What is the Black Atlantic? My Comparative Perspective

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2016-12-11 22:08Z by Steven

What is the Black Atlantic? My Comparative Perspective

Afro-Europe International Blog

Sibo Kano

Paul Gilroy’s Black Atlantic (1994) is a difficult read but it’s a very influential book. An author who builds further on Gilroy’s work and who writes very accessible books about blackness is Livio Sansone (professor of anthropology at the University of Bahia, Brazil). His book ‘Blackness Without Ethnicity’ (2003) was a very insightful read that I recommend to anyone interested in the subject. In this book he compares black Brazilian experience and cultural production with the African American experience (check this blog www.afrobrazilamerica.com on the difference between black US and black Brazil experiences). One of the chapters of the book even goes further and is based on his research among black youth in Amsterdam compared to black youth in Bahia and Rio. Generally Sansone has written interesting articles about blackness and Western Afro cultures (check this article) . Below I will give my understandings and perspectives on the Black Atlantic, as an inherent part of the broad social and cultural entity called ‘The West’.

There are black people living in all countries of the Americas, in Europe and of course in Africa. The history of all these black populations is interrelated and all in reference to their relation to white European culture. African nations are (unfortunately) a consequence of European history and international affairs. African elites have often Europe and European languages as a reference point for culture, knowledge and social emancipation. The same thing can be said in an even more thorough sense of Latin America. All these cultures, or at least its elites and urban populations are therefore according to me part of the same Western world.

But the black populations of these nations are not all the same, just as all these countries differ from each other although being interrelated in history. Black Brazilians experience race in a very different way than African Americans. Black Britons do not express their identity within the UK in the same way as Black French communities in France. Each country has its own dynamics, history, culture and identity. Still there is also much in common which is all centered around three elements: history, race and Africa…

Read the entire article here.

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Blackness Without Ethnicity: Constructing Race in Brazil

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2011-12-26 20:01Z by Steven

Blackness Without Ethnicity: Constructing Race in Brazil

Palgrave Macmillan
August 2003
256 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-312-29374-1, ISBN10: 0-312-29374-7
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-312-29375-8, ISBN10: 0-312-29375-5

Livio Sansone, Vice Director of Centro de Estudos Afro-Asiaticos
Universidade Candido Mendes in Brazil

Drawing on 15 years of research in Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Suriname, and the Netherlands, Livio Sansone explores the very different ways that race and ethnicity are constructed in Brazil and the rest of Latin America. He compares Latin American conceptions of race to US and European notions of race that are defined by clearly identifiable black-white ethnicities. Sansone argues that understanding more complex, ambiguous notions of culture and identity will expand international discourse on race and move it away from American definitions unable to describe racial difference. He also explores the effects of globalization on constructions of race.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: An Afro-Latin Paradox? Ambiguous Ethnic Lines, Sharp Class Divisions, and a Vital Black Culture
  • Negro Parents, Black Children: Work, Color, and Generational Differences
  • From Africa to Afro: Uses and Abuses of Africa in Brazil
  • The Local and Global in Today’s Afro-Bahia
  • Funk in Bahia and Rio: Local Versions of a Global Phenomena
  • The Internationalization of Black Culture: A Comparison of Lower-Class Youth in Brazil and the Netherlands
  • Conclusions: The Place of Brazil in the Black Atlantic
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