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Volume 64 / Humanities


DAIN BORGES, Associate Professor of History, University of Chicago
HAL LANGFUR, Associate Professor of History, The State University of New York at Buffalo
FRANK D. MCCANN, Professor Emeritus of History, University of New Hampshire


HAVING LAGGED BEHIND SCHOLARSHIP on the indigenous peoples of Spanish-, French-, and English-speaking America, research on native Portuguese-speaking America is attracting increasing attention, spurred forward by earlier seminal contributions such as Monteiro (Negros da terra: índios e bandeirantes nas origens de São Paulo, HLAS 58:3190) and da Cunha (História dos índios no Brasil, HLAS 57:962). Incorporating the tools of ethnohistory, anthropology, cultural geography, and even literary analysis, historians of Brazil's semi- and non-sedentary Indians are uncovering new archival sources and revisiting old ones, asserting a more prominent place for native peoples both in the midst of colonial society and along its territorial fringes.

In the recent crop of studies, Metcalf reevaluates the first century of Portuguese colonization, stressing cultural accommodations with native peoples (item #bi2008002746#). Research increasingly extends beyond the colony's central coast and into subsequent centuries. Marin and Gomes investigate the trade in native slaves north of the Amazon in the 17th and 18th centuries (item #bi2005003003#). Langfur demonstrates the salience of conflicts with natives condemned as cannibals along the eastern periphery of the colony's inland mining district in the 18th and early 19th century (items #bi2007002914# and #bi2005004731#), while Espindola charts this same conflict into later decades (item #bi2008002748#). Revisionist approaches to the canonical subject of bandeiras, armed wilderness expeditions conventionally associated with São Paulo, illustrate how sources once used to study colonists are now mined for material on native conduct. The topic is explored in a journal volume introduced by Russell-Wood with essays on Bahia, the Amazon, Minas Gerais, and Goiás (items #bi2005004728#, #bi2005004729#, #bi2005004730#, #bi2005004731#, and #bi2005004732#, respectively).

In an era of rapid globalization, colonial historiography is making more explicit its concern for transnational approaches. Emphasizing transatlantic ties to Africa and Europe, further abandoning the old core-periphery duality, treating political boundaries as porous, researchers are shifting colonial history away from protonationalist narratives and opening up new lines of inquiry. Scholarship on the south Atlantic system, the Portuguese Empire's political and commercial networks, the colonial internalization of metropolitan hierarchies and values, and the African Diaspora are among current themes fruitfully explored in this vein.

Studies of African slavery have long recognized this larger context, at least implicitly. Curto and Lovejoy's collection provides an overview of the new scholarship on economic and cultural influences linking western Africa and Brazil (item #bi2007001044#). Schwartz highlights the transatlantic character of the sugar export complex (item #bi2005006041#). In two works on runaway slave communities, Gomes explores connections to Africa and other regions of the Americas (items #bi2007000616# and #bi2007000617#). Borges and Kiddy find in the black lay brotherhoods of Minas Gerais institutions that afforded peoples of African descent potent ties to their ancestry (items #bi2007001038# and #bi2007001041#). Slavery's expansion meant that interrelations with Africa persisted at the end of the colonial period, as Silva shows in his study of a notorious early 19th-century slave merchant (item #bi2006002741#). New findings on the transatlantic origins of the 1835 Malé slave revolt were a primary motive for publishing another revised, expanded edition of the now-classic study by Reis (item #bi2008002745#). (For comments on the first edition of Reis' work and the English translation, see HLAS 50:2728 and HLAS 54:3411.)

