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Volume 54 / Humanities

HISTORY: BRAZIL


MARSHALL C. EAKIN, Associate Professor of History, Vanderbilt University
KATHLEEN HIGGINS, Assistant Professor of History, University of Iowa


THE QUANTITY OF PUBLICATIONS on Brazilian history continues to be impressive, with social history remaining the dominant methodological approach in the field. Studies of women, families, workers, slaves, and immigrants have been notable both in quantity and quality. A number of fine studies of the various regions, the First Republic, the 1950s, and the left have also appeared. Biographical and military works, as well as local histories, also continue to appear in significant numbers. There has been a notable decline in work by historians on the Empire and the post-1964 period since HLAS 52.

Several noteworthy general or historiographical works have appeared recently. Linhares has organized and edited an excellent new one-volume history of Brazil (item bi 93007682); Schneider has written a text that is largely the political history of the past century (item bi 92020373); and the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e História recently published an important series of historical statistics (item bi 92020374). Topik reviews the key literature in the field (item bi 93005505), and Bom Meihy has edited a series of interviews with several generations of Brazilianists (item bi 92020426).

In colonial history, the emphasis clearly continues to be on social history, rather than political or economic history. Metcalf makes a major contribution to the history of settlement patterns and family history (item bi 94005493). Vainfas' history of sexuality and morality in colonial Brazil is also an impressive addition to the literature of this period (item bi 93013580). Excellent analyses of the inheritance system are provided by Silva (items bi 92018613 and bi 92016135), Lewin (item bi 92009760), and Nazzari (item bi 91024900). Also to be noted is Whately's excellent translation of Léry's 16th-century encounter with coastal Indians (item bi 93078250).

The number of works appearing on slavery continues to be large, but with almost overwhelming emphasis on the 19th century. For the colonial period the most noteworthy items are statistical analyses of the slave family by Metcalf (item bi 92017571) and of the international traffic in child slaves by Gutiérrez (item bi 92014235). Quantitative studies are also prevalent for the national, or near-national, period (items bi 94005911, bi 91027136, bi 93000688, bi 93000690 and bi 93010891). Among the historians of slavery, those who have demonstrated either quantitatively or qualitatively that slaves exercised some agency within the constraints of their oppression - a good example of the latter being Chaloub (items bi 91027139, bi 92002123, and bi 93013570) - have been scathingly criticized by Gorender (item bi 93000687) and defended in a rejoinder by Schwartz (item bi 93008230).

In the field of Afro-Brazilian history, several noteworthy items have appeared: a biography of the black physician and politician, Dr. Alfred Casemiro da Rocha (1855-1933) by Oracy Nogueira (item bi 93013556); and studies of Afro-Brazilian political mobilization by Andrews (item bi 92019594) and Butler (items bi 93000643, bi 92019594, and bi 93002722). Andrews has also published an important study of race relations and racial inequality (item bi 93016738).

Some of the most interesting and innovative work has been in studies of women, family, gender, and sexuality. In addition to Metcalf (item bi 94005493) and Nazzari (item bi 91024900), Borges has produced a fine study of the family in Bahia from 1870-1945 (item bi 92014604). Rago (item bi 93007155), Samara (item bi 93007164), Esteves (item bi 93007163), Engel (item bi 93007165), Hahner (item bi 92020382), and Kuznesof (item bi 92017552) also make important contributions to this area of research.

Labor, workers, and immigrants continue to receive a great deal of attention. Gomes' study of "trabalhismo" (item bi 93007158), Dutra's monograph on workers in Minas Gerais (item bi 92020379), and French's detailed study of workers in the ABC region are important contributions to the literature (item bi 92020384). In addition to some of the scholarly works on immigrants - such as those by Klein on Spaniards and Portuguese (items bi 92014436 and bi 91009158), Campos on Syrians and Lebanese (item bi 91020427), and Vangelista on Italians (item bi 92020441) - the flood of works by amateur historians continues.

Regional studies, especially those with an economic orientation, form a notable segment of recent publications. Among the better work in this genre are Bittencourt for Espirito Santo (item bi 92020440), Mott for Sergipe (item bi 93015011), Pesavento for Rio Grande do Sul (items bi 92020452 and bi 93015001), and Hering for Santa Catarina (item bi 92020455). Mattoso's magisterial work synthesizes years of research on Bahia (item bi 92020369).

Studies of the Empire are conspicuous by their relative paucity since HLAS 52, and the same is true for the post-1964 period. However, a number of fine works on the period of the First Republic have appeared. Carvalho's innovative study of republican political iconography (item bi 92020453) and of the 1870-1914 period (item bi 93009055), and Topik's work on economic history (item bi 92011299) stand out. Levine has produced a major new analysis of the Canudos rebellion (item bi 92010494), and several studies have examined the 1950s, especially the life and times of Juscelino Kubitschek (items bi 91018766, bi 92019590, and bi 93014942).

Some other areas that have received significant attention recently are urban history, the left, and economic history. For instance, Holloway contributes a fine study of the police in Rio de Janeiro (item bi 93013503) and Martins studies S o Caetano (item bi 93007148). Reis Filho (item bi 92020444), Pinheiro (item bi 92020442), and Vianna (item bi 93007161) focus on the left, while economic history is examined by Topik (item bi 92011299) and, for Campinas, Semeghini (item bi 93007167).


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