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A Nineteenth-Century Artist in the Tropics
In 1858 François-Auguste Biard, a well-known sixty-year-old French artist, arrived in Brazil to explore and depict its jungles and the people who lived there. What did he see and how did he see it? In this book historian Ana Lucia Araujo examines Biard’s Brazil with special attention to what she calls his “tropical romanticism”: a vision of the country with an emphasis on the exotic.
Biard was not only one of the first European artists to encounter and depict native Brazilians, but also one of the first travelers to photograph the rain forest and its inhabitants. His 1862 travelogue Deux années en Brésil includes 180 woodcuts that reveal Brazil’s reliance on slave labor as well as describe the landscape, flora, and fauna, with lively narratives of his adventures and misadventures in the rain forest. Thoroughly researched, Araujo places Biard’s work in the context of the European travel writing of the time and examines how representations of Brazil through French travelogues contributed and reinforced cultural stereotypes and ideas about race and race relations in Brazil. She further summarizes that similar representations continue and influence perspectives today.
Since 1992--the end of the Cold War--Brazil has been slowly and quietly carving a niche for itself in the international community: that of a regional leader in Latin America. How and why is the subject of Sean Burges's investigations.
Under President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil embarked on a new direction vis-à-vis foreign policy. Brazilian diplomats set out to lead South America and the global south without actively claiming leadership or incurring the associated costs. They did so to protect Brazil's national autonomy in an ever-changing political climate.
Burges utilizes recently declassified documents and in-depth interviews with Brazilian leaders to track the adoption and implementation of Brazil's South American foreign policy and to explain the origins of this trajectory. Leadership and desire to lead have, until recently, been a contentious and forcefully disavowed ambition for Brazilian diplomats. Burges dispels this illusion and provides a framework for understanding the conduct and ambitions of Brazilian foreign policy that can be applied to the wider global arena.
Legitimizing an Authoritarian Regime
In Brazilian Propaganda, Nina Schneider examines the various modes of official, and unofficial, propaganda used by an authoritarian regime.
Such propaganda is commonly believed to be political, praising military figures and openly legitimizing state repression. However, Brazil's military dictatorship (1964-1985) launched seemingly apolitical official campaigns that were aesthetically appealing and ostensibly aimed to "enlighten" and "civilize." Some were produced as civilian-military collaborations and others were conducted by privately owned media, but undergirding them all was the theme of a country aspiring to become a developed nation.
Focusing primarily on visual media, Schneider demonstrates how many short films of the period portrayed a society free from class and racial conflicts. These films espoused civic-mindedness while attempting to distract from atrocities perpetuated by the regime.
Mining a rich trove of materials from the National Archives in Rio and conducting interviews with key propagandists, Schneider demonstrates the ambiguities of twentieth-century Brazilian propaganda. She also challenges the notion of a homogeneous military regime in Brazil, highlighting its fractures and competing forces. By analyzing the strategy, production, mechanisms, and meaning of these films and reconstructing their effects, she provides an alternative interpretation of the propagandists' intentions and a new framework for understanding this era in Brazil's history.
From Dictatorship to Democracy
At most recent count, there are no fewer than forty-five women in Brazil directing or codirecting feature-length fiction or documentary films. In the early 1990s, women filmmakers in Brazil were credited for being at the forefront of the rebirth of filmmaking, or retomada, after the abolition of the state film agency and subsequent standstill of film production. Despite their numbers and success, films by Brazilian women directors are generally absent from discussions of Latin American film and published scholarly works._x000B__x000B_Filling this void, Brazilian Women's Filmmaking focuses on women's film production in Brazil from the mid-1970s to the current era. Leslie L. Marsh explains how women's filmmaking contributed to the reformulation of sexual, cultural, and political citizenship during Brazil's fight for the return and expansion of civil rights during the 1970s and 1980s and the recent questioning of the quality of democracy in the 1990s and 2000s. She interprets key films by Ana Carolina and Tizuka Yamasaki, documentaries with social themes, and independent videos supported by archival research and extensive interviews with Brazilian women filmmakers. Despite changes in production contexts, recent Brazilian women's films have furthered feminist debates regarding citizenship while raising concerns about the quality of the emergent democracy. Brazilian Women's Filmmaking offers a unique view of how women's audiovisual production has intersected with the reconfigurations of gender and female sexuality put forth by the women's movements in Brazil and continuing demands for greater social, cultural, and political inclusion._x000B_
A Memoir of Guerrilla Radio
During the 1980s war in El Salvador, Radio Venceremos was the main news outlet for the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), the guerrilla organization that challenged the government. The broadcast provided a vital link between combatants in the mountains and the outside world, as well as an alternative to mainstream media reporting. In this first-person account, “Santiago,” the legend behind Radio Venceremos, tells the story of the early years of that conflict, a rebellion of poor peasants against the Salvadoran government and its benefactor, the United States. Originally published as La Terquedad del Izote, this memoir also addresses the broader story of a nationwide rebellion and its international context, particularly the intensifying Cold War and heavy U.S. involvement in it under President Reagan. By the war’s end in 1992, more than 75,000 were dead and 350,000 wounded—in a country the size of Massachusetts. Although outnumbered and outfinanced, the rebels fought the Salvadoran Army to a draw and brought enough bargaining power to the negotiating table to achieve some of their key objectives, including democratic reforms and an overhaul of the security forces. Broadcasting the Civil War in El Salvador is a riveting account from the rebels’ point of view that lends immediacy to the Salvadoran conflict. It should appeal to all who are interested in historic memory and human rights, U.S. policy toward Central America, and the role the media can play in wartime.