The burgeoning interest in commonalities rather than conflicts between Portugal and Portuguese America has deep roots, as evidenced by a reprint edition of pioneering essays by Dias (item #bi2007000620#). For decades a keystone of colonial historiography, social history, which tends toward more local concerns, is less well represented among this scholarship than political, economic, and cultural history. Another consequence is a resurgent interest in colonial elites, including their search for status within the wider empire, the subject of Silva's overview (item #bi2007001034#). For the 17th century, Monteiro examines shared understandings of Crown and royal authority in Portugal and Brazil (item #bi2006002713#), while Blaj demonstrates the extent to which the interests of São Paulo's local elites paralleled the Crown's (item #bi2006002727#). Such collaboration did not entail mere dependence, as Sampaio argues in his study of Rio de Janeiro's merchants, who strove to link internal markets with south Atlantic commerce (item #bi2006002743#). For the 18th century, Rio is also the subject of Bicalho's innovative study, similarly situating the city in a broad Atlantic context (item #bi2006002722#). Cavalcante contributes to an ongoing debate over the nature and scope of the south Atlantic contraband trade in Brazilian gold and diamonds (item #bi2008002709#). Also focused on the era of the mining boom, Souza offers one of the most theoretically sophisticated analyses of colonial administration as a two-way phenomenon, taking care not to ignore resistance to royal impositions (item #bi2008002740#). Even the Inquisition is cast by Wadsworth as a colonial institution that provided a means of advancement for colonists with social and political aspirations (item #bi2007000622#).

The return to administrative and political history focused on elites, now often with a culturalist overlay, characterizes a spate of studies, corresponding to bicentenary commemorations of the late-colonial residence of the Portuguese Crown in the colony, a prelude to independence. Schwarcz's original monograph probes the transfer of the royal library to Brazil for insights into the nature of state power (item #bi2006002718#). Lopez uses public festivals to explore the mounting tensions of the independence period (item #bi2006002731#). Princess Carlota, wife of João VI and daughter of Charles IV of Spain, is the subject of two volumes by Azevedo, who portrays her as an important political figure in her own right, underlining the need for greater attention to the history of women and gender relations (items #bi2008002747# and #bi2006002717#). Two studies on the independence struggle shift emphasis away from the traditional focus on the center of state authority in Rio de Janeiro to Pernambuco, in the case of Mello's examination of federalism (item #bi2007000614#), and to Brazil's southern borderlands, in the case of Pimenta's inquiry into nation-state formation (item #bi2006002747#). Renewed interest in post-independence conservative thought and politics is the subject of two important studies by Monteiro and Needell (items #bi2007000619# and #bi2007001043#). [HL]


The boom in one-volume histories and "introductions to Brazil" has tapered off. In this round, the four-volume collection of popularizing essays on 20th-century Brazil in O Brasil Republicano (item #bi2007005989#) and Luna and Klein (item #bi2007001050#) on Brazil since 1980 come closest to being general histories. Yet the former is heavily tilted toward themes of citizenship, and the latter toward political economy. Klein and Luna also collaborated on a succinct guide to new databases and digital collections (item #bi2008003356#). Even narrower than the studies above, the now complete trilogy by Rose (items #bi2008003355#, #bi2001001126#, and #bi2008004258#) unrolls 500 years of Brazilian history, but solely from the perspective of political violence. Fausto and Devoto (item #bi2007004351#) comparing the histories of Brazil and Argentina, provide the broadest panorama, though the comparison with Argentina seems to have shifted little from Fausto's earlier one-volume interpretation of Brazil (see HLAS 58:3139). A definite trend in current historical writing is toward topics that are more pointed, more local, more specialized than was the case a couple of decades ago. Perhaps this is a consequence of the proliferation of MA, and now PhD, programs at Brazilian universities that have overwhelmed the marketplace with too many publications on very narrow topics.

Even the conventional topics of 19th-century history, such as the war with Paraguay, are dealt with in specialized fashion, emphasizing the imagery of the war and the multiple roles of women in the conflict. The value of Ricardo Salles' book is more in its images—photos, paintings, sketches—than in its words (item #bi2007000867#). Curiously paintings show white, heroic Brazilians, while in the photos the soldiers are blacks or mulattos dressed in rags. Some photos of the aftermath of battle are truly shocking. Wives normally accompanied Brazilian soldiers to their various postings; Paraguay was no different. Dourado has made a contribution by calling attention to the women of this war (item #bi2007001440#). Various senior officers had their wives and daughters with them, and many common soldiers were accompanied, even if some of the relationships were informal. The latter companions were called "chinas" in army slang, a term that came from the Quechua word tchina, a wild female animal. Likely much of the cooking and care of the wounded and sick was carried out by such women.

