Afro-American and African Diaspora Studies | Topics in Afro-American Studies: Afro-Brazilian Identity
A400 | 29214 | Stephen Selka

(3 cr.)

This course examines how Brazilians of African descent construct
their identities through cultural and political practice.  We will
cover topics ranging from the history of African-derived religions in
Brazil to contemporary debates about affirmative action in the
Brazilian context.  In addition, throughout the course we will
explore the similarities and differences between racial identity and
race relations in Brazil and the United States.  Our readings will
center around a number of ethnographic accounts that address key
topics in Afro-Brazilian studies, including social mobilization,
cultural affirmation, religious practice, and everyday life in urban
contexts.  Questions that we will explore include: how is the concept
of “race” is understood and debated in the Brazilian context?  What
are the competing views of what it means to be Afro-Brazilian?  How
do the life chances of people of African descent differ from other
groups in Brazil?  What is the relationship between Afro-Brazilian
cultural practice and political action?  How have Afro-Brazilians
engaged with ideas, practices, and forms of expression originating
outside of Brazil?  Students will become familiar with ethnographic
research methods and with critical approaches to the analysis of race
and identity in anthropology and related disciplines.