During the 1990s Rio de Janeiro earned the epithet of 'divided city', an image underscored by the contrast between its upper-class buildings and nearby hillside 'favelas.' The city's cultural production, however, has been shaped by porous boundaries and multi-ethnic encounters. Drawing on a broad range of historical, theoretical and literary sources, Porous City generates new ways of understanding Rio's past, its role in the making of Brazilian culture, and its significance to key global debates about modernity and urban practices. This book offers an original perspective on Rio de Janeiro that focuses on the New City, one of the most compelling spaces in the history of modern cities. Once known as both a 'Little Africa' and as a 'Jewish Neighborhood,' the New City was an important reference for prominent writers, artists, pioneering social scientists and foreign visitors (from Christian missionaries to Orson Welles). It played a crucial role in foundational narratives of Brazil as 'the country of carnival' and as a 'racial democracy.' Going back to the neighborhood's creation by royal decree in 1811, this study sheds light on how initially marginalized practices -like samba music- became emblematic of national identity. A critical crossroads of Rio, the New City was largely razed for the construction of a monumental avenue during World War II. Popular musicians protested, but 'progress' in the automobile age had a price. The area is now being rediscovered due to developments spurred by the 2016 Olympics. At another moment of transition, Porous City revisits this fascinating metropolis.
Brazil, the most racially diverse Latin American country, is also the most contradictory: for centuries it has maintained fantasy as reality through the myth of racial democracy. Enshrined in that mythology is the masking of exclusionism that strategically displaces and marginalizes Afro-Brazilians from political power. In this absorbing new study, Niyi Afolabi exposes the tensions between the official position on racial harmony and the reality of marginalization experienced by Afro-Brazilians by exploring Afro-Brazilian cultural production as a considered response to this exclusion. The author examines major contributions in music, history, literature, film, and popular culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to reveal how each performance by an Afro-Brazilian artist addresses issues of identity and racism through a variety of veils that entertain, ridicule, invoke, provoke, protest, and demand change at the same time. Raising cogent questions such as the vital role of Afro-Brazilians in the making of Brazilian national identity; the representation of Brazilian women as hapless, exploited, and abandoned; the erosion of the influence of black movements due to fragmentation and internal disharmony; and the portrayal of Afro-Brazilians on the national screen as domestics, Afolabi provides insightful, nuanced analyses that tease out the complexities of the dilemma in their appropriate historical, political, and social contexts. Niyi Afolabi teaches Luso-Brazilian, Yoruba, and African Diaspora studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese as well as the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
F. Marion Crawford was a prolific American author. He is well known for his many mysterious and weird fiction novels.
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