Military history makes a strong showing. Brazil's one clear acquisition of a neighbor's territory was told in the firsthand account of one of the main actors: Plácido de Castro's hitherto unpublished war diary contains useful details about the struggle that ended Bolivia's rule of rubber-rich Acre (item #bi2007001446#). Military history with a social cast is found in both Moura (item #bi2007000868#) and Machado (item #bi2007000883#) on the Contestado War. Of these two books, Machado's is the most valuable, thanks to his use of oral history collected from elderly survivors and their offspring. He successfully eliminates the notion that the rebel movement was irrational.

Social history of everyday military life is central to the excellent collection of essays in Nova história militar (item #bi2007004355#), and in other works it is linked to the political history of the Army. Conceição's work on the military academies is one of the very few studies written by Brazilians about military education (item #bi2007000869#). Unhappily, he works with the false premise that all forms of education are partisan and that the military are a "party." Still, less prejudiced scholars can use his information to good effect. McCann (item #bi2004000011#) provides a much more complete account of the intersections between everyday career life, active campaigns, and politicization of military officers across the 20th century. The Italian Campaign of WWII continues to provide Brazilian historians with material. Gonçalves and Maximiano, a veteran officer and a historian (item #bi2007000864#), tell the story of the former's infantry platoon. Finally we have a book that looks at the losing side in the key revolution of 1930. Meirelles (item #bi2007001442#) on the tenentes is particularly strong in recreating the mood and substance of Brazil of the 1920s. His detail on the tenente exiles in Buenos Aires and on the functioning of the Brazilian police is spellbinding. He tells a great story but ignores much of the existing literature, and so in the end it is not clear what he thinks it all meant.

Historians are turning their attention to important social questions such as land distribution. Aguiar tells how the state of Goiás developed via discussions of land policy and the struggles over creation of transportation systems (item #bi2007001472#). In this work, the separation of natives from their lands is a muted subtext that deserves more direct attention. Jacomelli (item #bi2007000874#) recounts a similar history for public lands in Rio Grande do Sul in the 1910s. Here, too, Indians were dispossessed, along with caboclo erva-mate collectors. In the organized, dictatorial politics of Rio Grande, the Partido Republicano Riograndense set up a land commission to regulate land sales and, via paternalistic clientalism, to distribute lands. The state cut trails and roads and supervised settlement. This was not a frontier on the Turner model. Ardenghi studies roughly the same region from a different perspective (item #bi2007000882#). Using archives and interviews she analyzes the long-standing climate of violence around Palmeira das Missões (RS) that grew from the fights over land that pushed out the Caingangue Indians, caboclos, and squatter erva-mate gatherers. Coronelismo here is exemplified by Coronel Leonel Rocha, who certainly does not fit the model of Woodard (item #bi2006001586#).

Immigration continues to inspire large numbers of parochial microstudies, but the tide of amateurish county histories seems to be receding, leaving the field to more professional work. Some scholars are pursuing their own roots though academic study. Böbel's Joinville studies the origins of that city (item #bi2008003000#). To celebrate the marriage of his sister, Princess Francisca Carolina, to the Prince of Joinville of the house of Orleans, Emperor Pedro II gave her extensive lands on the edges of the Vale do Itajaí, Santa Catarina. In 1849, the Princess, in turn, ceded some of her lands to the Colonization Society of Hamburg. In 1851, 125 colonists boarded ship for a two-month sail to Brazil. There are stories of various shiploads from different countries. Within two years the colony had 5,000 inhabitants.

