Seminars

  • Founded
    1976
  • Seminar Number
    557

Recently completed field studies and research from primary sources on Brazil constitute the main interest of this seminar. Brazilian, the U.S. and other visiting scholars participate, contributing their interpretations of recent events. Portuguese may be spoken whenever convenient.


Co-Chairs
Professor Diana Brown
dbrown@bard.edu

Professor John F. Collins
john.collins@qc.cuny.edu

Professor Sidney M. Greenfield
sidneygreenfield@gmail.com

Professor Vania Penha-Lopes
vania_penha-lopes@bloomfield.edu 

Rapporteur
Bruna Credidio Camara
bruna.credidio@columbia.edu


All seminars will meet over Zoom for the 2020-2021 academic year. Meeting links provided upon RSVP. Meeting dates and times are subject to change. 

Meeting Schedule

09/17/2020 Online Meeting
7:00 PM
Five years on from Zika to COVID -– mothers share their stories: A Film, An Updating on Effects of COVID, and a Discussion
Parry Scott, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (Brazil)
Abstract

Abstract

Since the Zika virus hit the headlines in 2015, thousands of children and their families in Brazil were affected and have been living with the consequences, such as the intense daily care, therapies and treatments needed, ever since. Five mothers whose lives have been completely changed as a result of the impact of the Zika virus on their children share their stories of strength, survival and love in a series of short films they have written, co-produced and co-directed in the context of a four-year study being done by Anthropologists from the FAGES Study Group on Family, Gender and Sexuality of the Federal university of Pernambuco. [You will find a link to the film at the end of the abstract. Please try to view the 35-minute film prior to the seminar. We will assume that you have by Sept. 17 when the seminar begins.]

The film highlights how disease outbreaks, like Zika as well as Covid-19, not only have enormous impact on individual families but also expose and are shaped by the inequalities - economic, social, health and more - in which they emerge. Now, in 2020, in the context of Covid-19, there are increased challenges for caring responsibilities and facing economic hardships. The Zika epidemic and the COVID pandemic have fallen hardest on women and the poor and vulnerable communities. What is the capacity of families and communities to respond to these challenges and what may be learned from the Government response from health to housing, education and social protection?

With the film as a starting reference point, the discussion will be focussed on consequences for families for health services and for health and medical research in and beyond Brazil and the formation of different care domains built around the Zika Syndrome children.

Link to the film: Doing Ethnography on Care: Women tell their stories
(Etnografando cuidados: mulheres contam suas histórias)

https://vimeo.com/407994903
or
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pP-08eAakKM





10/15/2020 Online Meetnig
7:00 PM
COVID-19 and the perceptions of Brazil’s indigenous peoples
Maria de Lourdes Beldi de Alcântara, Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil)
Abstract

Abstract

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO), all indigenous peoples have the right to free health care. Brazil is a signature to all relevant United Nations’ protocols. The problem is that Brazil’s present government headed by President Jair Bolsonaro refuses to recognize the distinct status of the country’s indigenous populations preferring instead to treat them as just one more group within Brazil’s diverse national society. This clearly violates both the letter and the spirit of the UN protocols. After summarizing the impact of COVID-19 on Brazil’s indigenous peoples the focus will turn to the Dorados reservation in Mato Grosso do Sul. The question to be addressed, given the present coronavirus pandemic, therefore will be: Who may the indigenous peoples of Brazil, and specifically those on the Dorados reservation, enter into dialogue with so as to have what they rightly believe is there due implemented?





11/19/2020 Online Meetnig
7:00 PM
Democracy and Representation in a Favela in São Paulo
Karina Biondi, Universidade Estadual do Maranhão (Brazil)
Abstract

Abstract

This presentation analyzes distinct, and perhaps complementary, modes of “democracy.” It follows the case of an electoral campaign in São Paulo, during which a candidate for city council visited a favela. Accompanied by a community leader, he met with a leader of local “criminals” in order to discuss his candidacy. The criminal in question was responsible for the hegemony of the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC) in that neighborhood. The PCC, identified by security specialists as a powerful transnational criminal group, arose in São Paulo’s prisons during the beginning of the 1990s as a means for prisoners to unite in the face of what they dubbed “state oppression.” In ensuing decades, under the banner of “Peace, Justice, Liberty and Equality,” the PCC has become a way of life through which people orient themselves in a type of ordering of existence. Yet the political candidate did not understand much about this seemingly peculiar means of holding and being oneself in the world, and he spoke to the criminals in relation to a representative democracy. Meanwhile, the criminals sought to interpret what the politician said in terms of their own means of producing knowledge of the world. According to this worldview, no one may speak or act in the name of another or in the place of another. Instead, what people do is “run alongside one another” in a search for the realization of their objectives. The ethnographer, who witnessed the conversation made note of a series of responses that failed to fit with questions elaborated, interpretations that failed to connect, and a certain communicative difficulty that seemed unfit for supporting a coherent dialogue. This paper argues that what was in play that day were two very different ideas of democracy and representation.





