The Center for Historical Research (CHR) in association with the OSU Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability (IDEA) will present a two-year program of lectures and seminars in 2019-21 on the problems facing contemporary global democracy. There are concerns that democracy, whatever form it may take, is under stress around the world. This CHR-IDEA series will examine what is meant by democracy in various regions and countries, how these meanings are changing, and the extent to which democracy is changing and/or under sustained and serious attack. Leading scholars from a variety of disciplines began to address those issues last year in a series that will run through Spring 2021.
For several generations a prominent feature of Brazil’s national identity and international reputation has been the notion that the nation is a racial democracy, or a society free of racial discrimination. However, the concept of racial democracy typically has been framed and studied as a social reality or myth, not as a way to understand Brazilian constructs of political democracy. This talk will analyze the emergence of racial democracy in Brazil from 1930 to 1945, focusing on the manner in which the state, blacks, and actors on the left and the right emphasized racial characteristics to advocate for competing visions of political democracy. The talk also will touch upon a few ways that the rhetoric and policies of President Jair Bolsonaro, the so-called “Trump of the Tropics,” continue to resonate with the original formulations of this nationalist ideal in the debates about Brazilian democracy today.
Information about her book, “Shifting the Meaning of Democracy: Race, Politics, and Culture in the United States and Brazil” is available here.