Most work on immigration focuses on migrants of one ethnicity. Siriani (item #bi2007001464#) focuses on Germans who went to São Paulo. They were mostly artisans thrust aside by industrialization. Their arrival in a society based on slavery fulfilled a pent-up demand for their skills. They moved into definite districts but did not create ghettos, even though they did not speak Portuguese. They used mutual support societies and strong community ties to preserve their cultural distinction. The author used court records to obtain wills and property inventories to show the creation of modest fortunes and small businesses over the course of a few generations. Gans (item #bi2007000878#) studies the formation of German-owned businesses, and the creation of a German immigrant identity via schools, newspapers, and community associations. The Italians continue to attract scholars. Corteze (item #bi2007001451#) uses myth and reality to organize her work. Violence disappeared in the mythic retelling and she seeks to correct the historical record. Herédia and Paviani (item #bi2007000894#) provide a bibliography of PhD and MA theses from linguistics and related fields. Buarque de Holanda (item #bi2007001444#) published an interpretive essay on the Italian contribution to Brazil. Saquet (item #bi2007000893#) studied the region in central Rio Grande where Italians settled. He followed the story back to Italy, carried it through the creation of settlements, to the out migration of the descendents. Brazil's large Jewish population is given attention by Freindenson and Becker (item #bi2007000897#) who provide the basic data of immigrant history in individual and family stories. They provide lots of detail, names of parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, plus how they earned their living, and how they became Jewish à brasileira. One of the most solid studies in this group is Peres (item #bi2007005978#) on the Galician migration to São Paulo after 1946, which combines quantitative sources with interviews to good effect.

The idea that Minas Gerais declined in the late 18th century is challenged by Graça Filho (item #bi2007001452#). This research depicts a society in the south of Minas Gerais composed mainly of slave-labor fazendas producing food stuffs for the internal market. The difference between the images of decadence and production is that the latter is an economy capable of making profits from supplying the internal market. The myth of decline of Minas Gerais is struck another blow by the reissue of Matos'Itinerário, which first saw print in 1836 (item #bi2007001462#). Cunha Matos' detailed account of his journey across Minas in 1823 provides eyewitness descriptions of a vibrant economy. And wonder of wonders, there is an index!

The historiography on Minas Gerais has been expanded by two books spanning the colonial and national period divide that look at the little-known area east of the colonial-era gold mining towns. Why were routes not established into the mining region from Vitôria? Was it really native resistance that kept that eastern region a blank on the map? Langfur sees Portuguese policy making a virtue of native ferocity (item #bi2007002914#). He situates his excellent book, Forbidden Lands, in the literature on frontier experiences. Frederick Jackson Turner's "frontier thesis" is even more inapplicable to Brazil than it was to the US. Langfur also resurrects the history of the supposedly vanished natives of eastern Minas Gerais. "Forbidden lands" refers to the Portuguese Crown's closure of the space between the gold mining towns and the Atlantic coast in an attempt to prevent ore smuggling and to enforce proper taxation. Effectively this meant that the colonial authorities were to leave the natives in place to use fear of them to keep uncontrolled settlers out of the region. Violence did not reflect the halting of cultural interaction, but rather was a sign of "an intensification of inter-ethnic relations..." (p. 229). The relative balance of power between natives and colonial forces did not produce a "middle ground" such as Richard White found in North America. Langfur's work should be read by all students of Brazil.

And as if she were responding to Langfur's cue, Missagia de Mattos (item #bi2007001445#) illustrates lively intercultural relations. This is a welcome study of the famous Botocudos and their dealings with the invading white world focusing on missionary activity of Italian Capuchins. The civilizing process involved substitution of native belief and culture, but it turned out that they adjusted the invaders' beliefs to fit their own needs and worldview. The natives did not "disappear," but rather protected themselves, and instead of bowing to order and domination, they resisted and fought to recover their autonomy.

