[ HLAS Online Home Page | Search HLAS Online | Help | FAQ | Comments ]
THE SCHOLARLY OUTPUT OF BRAZILIAN HISTORIANS has mushroomed since the last volume of the Handbook. The celebration of the centennials of abolition (1988) and of the proclamation of the Republic (1989) have been accompanied by the publication of a significant number of works on slavery, the Empire, and the Republic. Works on the 19th and 20th centuries greatly outnumber those on the colonial period. Labor history, family and women's history, social histories of urban and rural communities, and regional histories continue to gain in popularity. Meanwhile, biographies of military, political, and religious figures appear with regularity. Bethell's two edited volumes of selected articles from the Cambridge history of Latin America are an indispensable set of essays and bibliographies for the colonial and national periods (items bi 91024254 and bi 90006563).
In the colonial period, historians are focusing more on social history and less on political and economic history. Laura de Mello e Souza's account (item bi 91023678) of popular religion in colonial Brazil is a work of major importance which shows the continuing influence of European, particularly French, historiography on Brazilian historians. Marcílio's book on Ubatuba, Sao Paulo (item bi 90002942), based solidly in historical demography, likewise breaks new ground in Brazilian family and regional history. Requirements for purity of blood and the aspirations of a powerful family collide in Cabral de Melo's fine study of Filipe Pais Barreto (item bi 91002566). Excellent studies of slavery continue to appear, focusing on family life, the slave trade, urban slavery, and runaway slave communities. The lives of women in the colonial period are explored in a number of works. Monteiro's contributions on Indian slavery in 17th-century Sao Paulo (items bi 89008139 and bi 89011888) fill major lacunae in colonial historiography, while John Hemming's Amazon frontier (item bi 91023441) is required reading for the history of Indians in Brazil from the mid-18th century to 1910. The more traditional political and biographical approaches to the colonial period are evident in Lazzari Leite's account of the Pernambuco uprising in 1817 (item bi 90002919) and Piazza's study of José da Silva Paes (item bi 91002561).
A virtual flood of works have appeared on slavery and Afro-Brazilians, many
published with the help of government subsidies. Although too often these are
Masters theses that would have made better articles than books, a number are
important studies. For the colonial period, the Africanist Joseph Miller's book
(item bi 91023653) is an important work for Brazilian historians because of
his superb knowledge of the African side of the slave trade. Algranti's reconstruction
of the policing of slaves in Rio de Janeiro (item bi 90002945), Lara's examination
of slave violence in that city (item bi 91002564), and the Estudos Econômicos
issue on the demography of slavery (item bi 91024268), represent the best work
on the colonial period. For the national period, Reis' work on the Malê
slave revolt in Salvador and his edited volume of essays (items bi 89001801
and bi 91023152), Gebara on the transition from slave to free labor (item bi
91023440), and Schwarcz and Azevedo on white attitudes toward blacks (items
bi 90006582 and bi 89014025) are noteworthy. Mattoso, Klein, and Engerman (item
bi 89008144) examine slave prices in the 19th century. Carvalho (item bi 89001799)
looks at slaves and crime using court records in mid-19th-century Pernambuco,
while Machado (item bi 90014255) provides a similar type of analysis for Campinas
and Taubaté. Trochim (item bi 89001501) looks at one organization of
blacks attempting to promote social and economic reform in the late 19th century.
Kiple (item bi 89014768) is an excellent piece of medical history linking beriberi
and slave infant mortality.
The lives of women are the subject of several new works which promise to completely revise traditional images of Brazilian women, though here, as with studies of slavery, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are over-represented. Graham's excellent study places domestic servants in the world of the late 19th-century city (item bi 90006605). Contributions by Dias (item bi 90006600) and Soihet (item bi 90006578) likewise are fine studies that look at poor women in 19th-century Sao Paulo and turn-of-the-century Rio de Janeiro. Leite (item bi 90014232) contains accounts showing foreign travelers' perceptions of Brazilian women. Gama (item bi 90014251) is a brief but interesting biography of an early feminist, while Besse (item bi 89013864) studies wife-beating in early 20th-century Sao Paulo. French and Pedersen (item bi 90002713) discuss the female labor force in the late 1940s. Metcalf (item bi 91021031) and Nazzari (items bi 89014872 and bi 91004303) look at women, the family, and property in colonial Sao Paulo. Samara (item bi 89008493) and Silva (item bi 90004046) discuss marriage and divorce in the colonial period respectively. Patai's illuminating account of contemporary Brazilian women's lives is highly recommended (item bi 91023446).
In the national period, a number of significant works have appeared on the Empire. Barman's political history (item bi 89014039) moves from late colony to mid-19th century. Carvalho, Graham, and Pang published major books on the nature of the imperial political system (items bi 91024530, bi 91023438, and bi 91023153). Works by Souza (item bi 89014029), Marson (item bi 89014036), and Magalhaes (item bi 89008499), analyze the regional revolts of the early Empire.
