for consecration, the members ofCadernos Negrosand Quilombhoje have always sought to fuse their racial and social discourse with their literary practices. Created in 1978,Cadernos Negroshas published twenty-nine issues, individual creative works, and a special anniversary edition in 1998, representing an important development in the history of Afro-Brazilian literature. Quilombhoje, founded in 1980, promoted critical readings of Afro-Brazilian literature in public schools and maintained close relations with the black movement.

    Nevertheless, since the late 1990s, the group has confronted a crucial question: should Quilombhoje evolve into a small publishing...

  11. Appendix 1: Afro-Brazilian Writers: A Small Biography
    (pp. 217-219)
  12. Appendix 2: Cadernos Negros
    (pp. 220-221)
  13. Appendix 3: “Livros do Autor”
    (pp. 222-222)
  14. Appendix 4: Essays
    (pp. 223-224)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 225-234)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 235-252)
  17. Index
    (pp. 253-259)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 260-261)