The staples of Brazilian history are here as well: race, slavery, abolition, becoming free. With reason the coffee plantation system of 19th-century São Paulo continues to excite interest. In Cultivo do café (item #bi2007000900#) by Messias, the findings of Stanley Stein, Warren Dean, Thomas Holloway, Peter Eisenberg, and Michael Hall are blended with the work of Brazilian authors and the author's research. She focuses on western São Paulo in the municípios of Araraquara and São Carlos. The relationship of internal and export markets has been a source of constant debate among historians. Studying the years before the introduction of coffee culture, Messias reveals that cattle raising, food crops, and aguardente production provided capital accumulation and a financial structure that made possible the development of coffee plantations. Silva Bruno's Café & Negro (item #bi2007000853#) waited 50 years to see print. His focus is on the slave, "the greatest investment made by the fazendeiros." He recreates the daily life of the Paulista coffee fazendas, sexual relations between the residents of the Casa Grande and the senzala, detailed description of the fazendeiro family, the social atmosphere revealed in music, dances, and festa. Rocha takes on the difficult topic of slave families using data on Campinas, in the state of São Paulo. Histórias de famílias escravas attacks the idea that slave families were either precarious or did not exist (item #bi2007001447#). The families that she studied had a vibrant existence that can be described and analyzed. She focuses on slaves held by Camillo Xavier Bueno da Silveira of Campinas, treating slave marriages and the supposed illegitimacy of their offspring. Some slaves formed and maintained families that held together through several generations, while others were torn apart by the brutality of the post-1850 internal slave trade. She found marriages and godparentage among slaves of different fazendas where the owners were linked by compadrio, friendship or blood.

In recent years historians of slavery have increased their concentration on the social aspect of daily life. Manumission is central to any discussion of slavery, yet, according to Enidelce Bertin, aside from Katia Mattoso's work on Bahia and Peter Eisenberg's article on manumission in Campinas, the subject has been slighted. She does not seem to have looked at work done on the colonial era by Kathleen Higgins and James Kiernan. Likely because their writings were in English, Bertin, as is often the case in Brazil, was able to ignore them. This is a pity because it would have sharpened her questions and maybe influenced her interpretations. Bertin's examination of the conditions imposed on newly freed slaves in manumission documents indicates that owners in the city of São Paulo conceded freedom as a way of keeping the person in some degree of service (item #bi2008003400#). So it was not full freedom. Papali's work (item #bi2007001456#) bears out that view from the perspective of Taubaté in the Paulista part of the valley of the Paraíba. The courts became a legal battleground where the former masters sought to have the children of their ex-slaves assigned to them or to their relatives as wards to be "cared" for. In reality they were securing the labor of these youngsters until they came of age. The ex-slaves fought this devious enterprise in the courts as well. The author recreates this active struggle between former masters and former slaves from research in local newspapers and archives of the era.

Moreira takes on the long-standing myth that because Rio Grande do Sul is today predominately European, African slavery was extremely rare (item #bi2007001458#). The numbers in the archives tell a different story: Porto Alegre in 1856 had 5,146 slaves in a population of 17,226 (29.9 percent) and in 1872 there were 8,155 slaves out of 43,998 inhabitants (18.6 percent). In 1874 the slave regime in Rio Grande do Sul was at its height when slaves comprised 98,450 or 21.28 percent of the total population of 462,542. Moreira provides a well-done study of urban slavery ala Gaúcho, significantly broadening the image of Brazilian slavery. And to make the case even tighter we have Zanetti's study of two decades of slavery in Porto Alegre (item #bi2007001463#). Urban slavery is often thought to have been easier on the slave due to a supposed greater degree of liberty in the city. Zanetti's careful use of sources sketches an image of continuous violence that held the slaves in check. Sadly, a significant number resisted by committing suicide. Perhaps even more injurious was the post-abolition rewriting of Gaúcho history that eliminated African slaves from the scenario.

