assignment 5 race in brazil - Anthro 200 Revised December...

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Revised December 5, 2007 Anthro 200 Assignment 5 Sjorslev’s Analysis of Race in Brazil Inger Sjorslev uses the Grammars of Identity/Alterity to analyze the issue of race in Brazil. She suggests that, in Brazil, different combinations of grammars intersect throughout various aspects of society. Sjorslev’s main point is that all three Grammars of Identity/Alterity can coexist in a society. In particular, Sjorslev analyzes the negative impacts of encompassment and orientalism, and the positive impact of segmentation in Brazil. In the past, Brazilian racial politics have been celebrated as an unproblematic “mixture of races.” However, in the late nineteenth century, the racist ideology of “whitening” was prevalent in Brazil. This was the concept, embraced by the white upper class, that over time blacks would be “thinned out” through intermarriage resulting in a “light brown” Brazilian race. This can be viewed as “encompassment in a most extreme and literal form” (Sjorslev 80). Similarly, the grammar of orientalism, and the concepts of “us” (Portuguese and Western colonizers) and “them” (blacks, slaves, and Indians) were undoubtedly present in Brazil. Today, Sjorslev explains, Brazil, although touted for its “racial mixing,” is still very polarized (82). There are decidedly concrete “others” in the social structure. These
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assignment 5 race in brazil - Anthro 200 Revised December...

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