Brazil's Living Museum: Race, Reform, and Tradition in Bahia by Anadelia A. Romo

By Anadelia A. Romo

Brazil's northeastern kingdom of Bahia has equipped its financial system round attracting foreign travelers to what's billed because the locus of Afro-Brazilian tradition and the epicenter of Brazilian racial concord. but this inclusive excellent has a classy earlier. Chronicling the discourse between intellectuals and nation officers in the course of the interval from the abolition of slavery in 1888 to the beginning of Brazil's army regime in 1964, Anadelia Romo uncovers how the state's nonwhite majority moved from being a resource of embarrassment to being a severe component to Bahia's identity.

Romo examines principles of race in key cultural and public arenas via an in depth research of scientific technology, the humanities, schooling, and the social sciences. As she argues, even if Bahian racial notion got here to include parts of Afro-Brazilian tradition, the presentation of Bahia as a "living museum" threatened via social switch portrayed Afro-Bahian tradition and modernity as unavoidably at odds. Romo's finely tuned account complicates our knowing of Brazilian racial ideology and enriches our wisdom of the buildings of race throughout Latin the US and the bigger African diaspora.

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Yet though the state formed the answer for the future, it had largely failed its responsibilities in the past. 61 He noted with sharp irony that the state had been able somehow to marshal funds for animal vaccination centers but had ignored human welfare, whether in terms of leprosy or in broader public nutrition and malnutrition. These social and political problems formed the basis of his critique, a format well accepted in the Gazeta Médica; like his Bahian colleagues, Nina Rodrigues viewed disease as a problem to be solved by state intervention.

Denounced the city’s deficient schools, insufficient public sanitation, and neglected infrastructure. Aiming to transform Salvador into a progressive capital in a European mold, they touted a vision of social medicine that targeted social ills as much as disease. These visions gained a unique opportunity to be put into practice. Medical authority seemed to have a particular affinity for politics in the restricted world of the Bahian elite in the late 1880s. The last provincial president of Bahia was a member of the medical school, and the sudden transition to a republic in 1889 changed little in this regard: of the first four civilians to hold office in Bahia at the start of the republic, three were medical doctors.

This reform, at this particular political moment, signaled a disturbing effort by the Bahian state government to shirk its most basic obligations. And it revealed a shocking willingness to neglect any meaningful agenda for racial equality in the critical years following abolition. Since voting was restricted to the literate, Dias’s actions were not only socially undemocratic but directly contradicted political democracy. Access by blacks to schools and to the polls was an idea too radical for Dias and the wider Bahian elite at this time.

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