Similar reclaiming of history is going on in other parts of Brazil. Slavery was not limited to sugar and coffee plantations. It was even part of the northeastern cattle ranges. Oliveira Lima confronts the image of the slave vaquero in the northeastern sertão as a relatively constrained person who had the right to a fourth of each year's calves or kids (item #bi2007001441#). The author's research into slavery on Piauí's nationalized fazendas destroys that myth. Lands that the Jesuits possessed were taken by royal authorities after the 1759 expulsion and became government lands after independence. Whatever the wishes of the emperors, the slave work force was controlled by local overseers, who exploited the slaves shamelessly. There was no fourth of the year's births for them.

Rios and Mattos use oral histories to study modern communities that began as quilombos in the state of Rio de Janeiro (item #bi2007000887#). Their analysis emphasizes the family as the key institution created by the last slaves. There is much here for scholars of race to ponder. On a somewhat different tack, Domingues sheds light on post-abolition Brazil (item #bi2007001450#). He observed that the slaves were freed because slavery was holding back Brazil, not because it was immoral and destroyed human beings. Once freed, society expected them to fade away into the margins. His research reveals a different reality. In their struggle to survive, the "gente de cor" in São Paulo established a parallel world with their own newspapers, clubs, beneficent societies, futebol teams, and schools. It looks very much like what happened in the US.

The question for "white" Brazilians was "what to do with blacks?" This is the question that had been debated in Brazil since the mid-18th century. The course of the debate is the subject of Azevedo's Onda negra, medo branco (item #bi2007000898#). Azevedo criticizes the line of thinking in Brazilian historiography that attributes the poverty and alienation of 20th-century blacks to the supposed heritage of slavery. Such thinking negates the key role of slaves and freedmen in the struggle against slavery. Joaquim Nabuco and Antonio Bento although shocked at the situation of slaves, directed their abolitionist propaganda at slave holders and whites, and like many abolitionists aimed at keeping freedmen available for labor. In this book, slaves are the principal actors in their own history. Superficially, the free blacks disappear into the mists of a world peopled by European immigrants. But of course, they were still there surrounded by white fear.

One way for whites to deal with the problem was to use science to push away any nonwhites. Silveira examines the impact that Darwinism had on the thinking of Brazilian physicians, scientists, literary critics and writers (item #bi2007000854#). The author compares the thinking in Rio Grande do Sul to that of Brazil as a whole. It is a serious beginning for a new understanding of Brazil.

In a like vein, Naxara is pursuing the same end, but with a different approach (item #bi2007001455#). In her fascinating, innovating book, in which new ideas and perspectives drip from every page, the theme is the rethinking of 19th-century Brazil and the construction of a national identity in the confrontation of nature and civilization. But she surprises by showing how fictional accounts and scientific notions of nature were incorporated into the very idea of Brazil. Historical reality was mixed with imagination, and Brazilian identity grew from deep inside the crossing of sensibility and reason.

Great men still have a big role in Brazilian historiography. Joaquim Nabuco (mentioned above) was a major figure in Brazilian history and in relations with the US. Salles' Joaquim Nabuco is an intellectual history of the man and, in a larger sense, of the empire (item #bi2007001471#). The book is based on good research and presents new ideas and interpretations. Salles asks how could liberalism exist in a slave society and how could democracy exist without agrarian reform. Nabuco wanted change from above because he feared the return of the chaos that had scarred the Regency period. Brazilian liberalism never spawned an ideology of the masses, rather it linked discussion of "rights" to the idea of civilization. To understand Nabuco is to understand the bases of the Brazilian nation. And unhappily, although he was a leader of the abolitionist movement, he was a racist who believed the African races were inferior and primitive. He played an important role in relations with the US. His notes on life as the first Brazilian ambassador shed new light on the era of the "unwritten alliance." (item #bi2007001475#).

Regional history is helped along by studies of daily life in Ceará. Souza and Castro Neves edited Comportamento (item #bi2007000873#) that examines the humor and behavior of street children (molecagem) in Fortaleza as described in 19th-century literature, the city's high sidewalks as meeting ground, extension of houses and businesses, and Praça José de Alencar where anything and everything happens. In a companion volume, they turn their attention to Intelectuais (item #bi2007001460#). The few educated people in Fortaleza were starved for knowledge. They formed the Instituto do Ceará (Histórico, Geográfico, e Antropológico) to have a place for high-minded discussions. Despite the creation of the institute, little happened to improve basic education in the city or to expand the number of educated discussants.

