Mapping Race, Gendering Place: African American Roots Tourism in Bahia, Brazil

Friday, February 22, 2019

12:30 pm

Bolivar House, 582 Alvarado Row, Stanford, CA Map

Sponsored by:
Center for Latin American Studies

This talk examines the major intersecting tropes that inform African American roots tourism in Brazil to demonstrate how the gendering of space, place, and time are tied to the geopolitics of the black diaspora. The trope of “Bahia as a closer Africa” for African Americans represents both Bahia and Africa in feminized terms. The representations of an Africanized Bahia predominantly rely on images of black women as cultural markers and embodiments of the past, as represented by the Sisters of the Good Death. This process positions the Sisters, the culture that they “preserve,” and the place with whom they are conflated, as frozen in the past, suggesting that time, and its implicit masculinity, has not exercised agency over it, thus confirming that stasis lies at the core of the association between space and femininity. The deployment of the Sisters of the Good Death to represent an Africanized Bahia, while potentially empowering and certainly dignifying for the Sisters, paradoxically confirms the trope of “black evolution,” where African Americans are conceived of as more advanced than other black groups in the diaspora. As the masculinism of time becomes a marker of difference, it distinguishes the modern black male Self from the traditional black female Other. 

Patricia de Santana Pinho, Associate Professor in Latin American and Latino Studies at UCSC, is a Brazilian anthropologist whose research focuses on the topics of blackness, whiteness, racism, anti-racism, and tourism in Brazil and the black diaspora. She is the author of the recently-published Mapping Diaspora: African American Roots Tourism in Brazil (University of North Carolina Press, 2018), and Mama Africa: Reinventing Blackness in Bahia (Duke University Press, 2010). She has held post-doctoral fellowships at Yale University, Amherst College, and the Open University, UK. 

Friday, February 22, 2019
12:30 pm – 1:20 pm
Bolivar House, 582 Alvarado Row, Stanford, CA Map

Free and open to the public

Lunch will be provided


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