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Palgrave Macmillan

Reimagining Black Difference and Politics in Brazil

From Racial Democracy to Multiculturalism

ISBN 9781137386335
Publication Date April 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Reimagining Black Difference and Politics in Brazil examines Black Brazilian political struggle and the predicaments it faces in a time characterized by the increasing institutionalization of ethno-racial policies and black participation in policy orchestration. Greater public debate and policy attention to racial inequality suggests the attenuation of racial democracy and positive miscegenation as hegemonic ideologies of the Brazilian nation-state. However, the colorblind and post-racial logics of mixture and racial democracy, especially the denial and/or minimization of racism as a problem, maintain a strong grip on public thinking, social action, and institutional practices. Through a focus on the epistemic dimensions of black struggles and the anti-racist pluri-cultural efforts that have been put into action by activists, scholars, and organizations over the past decade, Alexandre Emboaba Da Costa analyzes the ways in which these politics negotiate as well as seek to go beyond the delimited understandings of racial difference, belonging, and citizenship that shape the contemporary politics of inclusion.

Alexandre Emboaba Da Costa is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Humanities, Social Science, and Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto, Canada. He has taught courses in Global Development Studies and the Cultural Studies Program at Queen's University, Canada, and has published on race, education, policy, ideology, and development in Brazil.

Introduction: Black Cultural Politics and Decoloniality without Guarantees
1. Post-Racial Ideology, Emergent Multiculturalisms, and the Contemporary Conjuncture of Racial Politics in Brazil
2. The Difference Orùnmilá Makes: Ancestralidade and the Past as Project 3. Afoxé Omo Orùnmilá: History, Culture, and Politics in Movement
4. Hip Hop and the Contemporary Politics of Ancestralidade
5. The Struggle to Decolonize Knowledge and Pedagogy
6. Contested Inclusions: Education Reforms and the Hyperconsciousness/negation of Race
7. Educator Experiences with Anti-Racist Pluriculturalismo
Conclusion: the Challenges of the Decolonial in Practice


"Alexandre Emboaba da Costa writes with an academic rigor and rich ethnographic engagement that locate Brazilian policies of racial inclusion within an ongoing black activist critique of white cultural hegemony and struggle for epistemic decolonization. Reimaging Black Difference and Politics in Brazil foregrounds the cultural and political work of Centro Cultural Orùnmilá in São Paulo, which forces us to think about how Afro-Brazilians envisage and shape public policy aimed at social change and material equality. Da Costa's astute methodological approach speaks to the urgent need to look toward decolonial practices in localized movements that inform State practice, rather than to reactive approaches to understanding social activism." - Keisha-Khan Y. Perry, Brown University, USA
"Emicida, of course, had it right when he reflected on the June 2013 massive street protests: 'So a bunch of middle-class white people have finally woken up and taken to the streets.' He added that, as a black person, 'I'm part of the Brazil that never fell asleep.' Guiding us through the intriguing, often murderous maze of a national formation where no one is a racist yet several organized movements and researchers claim there is a genocide of Black people in course, Alexandre Emboaba da Costa's lucid book is a must read for those of us interested in the viability of the Black presence in supposedly inclusive nations of the Americas. Costa's monograph shows us how Black people in Brazil have never fallen asleep because they have always been extremely vulnerable. This foundational, transgenerational and shared vulnerability has made transformative political thought an imperative, one on whose actualization our ethical and collective survival depends." - João H. Costa Vargas, the Univeristy of Texas at Austin, USA
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