One of the burning questions of Brazilian historiography since Warren Dean's Industrialization of São Paulo (1969) has been how capital moved from the slave-based plantation economy into industry. Hanley's Native Capital (item #bi2007000859#) takes on this question in a well-researched and well-written study. The book addresses a central question of Brazilian economic history: how did São Paulo industrialize so quickly and achieve dominance so thoroughly? Warren Dean's "coffee complex" is the starting point for her research. The subproducts necessary to move coffee beans from the plantations to the overseas consumers contributed to the base of future diversification. How did entrepreneurs gather the resources to change an idea for a coffee-related item into a producing factory? Hanley argues that "this transformation occurred as the result of a very real set of institutions that evolved during the coffee boom and early industrialization—the capital markets." The diversification of Paulista capital markets, shaped by government regulation, provided key mechanisms through which the wealth from the coffee boom found its way into the urban commercial and industrial enterprises that transformed São Paulo.

Biography continues to be the most popular genre of historical writing in Brazil today, and it produces some of the worst and best writing about the past. The memoirs of Fernando Henrique Cardoso (item #bi2008004263#) tell much about his rise but little about his presidency. After reading the account of Jânio Quadros' arbitrary behavior by Arnt (item #bi2007005937#), it is easy to understand why Cardoso fashions his political persona around being the anti-Jânio. Villa (item #bi2007005938#) on João Goulart is concise, competent and professional, but many biographies written by journalists, such as Lira Neto (item #bi2007005987#) on Castello Branco, undermine their emphatic, vivid reconstruction of events by not documenting their assertions with notes. Diacon makes Candido Rondón the jumping-off point for reflections on his Positivist intellectual generation and his times (item #bi2008004262#). Two outstanding new biographies throw new light on Gilberto Freyre: Pallares-Burke probes deeply into Freyre's reading, self-fashioning and self-fabrication (item #bi2007005916#); Rodriguez Larreta and Giucci (item #bi2008004259#) range broadly over his early career and contexts. Freyre continues to fascinate; his work is the topic of a whole section in the weighty encyclopedia of vignettes about intellectuals, Nenhum Brasil existe, edited by Rocha and Araujo (item #bi2007005988#).

Familiar, even shopworn, topics continue to dominate semipopular publishing about 20th-century Brazilian politics: for example, there is a never-ending procession of books rehashing the minutiae of controversial events such as the attempted murder of Carlos Lacerda and Getúlio Vargas' suicide. Professional historians are trying to reset terms of debate, or at least explore new dimensions of the old topics. The Brasil republicano (item #bi2007005989#) collection hopes to raise high school and college history courses toward a more constructive focus on citizenship. Vargas and Brazil (item #bi2007002254#) stands out as a sampling of different approaches.

By contrast, when documenting the obsessive zeal and hairsplitting quarrels of Communists under Vargas, most histories and memoirs fall into a nostalgic mode. Gouveia (item #bi2007005967#) on the lives of militants in the 1960s seems fresher than the dense political history in Karepovs (item #bi2007005932#) on the 1938 schism, or Ferreira's essay (item #bi2007005934#) on memories of the 1930s and 40s, or Ziller (item #bi2007005942#), the testimony of a Minas Gerais militant.