The Old Republic continues to receive a great deal of attention, especially from social historians interested in immigrants and workers, and from political historians. Alvim (item bi 89014047), Lesser (item bi 90003369), Luebke (item bi 90006569), Trento (item bi 90006559), and Kula (item bi 900014220) focus on Italian, German, Polish, Russian, and Jewish immigants. Casalecchi (item bi 89014035), Levi-Moreira (item bi 89000022), Prado (item bi 89008546), Lima (item bi 90014247), and Lessa (item bi 90014226) examine politics and political parties during the Old Republic. A spate of books have appeared on the Contestado revolt, although none is especially good.
Carone (item bi 90006602), Góes (item bi 89014008), Decca (item bi 89014007), Andrade (item bi 90014262), Blass (item bi 90014259), and Ribeiro (item bi 90014260) have written key works on labor during the Old Republic. Gomes (item bi 90003546) contains an essential bibliography on studies of the working class in Rio de Janeiro. Weinstein's article (item bi 90010675) is an excellent analysis of industrialists, the State, and labor policies in the 1930s and 1940s, while French (item bi 90008110) studies industrial workers in the 1940s.
The historiography of the post-1930 period leans heavily toward politics. Fonseca analyzes the economic discourse of Vargas (item bi 90006575). Works by Furtado (item bi 90006591) and Falcao (item bi 90006576) are autobiographical memoirs. Barbosa's study of Kubitschek (item bi 90006601), a collection of articles on Castelo Branco (item bi 90014267), Cláudio Lacerda's book on Carlos Lacerda (item bi 89014045), and Luthero Vargas' work on Getúlio Vargas (item bi 90006574) are among the recent works on prominent political figures. French analyzes Adhemar de Barros and the rise of postwar populism (item bi 88003256). Carneiro provides an important study of anti-semitism during the 1930s and 1940s (item bi 90006579). Santos (item bi 89014016) examines the military coup of 1964, while Heller (item bi 90006566) gives a detailed account of repression in Paraná during the military regime. Drosdoff (item bi 91027683) analyzes the Médici government, while Carone (item bi 89014032) and Frederico (item bi 89014014) look at labor during the military republic. Kinzo contributes a detailed examination of the official opposition party (MDB), and Reis Filho (item bi 89014044) provides an interesting collection of interviews and photographs focusing on those who opposed military rule.
Giovanetti (item bi 89014013), Sodré (item bi 89014046), Falcao (item bi 90006598), Carone (item bi 89014032), and Oliveira (item bi 90009031) look at the role of communists and the left, especially the Partido Comunista Brasileiro. Gorender's work is both a personal and historical look at the struggles of the left (item bi 91024547), and Gomes contains some fascinating interviews with leftist militants (item bi 91023439).
Several important studies on the free peasants, subsistence farming, and smallholders in the colonial and national periods have appeared. As noted above, Marcílio's work on colonial Sao Paulo is especially valuable (item bi 90002942). Palacios (item bi 89009734), Castro (item bi 91023084), Dias (item bi 90006600), Oliveira (item bi 89014871), and Souza-Martins (item bi 90010219) are important contributions in this poorly studied field. Holloway (item bi 89014767) provides a very fine study of the social history of capoeira gangs in 19th-century Rio de Janeiro. Libby (item bi 90006581) and Lanna (item bi 89014012) have written pioneering studies on the economy of Minas Gerais in the 19th century and during the Old Republic.
In the field of economic history, Fritsch's work is an indispensable survey of the economic history of the Old Republic (item bi 88001694). McDowall (item bi 91023156) and Eakin (item bi 92019133) provide the first full-length studies of foreign corporations operating in Brazil. Langer's article on the computer industry (item bi 89006101) and Dean's on agricultural research (item bi 89004162) are both fine articles in the little studied area of the history of science and technology. Turazzi's work is an unusual examination of the efforts to impose scientific management techniques in Rio de Janeiro industries at the turn of the century (item bi 90014253).
Cobbs' article on Rockefeller (item bi 90009773) and Albert's comparative study of Latin American nations' during the First World War (item bi 89007289) are among the few good works on foreign relations. Sevcenko's comparison of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (item bi 90002174), and Carvalho's article on turn-of-the-century Rio de Janeiro (item bi 90002172) are two solid essays on urban history.
The range, depth, and sheer number of recent publications on Brazilian history speaks to the increasing sophistication of historical work in Brazil. The coverage of some fields and regions still remains uneven, and many works, particularly those by young scholars, are published prematurely. Brazilian historians show themselves to be influenced by intellectual currents from around the world as well as driven by the problems faced at home. A strong contribution to Brazilian historiography continues to be made by North American scholars. The Morse interview (item bi 90006567) explores the development of Brazilian historical studies, especially in the US. But as the entries that follow make clear, Brazilians clearly dominate the scholarly production, as well as the scholarly agenda, of Brazilian history.