Notes: Presentation will be in Portuguese.
12/17/2020 Online Meetnig
7:00 PM
Racism and Antiracism from a comparative perspective
Júlio César de Tavares, Federal Fluminense University (Brazil)
Abstract

Abstract

In these last years we have seen an explosion of demonstrations throughout the Americas, Europe, and even in Asia. All are struggles against supremacist sentiments and politics that are trying to dominate contemporary governments. This “Ebony Spring” characterizes the uprising of black people confronting hundreds of years of racism, eugenics, anti-black terror, inhumanity, and large rates of incarcerations. Many analyses locate this persecution of blacks as a factor of the Modern Era. However, we find considerable evidence to show that peoples of color have been judged by the color of their skin for much longer than we had thought. In this presentation I trace this mindset from the time of the Iberian colonization of the Western Hemisphere, emphasizing that race and racialization, in particular as it concerns anti-negro racism, have a hidden proto-history that has continued from its beginnings in the sixteenth century and might be part of our cognitive understandings up to the present.





01/21/2021 Online Meeting
7:00 PM
Resisting Dispossession: Ownership and the Retaking of Indigenous Lands in Brazil
Jeremy M. Campbell, Roger Williams University
Abstract

Abstract

Taking Munduruku and beiradeiro community efforts to demarcate their lands along the Tapajós River (Pará) as its point of departure, this presentation explores the prospects for a decolonized concept of ownership in Amazonia. While making territorial claims that hold juridical force in Brazil has been historically important for “povos tradicionais,” contemporary crises warrant a reexamination of whether engaging the terms and territorial policies of the state is worthwhile. These reflections are based on ethnographic engagements with communities' decades-long efforts to demarcate their own territories in the face of incessant invasion, state inaction, and racist/genocidal positions of senior leadership within Brazil. Concepts and lines of analysis from the literature of decolonization put Indigenous territorial practices in new relief, revealing a generative space between “terra é nossa” and “terra é nós.”





02/18/2021 Online Meeting
7:00 PM
Fading shadows: Religious Borders and the Power of Transformation?
Vânia Zikán Cardoso, Federal University of Santa Catarina (Brazil)
Abstract

Abstract

Drawing on several anthropological scenes from an Afro-Brazilian religious center in the suburbs of the city of Rio de Janeiro, this presentation turns to the “shadowy” (Crapanzano, 2006) dimensions of such practices. By addressing the uncertainty of ritual, the unstable choreography of rituals that invoke the presence of the povo da rua, entities who preside over limen and chaos (Turner, 1987), it seeks to distance ethnography from the equation of knowledge to transparency, dwelling instead on what Édouard Glissant (1997) would call its opacity. Inspired by what Jose Carlos dos Anjos refers to as the political philosophy (2008) of Afro-Brazilian religious practices, it seeks to explore uncertainty and instability - of explanation, of ritual, of life - as the creative principle that animates such religious practices in the scenery of contemporary Brazil, and that might also animate a certain mode of doing ethnography.





03/18/2021 Online Meeting
7:00 PM
Media, Researchers, and Communities Past and Future
Anthony Seeger,
Abstract

Abstract

This presentation will discuss the importance of archiving and digital migration for scholars, local communities, and future scholarship and social movements as well as the proactive use of video by the Suyá/Kĩsêdjê Indians in Mato Grosso. Regarding recordings, in a few years it will be impossible to play or copy most analog audio and videotape recordings from the 20th century that have not been digitized. Vast amounts of music, stories, interviews, and other materials will be lost if they are not digitized soon. Digital formats aren’t in much better shape: rapidly changing formats and proprietary platforms render late 20th and early 21st century recordings extremely difficult to play and copy after a decade or two. Is it ethical to fail to make your research recordings available to the people/families/communities you recorded, and to future scholars? What will happen to Indigenous recordings of their own lives? I will discuss the use video materials made by the Suyá/Kĩsêdjê Indians and examine the





04/15/2020 Online Meeting
7:00 PM

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05/20/2021 Online Meeting
7:00 PM

Livio Sansone,