Voicing Racial Consciousness: The Dialogic Nature of Black Consciousness in Brazil Today
Presentation by Antonio José B. da Silva
Thursday, January 26, 2012 3:30 pm in Harvill 302
Antonio José B. da Silva's work interrogates shifts in political and racial consciousness in the context of the resurgence of anti-racist activism among Afro-Brazilians spurred by recent, twenty-first-century legal and social reforms in Brazil, which include racial quotas at Brazilian public universities and a federal law that requires schools throughout the country to teach African and Afro-Brazilian history and culture. In this presentation, he focuses on how black activists in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, use reported discourse in an ongoing process of negotiation with and/or interrogation of dominant Brazilian racial ideology. He shows that one result of this process of negotiation is an extraordinarily complex battlefield of voices in which they seek (1) to construct, redefine, or retain their identity as "negros" [blacks]; (2) intervene in the voice of “racist common sense” and demand attention to the sources (or embedded voices) of knowledge about Brazilians of African descent; and (3) construct themselves as particular kinds of racial and political subjects.
Antonio José B. da Silva is a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Arizona. His research interests include sociocultural and linguistic anthropology, language and politics, language and identity (race & gender), social movements and social justice, and history and social memory. He has conducted long-term ethnographic research in the cities of Lençóis and Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. He has received various awards including a Fulbright Scholarship and Honorable Mention in the Society of Linguistic Anthropology 2011 Graduate Student Essay Competition.