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  • Diversidade, espaço e relações étnico-raciais: O negro na geografia do Brasil
  • Cristian Castro
Santos, Renato Emerson dos, org. Diversidade, espaço e relações étnico-raciais: O negro na geografia do Brasil. Belo-Horizonte: Autêntica Editora, 2007. 203 pp.

Brazilian social scientists have been, for over a quarter of a century, Latin America's leading reservoir for the development of alternative paradigms that aim to challenge Eurocentric social theory. Diversidade, espaço e relações étnico-raciais is illustrative of that tradition. This multidisciplinary collection of essays surveys how the fields of geography, sociology, history, and economy can help us rethink the role of space in the study of Brazilian racial relations. As volume editor, Renato Emerson dos Santos proposes a simple but powerful premise: Brazilian geographies, as part of the modern colonial world-system mindset have been constructed to dominate and subjugate its inhabitants; hiding and camouflaging social patterns of racial discrimination. Thus, this volume seeks to invert the process, using geography as a tool to reassess the hegemonic system of racial domination, with hope of constructing new spaces for participation and social justice.

The essays are divided into five parts. In part one, "A Lei 10.639 e o ensino de Geografia," Renato Emerson dos Santos examines the implementation of the educational law 10.639 promulgated in 2003. This law incorporates some elements of the historical struggle of social groups such as the Movimento Negro no Brasil, modifying the teaching of geography in the country. In his article, dos Santos proposes new ways to understand the notions of space and territory for the education of geography, incorporating race as a fundamental category, enriching our understanding of the relation between man and nature, but more important than that, advocates for the use of geography as a means to "educate for social justice" (22). In part two, "Raça, espaço e tempo na modernidade," Aníbal Quijano and Percy Hintzen seek to demonstrate how race, as a social construction, has played a key role in the construction of Brazil's modern social hierarchy (43). Through two solid theoretical essays, both authors explore the [End Page 229] flexibility of race as a category of analysis. Perhaps in the most refined essay of the volume, Hintzen uses Bourdieu, Gilroy, Wallerstein and Hall to construct an epistemology for the study of global diasporic identities.

Part three, "A segregação social em tela: Relações raciais e o espaço urbano brasileiro," present different spatial dimensions of social relations that are defined in terms of race. Raquel Rolnik and Eduardo Rios Neto explore different forms of racial segregation. Rolnik focuses her work in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo tracing the logic of racial segregation in the pre-abolitionary period through a journey that takes the reader from the plantation milieu to the modern logic of the city (80). Rios Neto undertakes the challenge to systematize the comparison of seven state capitals: Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Salvador (92). In all of these case studies, the author attempts to understand the internal logic of intra-urban segregation through a two-fold analysis: residential segregation and public services. Two dimensions of a common phenomena of these state capitals (and every major city in Latin America): the direct correlation between racial inequality and poverty.

Articles by Rafael Sanzio Araújo dos Anjos and Bernardo Mancano Fernandes – with Dagoberto José da Fonseca, Anderson Antônio da Silva and Eduardo Paulon Girardi as co-authors-constitute part four: "Geo-grafias de lutes, geografias históricas, relações raciais e o espaço agrário brasileiro." These authors focus on the historical racial tension of the Brazilian agricultural world. Conceivably the most political part of the volume, both articles trace the history of local struggles for land and memory. Redefining the role of territory in this struggle, these authors do a great job unfolding present day tensions that link the spaces of freedom of quilombismo with the land occupation movement of rural workers without land (MST).

Finally, part five, "Revisitando Africa," aims to understand the subaltern conditions of afro-brazilians looking beyond the...


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