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Volume 63 / Social Sciences

GEOGRAPHY: BRAZIL


ANTOINETTE M.G.A. WINKLERPRINS, Associate Professor of Geography, Michigan State University

THE ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT in the Amazon continue to dominate the English-language books and articles about Brazil that were reviewed for HLAS 63 as they did for HLAS 61. Works reviewed for this volume have publication dates ranging from 2002 to 2005, a period in which geographers have been very prolific, particularly in writing about the Amazon region. There are really two literatures reviewed here, those about the Brazilian Amazon, and those about the rest of Brazil.

Several works about the Amazon are noteworthy. Raffles (item #bi2005004513#) explores the human-produced transformations of the Amazon. This work as well as his article with WinklerPrins (item #bi2007002044#) and the exquisitely illustrated book, Unknown Amazon (see HLAS 61:345), continue a trend within geography of research that deconstructs typical Amazonian narratives about the environmental virginity of the region (see HLAS 61:1853–1854). The Atlas of the Amazon (item #bi2007002039#) is the closest we have to a "geography" of the region with its many superb maps and graphics. A Brazilian companion work is by Gonçalves (item #bi2006000077#).

Land use, as it is related to environmental issues, dominates the literature, especially about the Amazon. Research on land rights and conflict in Amazonia continues by Simmons et al. (item #bi2007002046#). Walker and colleagues continue to refine methods of modeling deforestation (items #bi2007002048#, #bi2007002034#, and #bi2007002038#). Research on urban agriculture in an Amazonian city has been developed by WinklerPrins (item #bi2007002202#), and illustrates the importance of cities in the region today. Issues of environmental change as related to the soybean boom in the Amazon fringe are tackled by Brown et al. and Jepson (items #bi2007002036# and #bi2007002210#).

Turning to other regions of Brazil, several articles on the environmental history of São Paulo state by geographer Christian Brannstrom appeared (items #bi2003006858# and #bi2007002205#) during the review period. His creative use of underutilized archival material (country judicial records) resulted in a number of articles questioning Warren Dean's "wood hypothesis" and highlighting the importance of the timber trade in the development of São Paulo state (items #bi2003006858# and #bi2007002206#). He is also challenging the gloss "Atlantic Forest" which in fact is far more diverse and scattered than commonly believed (item #bi2007002204#). A significant 7-volume series on droughts in the Northeast of Brazil was published (item #bi2006000060#). Both American and Brazilian researchers addressed environmental governance (items #bi2007002211# and #bi2007002209#). Continued research on the landless movement (MST) in the northeast and in the south is provided by Wolford (items #bi2007002217#, #bi2007002215#, and #bi2007002216#) and also Garcia and Júnior (item #bi2005001298#).

A number of works by preeminent Brazilian geographer Mílton Santos were published posthumously. Of particular note is his portrait of Brazil at the beginning of the 21st century (item #bi2006000061#).


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