The 40th anniversary of the 1964 coup has inspired many reflections on the dictatorships of 1964–1985. The Seminário 40 Anos do Golpe (item #bi2007005946#) is a sampling of scholarship on a broad range of topics. The essays in O Golpe (item #bi2007005927#) focus more narrowly on repression. A number of notable works emphasize repression and resistance. Kushnir (item #bi2007005971#) undertakes a detailed and passionate study of newspapers, the censors, and censor-journalists. Costa (item #bi2007005964#) provides a journalistic, vivid evocation of the climate of student resistance in 1968. Fico (item #bi2007005969#) provides researchers with a very useful survey of bibliography, archives and sources, and O DEOPS/SP (item #bi2007005994#) describes the newly opened archives of the secret police. In rebuttal to such documentation projects, military officers have published their own 15-volume oral history archive, 1964, 31 de março (item #bi2007005990#). Perhaps the interviews with leading historians in Moraes (item #bi2007005930#) can explain why repression is such a central topic: almost all senior historians training graduate students in Brazil today say that the censorship, repression and exile of the 1960s and 1970s were key formative experiences.

Institution-building and other mundane dimensions of politics have been relatively neglected. Cavalcante (item #bi2007005966#) sheds some light on the creation of the state of Tocantins in 1988. Santana (item #bi2007005954#) on the politicization of economic planning in Bahia is slight but suggestive. Marcílio (item #bi2007005923#) studies the São Paulo school system along the 20th century in order to make policy recommendations.

Of course, many topics of social history are treated primarily in their relation to the state and politics. The histories of medicine are all concerned with politics, with Carvalho (item #bi2007005963#) evaluating repression of folk healers, Löwy (item #bi2007005921#) interpreting campaigns for eradication of yellow fever, and Cunha (item #bi2007005931#) anatomizing the mentalities of public health doctors of the 1930s. The best labor histories are examining worker's lives on the shop floor and in neighborhoods while keeping an eye on politics: Negro (item #bi2007005980#) provides an outstanding study of politics and work in São Paulo automobile factories through 1979; Fortes (item #bi2007005936#) is good on immigrant workers in Porto Alegre around the 1930s. Martinello (item #bi2007005917#) and Garfield (item #bi2007000113#) provide instructive contrast between Brazilian and American approaches to the labor history of the Amazonian "battle" for rubber production during WWII; Martinello emphasizes victimization and the perpetuation of underdevelopment, while Garfield focuses on gendered ideologies. Minor studies include Scaletsky (item #bi2007005976#) on PETROBRAS workers.

Histories of race and gender relations in the 20th century are relatively few, but their quality is outstanding. In a broad-stroke survey, Andrews (item #bi2006002159#) places Brazil in the context of "Afro-Latin America." The sociologist Telles (item #bi2008003427#) has come up with the most effective synthesis of contemporary research on 20th-century race relations. Lesser (item #bi2008004261#) explores idiosyncratic stories of Japanese-Brazilian resistance to stereotypes. And gender intersects with with race in the complex institutional contexts explored in the essays of Honor, Status, and Law in Modern Latin America (item #bi2005001940#). Not all work on race and gender is groundbreaking; we have not reviewed all of the many MA theses that address gender images, such as Serpa (item #bi2007005956#) on women in magazines.

Favorite topics of previous years, in fields that are still vigorous, have been less prominent in book publishing. Intellectual history is surprisingly underrepresented here, with the correspondence of Rodrigues (item #bi2007005965#) an exception. Urban history is represented primarily by the collection of articles, Cidade—história e desafios (item #bi2007005945#). And the only history of religion, Pessar (item #bi2006000975#) on the Santa Brígida millenarian community, is written by an anthropologist.

The most obviously emergent topic is radio. There has been a boomlet in British and American publication on Brazilian popular music in the 20th century, but little of it is being written by historians. An exception is McCann (item #bi2008004260#) on samba, other song genres, the radio audience, and nationalism, by far the broadest study. Historians are writing on radio, but aside from the article by McCann (item #bi2005001446f#) on radio and Carlos Lacerda's populism, the research is emerging as collections of empirical and narrow papers, such as Rádio brasileiro (item #bi2007005944#) on regional pioneers and Vargas (item #bi2007005935#) on memory of broadcasts of Vargas' death, or MA theses, such as Sousa (item #bi2007005968#) on WWII propaganda. [FDM and DB]

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Comments: Ask a Librarian (07/09/14)