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Volume 56 / Humanities

HISTORY: BRAZIL


DAIN BORGES, Associate Professor of History, University of California, San Diego
JOAN E. MEZNAR, Associate Professor of History, Westmont College


BRAZILIAN GRADUATE PROGRAMS IN HISTORY have boomed since their expansion in the late 1970s. As of 1989, they were granting about a hundred master's and twenty doctoral degrees per year. During the 1980s, though many master's theses were published in book form, book publishing did not increase apace with thesis research (for discussion of these trends, see Fico and Polito, item bi 96009108). In the last three or four years, Brazilian historians have complained of a frustrating backlog of unpublished dissertation research and a decrease in book publication in Brazil, a trend that is not limited to the discipline of history (see the "Editor's Note" to HLAS 54, p. xxi, regarding this reduction in Brazil's monographic publishing).

Almost certainly, therefore, the explosion of historical research will be more apparent in the form of published journal articles, rather than monographs. Unfortunately, Brazilian scholarly journals have been historically short-lived and poorly indexed. Furthermore, few libraries in the US have collected them consistently. A selective guide such as the Handbook, which reviews not only journal articles, but also monographs, conference papers, and book chapters, is necessarily limited by space and editorial considerations and therefore can identify only a portion of contemporary research. Until indexing of Brazilian periodicals improves, it will be increasingly difficult to canvass all new contributions on a given topic. To help ensure a more complete review of recent literature, scholars planning advanced research (particularly on S˜ao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, or Minas Gerais) should consult indexes to theses, such as those published periodically by the Univ. de S˜ao Paulo. These indexes are increasingly available on-line through Brazilian library catalogs (UT-LANIC maintains a list of web links to various Latin American libraries at http://info.lanic.utexas.edu/la/region/library/).

New bibliographical tools include Camargo on the first 19th-century press (item bi 94014323), a catalog of the Casa de Cultura Josué Montello library on Maranhão (item bi 94014368), Massi and Pontes on Brazilianists (item bi 95021591), guides to the archives of Prudente de Moraes and Rodrigues Alves at the Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro (item bi 94014329), and Lewin on the archives of Epitácio Pessoa (item bi 96010791).

For the early colonial period, Macula has written an excellent social history of the world of European sailors and the voyages of discovery (item bi 94015752). Ribeiro's useful edited volume of primary materials documenting the expansion of the Portuguese in Brazil is available in Spanish as well as Portuguese (items bi 95007833 and bi 94015742). The works of Weckmann, Gucci, Rosi, and Araújo address the emergence of Brazilian culture in the 16th century (items bi 94015764, bi 94015770, bi 94015733, and bi 94015740).

Interest in the role of indigenous peoples continues to grow. Justo Guedes and Monteiro discuss the importance of indigenous labor in southern Brazil (items bi 95005541 and bi 95008450), while Barickman examines the indigenous presence in coastal Bahia (item bi 95005726), and Cambraia and Mendes focus on Minas Gerais (item bi 94008606). Maybury-Lewis (item bi 94002839) analyzes policy toward indigenous peoples in broad regional and historical contexts. Hoornaert's edited volume deals with relations between Christian missionaries and indigenous peoples in the Amazon region (item bi 94015760).

Work on African slavery also continues apace. Volpato's excellent work on Mato Grosso (item bi 94015756), Salles' on Goiás (item bi 94015749), and Cabral's on Maranh˜ao (item bi 94015768) provide evidence as to the continued importance of regional studies. Barickman's article on slave provision grounds in the 19th-century Bahia is an important contribution, situating Brazilian rural slavery in a comparative context (item bi 95058920).

In the field of Afro-Brazilian history, Silva's biography of Dom Obé II d'Africa and Verger's compilation of life stories offer fascinating insights into slavery and urban life in the 19th century (items bi 94015744 and bi 95007854). Hanchard and Nascimento provide important views of race and politics in the 20th century (items bi 94015746 and bi 94015754).

Much interesting research continues to be done on women and families. Comparisons between slaves and free families (items bi 94008798, bi 94008784, bi 94008832, and bi 94007431), the role of godparenthood (items bi 94008829 and bi 94008784), analyses of prostitution (items bi 94008613 and bi 94015767), and explorations into the meanings of marriage in patriarchal society (items bi 94015739, bi 95007301, bi 94006482, bi 94005582, and bi 94015730) provide some of the important themes in the ongoing debates. Most of the work concentrates on the southeast region of the country during the colonial period and the 19th century. One hopes that new research will bring the discussion into the 20th century and broaden the geographical perspective.

For the national period, the largest category of titles published is that of local municipal histories. The fission of municipalities in southern states (101 new municipalities were created in Rio Grande do Sul between 1980-90), as well as the centenaries of the foundation of many immigrant colônias, provides occasion for a bumper crop of local histories. Most of these are sponsored by small-town mayors, written by amateur antiquarians, and equipped with a minimal scholarly apparatus. While they have not been annotated here, such local histories have potential as sources in future research.

