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.
The residents of Caxambu, a squatter neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, live in a state of insecurity as they face urban violence. Living with Insecurity in a Brazilian Favela examines how inequality, racism, drug trafficking, police brutality, and gang activities affect the daily lives of the people of Caxambu. Some Brazilians see these communities, known as favelas, as centers of drug trafficking that exist beyond the control of the state and threaten the rest of the city. For other Brazilians, favelas are symbols of economic inequality and racial exclusion. Ben Penglase's ethnography goes beyond these perspectives to look at how the people of Caxambu themselves experience violence.
San Antonio, City for a King takes us on an extraordinary adventure through an amazingly unknown, yet expectantly fitting, piece of Texas' origins. We learn how 16 families from Iberia's Canary Islands answered their monarch's call to populate a desolate northeast area of his New Spain for a strategic political reason. There was the year-long journey: crossing the Atlantic and then trekking north over present-day Mexico to Bejar. We see how these people initiated the township of San Fernando, guided its growth for generations and helped form many Texas traditions. And we follow their descendants through the town's evolution, through two rebellions, three changes of patriotism and one name change...to San Antonio.
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