Home Institution

Harvard University

Publication Date

Fall 2007

Program Name

Brazil: Culture, Development, and Social Justice

Abstract

What is Black identity in São Luis, Maranhão and how does the Centro de Cultura Negra do Maranhão use Bloco e Banda Afro Akomabu and Grupo de Dança Afro Abanjá to construct black identity with Afro- descendants in São Luis, Maranhão, Brazil? Through active participation in Bloco Afro Akomabu and Grupo de Dança Afro Abanjá rehearsals and performances, interviews with Bloco Afro Akomabu and Grupo de Dança Afro Abanjá leaders and participants, and interviews with CCN leadership, the process of black identity formation encouraged by CCN through its two cultural projects emerged as a definite progression. This progression includes the preservation and valorization of Afro-Brazilian culture, developing self-esteem about Afro- descendant, constructing a black identity with Afro-descendents and finally engaging Afro- descendants in racial politics. The Centro de Cultura Negra do Maranhão develops black identity through cultural activities such as music, dance and spirituality, and that this process of black identity formation through cultural activities constitutes racial politics in São Luis, Maranhão, Brazil. Further, Afro- descendants in São Luis, Maranhão more frequently participate in racial politics through black identity formation within cultural activities because few, if any, spaces for racial politics exist outside of the Centro de Cultura Negra do Maranhão, and similar Black Movement NGO’s. In São Luis, Maranhão, Brazil, black identity formation and racial politics occur in the realm of Afro-Brazilian culture (i.e. music, dance, religion) and outside the realm of formal channels of representative democracy.

Disciplines

Race and Ethnicity

 

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