Historiography of the 19th century shows no strong focus outside of the studies of slavery discussed above. Treatments of politics and elite ideology include Cavaliero's popular narrative of independence in English (item bi 94014381), Besouchet on Pedro II (item bi 94014340), and Ridings on commercial associations (item bi 94014595). Dissertation research in progress in Brazil and the US should soon yield much-needed studies of county-level politics under the Empire; in this vein, Souza provides an idiosyncratic, creative comparison of identity in Serro and Diamantina (item bi 94014382). A thematic issue of the Luso-Brazilian Review illuminates the regional context of the Canudos rebellion of 1897 (item bi 96010843).

Historiography of the Republic continues to follow familiar themes in social history. There are many studies of immigration: Lesser on Jews and Lebanese (item bi 94011401), Grun on Armenians (bi 94014358), Monteiro on policies in Minas (item bi 95021644), and Brito (item bi 94014378) and Richter (item bi 94014351) on Germans. The works by Lindsay on return migration to Lagos (item bi 94007435), Dreher on immigration and the Church (item bi 94014346), and Dawsey on Confederates (item bi 95021647) bridge the 19th and 20th centuries. Furthermore, the studies of immigrants cited here are only a fraction of a literature composed primarily of amateur genealogical and local studies. There is a new interest in the culture of cities in the 20th century: Araújo discusses family and the rise of the pursuit of "pleasure" in Rio de Janeiro (item bi 94014438); Pesavento studies social issues in Porto Alegre (item bi 94014357); and Pimentel examines urban housing and the failure of the modernist urban utopia (item bi 94014384). The bold interpretation of social modernity and literary modernism in S˜ao Paulo in the 1920s by Sevcenko is an indispensable analysis of urban mentalities (item bi 95021639).

Works on the literary modernism of the 1920s, as exemplified by Gomes (item bi 94014719), the volume on Buarque de Holanda (item bi 95021679), and essays in the special issue of Luso-Brazilian Review dedicated to Richard Morse, demonstrate the flourishing of intellectual and cultural history. New biographies and interpretations of Gilberto Freyre by Chacon (item bi 95021584), Needell (item bi 96009610), and Morse (item bi 96010874) add to debates discussed in the review essay by Borges (item bi 96009605). The Luso-Brazilian Review's special issue on images of women discusses film and radio (item bi 96010842). Diverse topics on intellectual relations between France and Brazil are also explored (item bi 95021632). Needell (item bi 96010921), Skidmore (item bi 94001254), and Borges (item bi 94001240) discuss dimensions of racial ideology.

Political and labor history dominates the post-1920 historiography. Political histories of coronelismo have dwindled, but the debate over "who ruled" during the Republic continues, with contributions by Topik (item bi 94008928) and Perissinotto (item bi 95021670). Interpretations of tenentismo and the 1920s abound; see Pacheco Borges (item bi 94014414), Keith (item bi 95021629), Pesavento (item bi 94014387), Diacon (item bi 96010627) and Prestes (item bi 95021672), as well as Lira on the bandit Lampi˜ao (item bi 94014372). Whether government in the 1930s was totalitarian preoccupies Cancelli in his work on the police (item bi 94014385), as well as the authors of the historiographical essays in Silva (item bi 94014390). Lesser's excellent case study of Jewish immigration provides a more nuanced view of the words and deeds of the Estado Novo government (item bi 94016442). The Communist movement continues to magnetize attention and polemics. Malta creates a heroic fiction from documents of the Communist rebellion of 1935 (item bi 94014375), while Waack demolishes its icons (item bi 94014429); Bethell discusses 1947 (item bi 94002732), and Mir examines the 1960s guerrillas (item bi 95021658). Post-1945 studies emphasize the political and labor legacy of Getúlio Vargas, demonstrated by a special issue of the Luso-Brazilian Review (item bi 96010873), Bodea on parties in Rio Grande do Sul populism (item bi 94014330), Wolfe on labor (item bi 94007228), and, notably, Lobo's important compilation of research and statistics on Rio's union politics (item bi 94014339). Brazilian historians are debating the utility of oral history, as evidenced in Levine and Meihy's biography of Carolina Maria de Jesus (item bi 96009131) and interviews compiled by Ferreira (item bi 95021662) and Araújo, Soares, and Castro (item bi 95021678) for the Fundaç˜ao Getúlio Vargas/CPDOC oral history project.

Aside from the topical treatment of a variety of issues in Ridings' book on 19th-century commercial associations (item bi 94014596), business and economic history appears primarily in articles. Barham and Coomes provide polemical reevaluations of the developmental impact of the Amazon rubber boom (items bi 96008666 and bi 94008039). Blasenheim discusses 19th-century railroads in Minas (item bi 94010793), and Boone studies streetcar contracts in Rio (item bi 96009604). Versiani compares the labor supply in various cities and regions during the period of early industrialization (item bi 94008998). Haber analyzes the textile sector during the Depression in an article with broad implications (item bi 94007544), offering an interesting counterpoint to Topik (item bi 94008928) and Ridings on lobbying the State (item bi 94014596).


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