Home Institution

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Program Name

Brazil: Social Justice and Sustainable Development


The systematic use of violence by the police a lead me to the city of Salvador, Bahia, a city where 80% of the population is Afro-Brazilian. Using a framework of structural violence I develop a critical understanding of how contemporary manifestations of colonialism impact black people in Salvador, Bahia. Through this research I problematize the idea of the “racial democracy” to understand how black people are experiencing the direct use of violence by the Brazilian state in the form of anti-black genocide. I ask how Black Brazilian activists in Salvador resist and challenge state violence, specifically in the context of genocide; what technologies are local activists using to confront and respond to state violence; how is this violence, executed by the state upon members of Black Brazilian community in Salvador, reflective of a history of colonial violence. I explore how the members of the local activist community understand, articulate, and challenge state violence within the context anti-black genocide historically rooted in the colonial institution of slavery. Using a framework of structural violence, I engage in a postcolonial critique to problematize the historicity of the official narrative, exposing a legacy of violent colonialism, and the erection of a structurally violent state apparatus. Furthermore, I connect criminalization of Black people in Brazil and the United States to a broader history of colonialism in the Americas, with a focus on Brazil. Through analysis I explore the colonial roots of the institutionalization of racism and violence that have resulted in the genocide of black people in Brazil.


Community-Based Research | Defense and Security Studies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Latin American Studies | Peace and Conflict Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance


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