Tropicália and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture
In the late 1960s, Brazilian artists forged a watershed cultural movement known as Tropicalia. Music inspired by that movement is today enjoying considerable attention at home and abroad. Few new listeners, however, make the connection between this music and the circumstances surrounding its creation, the most violent and repressive days of the military regime that governed Brazil from 1964 to 1985. With key manifestations in theater, cinema, visual arts, literature, and especially popular music, Tropicalia dynamically articulated the conflicts and aspirations of a generation of young, urban Brazilians.
Focusing on a group of musicians from Bahia, an impoverished state in northeastern Brazil noted for its vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture, Christopher Dunn reveals how artists including Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, and Tom Ze created this movement together with the musical and poetic vanguards of Sao Paulo, Brazil's most modern and industrialized city. He shows how the tropicalists selectively appropriated and parodied cultural practices from Brazil and abroad in order to expose the fissure between their nation's idealized image as a peaceful tropical "garden" and the daily brutality visited upon its citizens.
The promotion of classicism in the visual arts in late eighteenth and nineteenth-century Latin America and the need to “revive” buen gusto (good taste) are the themes of this collection of essays. The contributors provide new insights into neoclassicism and buen gusto as cultural, not just visual, phenomena in the late colonial and early national periods and promote new approaches to the study of Latin American art history and visual culture.
The essays examine neoclassical visual culture from assorted perspectives. They consider how classicism was imposed, promoted, adapted, negotiated, and contested in myriad social, political, economic, cultural, and temporal situations. Case studies show such motivations as the desire to impose imperial authority, to fashion the nationalist self, and to form and maintain new social and cultural ideologies. The adaptation of classicism and buen gusto in the Americas was further shaped by local factors, including the realities of place and the influence of established visual and material traditions.
Re-Rooted Cultures, Identities, and Nations
How did culture and identity take root as the new nations and state institutions were being fashioned across Latin America after the wars of independence? These original essays tease out the power of print and visual cultures, examine the impact of carnival, delve into religion and war, and study the complex histories of gender identities and disease.
Prosecuting Sodomites in Early Modern Spain and Mexico
Drawing on previously unpublished records of some three hundred sodomy trials conducted in Spain and Mexico between 1561 and 1699, Garza Carvajal examines the sodomy discourses that emerged in Andalucía, seat of Spain's colonial apparatus, and in the viceroyalty of New Spain (Mexico), its first and largest American colony.
A Year in the Highlands of Ecuador
Once isolated from the modern world in the heights of the Andean mountains, the indigenous communities of Ecuador now send migrants to New York City as readily as they celebrate festivals whose roots reach back to the pre-Columbian past. Fascinated by this blending of old and new and eager to make a record of traditional customs and rituals before they disappear entirely, photographer-journalist Judy Blankenship spent several years in Cañar, Ecuador, photographing the local people in their daily lives and conducting photography workshops to enable them to preserve their own visions of their culture. In this engaging book, Blankenship combines her sensitively observed photographs with an inviting text to tell the story of the most recent year she and her husband Michael spent living and working among the people of Cañar. Very much a personal account of a community undergoing change, Cañar documents such activities as plantings and harvests, religious processions, a traditional wedding, healing ceremonies, a death and funeral, and a home birth with a native midwife. Along the way, Blankenship describes how she and Michael went from being outsiders only warily accepted in the community to becoming neighbors and even godparents to some of the local children. She also explains how outside forces, from Ecuador’s failing economy to globalization, are disrupting the traditional lifeways of the Cañari as economic migration virtually empties highland communities of young people. Blankenship’s words and photographs create a moving, intimate portrait of a people trying to balance the demands of the twenty-first century with the traditions that have formed their identity for centuries.