Voicing Race and Anti-Racism: Rethinking Black Consciousness among Black Activists in Salvador, Brazil

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/265370
Title:
Voicing Race and Anti-Racism: Rethinking Black Consciousness among Black Activists in Salvador, Brazil
Author:
da Silva, Antonio Jose Bacelar
Issue Date:
2012
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
The Brazilian government has recently enacted some of Latin America's most extensive affirmative action laws and policies, including racial quotas in all public universities and a law that requires schools throughout Brazil to teach Afro-Brazilian history and culture. In this context, a large-scale black consciousness movement has emerged, with a vast array of black organizations (otherwise known as "Black NGOs") using race as a productive political strategy to secure access to resources and rights for people of African descent. Through yearlong ethnographic investigations of three of these organizations in the city of Salvador (Bahia) from 2009-2010, this dissertation examines the effects of such changes on black activists' interpretations of blackness and their understanding of black consciousness. It looks to the complex ways in which black activists are creatively juxtaposing Brazil's long-held racial ideologies on the one hand with discourses and forms of knowledge about race that have been set forth by the new race-conscious legislations and policies on the other. Drawing from and contributing to the field of linguistic anthropology, I demonstrate that language is crucial to their goals of revealing patterns of institutional racism, critiquing commonsense notions of blackness in Brazil, and promoting anti-racism. I show how black activists teach one another elaborate ways of using language to scrutinize deeply entrenched ideas about race and blackness embedded in their own and others' speech as well as new ways of thinking and talking about race in Brazil. The dissertation carries throughout a concern with the status and formation of black consciousness in light of recent cultural and political changes. Drawing on my training in linguistic and cultural anthropology, I combine the analysis of data from participant observations, in-depth interviews, and countless conversations with black activists to examine what I call "affirmative language practices"--linguistic strategies that black activists use to foreground multiple points of views about race and blackness within Brazil's dominant frameworks of racial identification and categorization. I employ the notions of voice, dialogism, participant roles, and intertextuality (explored in the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, Erving Goffman, Jane Hill, and others) to provide evidence that black activists do not require or privilege black identity in the construction of "black consciousness." I argue that for these black activists, black consciousness may be characterized by the emergence of an ideological critique in and through language that allows Afro-Brazilians to articulate competing ideological positions about race and racism in Brazil.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Brazil; Dialogism; Language; Race; Anthropology; Black Consciousness; Black Movement
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Anthropology
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Roth-Gordon, Jennifer

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleVoicing Race and Anti-Racism: Rethinking Black Consciousness among Black Activists in Salvador, Brazilen_US
dc.creatorda Silva, Antonio Jose Bacelaren_US
dc.contributor.authorda Silva, Antonio Jose Bacelaren_US
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe Brazilian government has recently enacted some of Latin America's most extensive affirmative action laws and policies, including racial quotas in all public universities and a law that requires schools throughout Brazil to teach Afro-Brazilian history and culture. In this context, a large-scale black consciousness movement has emerged, with a vast array of black organizations (otherwise known as "Black NGOs") using race as a productive political strategy to secure access to resources and rights for people of African descent. Through yearlong ethnographic investigations of three of these organizations in the city of Salvador (Bahia) from 2009-2010, this dissertation examines the effects of such changes on black activists' interpretations of blackness and their understanding of black consciousness. It looks to the complex ways in which black activists are creatively juxtaposing Brazil's long-held racial ideologies on the one hand with discourses and forms of knowledge about race that have been set forth by the new race-conscious legislations and policies on the other. Drawing from and contributing to the field of linguistic anthropology, I demonstrate that language is crucial to their goals of revealing patterns of institutional racism, critiquing commonsense notions of blackness in Brazil, and promoting anti-racism. I show how black activists teach one another elaborate ways of using language to scrutinize deeply entrenched ideas about race and blackness embedded in their own and others' speech as well as new ways of thinking and talking about race in Brazil. The dissertation carries throughout a concern with the status and formation of black consciousness in light of recent cultural and political changes. Drawing on my training in linguistic and cultural anthropology, I combine the analysis of data from participant observations, in-depth interviews, and countless conversations with black activists to examine what I call "affirmative language practices"--linguistic strategies that black activists use to foreground multiple points of views about race and blackness within Brazil's dominant frameworks of racial identification and categorization. I employ the notions of voice, dialogism, participant roles, and intertextuality (explored in the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, Erving Goffman, Jane Hill, and others) to provide evidence that black activists do not require or privilege black identity in the construction of "black consciousness." I argue that for these black activists, black consciousness may be characterized by the emergence of an ideological critique in and through language that allows Afro-Brazilians to articulate competing ideological positions about race and racism in Brazil.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectBrazilen_US
dc.subjectDialogismen_US
dc.subjectLanguageen_US
dc.subjectRaceen_US
dc.subjectAnthropologyen_US
dc.subjectBlack Consciousnessen_US
dc.subjectBlack Movementen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineAnthropologyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorRoth-Gordon, Jenniferen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMendoza-Denton, Normaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberAlonso, Ana Mariaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBarickman, Berten_US
dc.contributor.committeememberRoth-Gordon, Jenniferen_US
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