Edison Carneiro and Afro-Brazilian Cultural Activism

Summer 2011

Jamie Andreson : History

Mentor: Mark Healey, History

Throughout my 6 month journey through Brazil I will investigate and experience the conflicts of race relations in a different colonial and historical context. Since arriving in January, I have explored through personal travels and a 3.5 month UCEAP program in Salvador, Bahia studying the History and Culture of Afro-Brazilians. My SURF research focuses on the legacy of Sociologist Edison Carneiro, who worked as one of the first Afro-Brazilian Ethnographers to analyze the history and culture of African descended people in Brazil in the 1930-1950's. His academic, journalistic and activist work served in the Black Movement to recreate the historically negative and inferior image of black people upheld by the government, the academic and corporate elite. He worked with literary, artistic, cultural and theatrical activists, functioning in both formal and informal institutions to change the consciousness regarding the role of African influence in the construction of the Brazilian identity and culture.

This award gives me the opportunity to explore the racial conflicts and black activism more completely during my trip in Brazil. It gives me the freedom to travel to important institutions, centers of culture and activism, and collect relevant resources in this expansive and diverse nation. It also allows me to continue the work completely through my final year at Berkeley to culminate in a Senior Honors History Thesis. Personally, this topic helps me understand the issues of the African Diaspora and multiculturalism which applies to all countries in the Americas. It also opens the door for the possibility to return and construct a longer and more significant future here in Brazil.