Synopses & Reviews
White Negritude analyzes the discourse of mestiçagem (mestizaje, métissage, or "mixing") in Brazil. Focused on Gilberto Freyre's sociology of plantation relations, it interrogates the relation of power to writing and canon formation, and the emergence of an exclusionary, ethnographic discourse that situates itself as the gatekeeper of African "survivals" in decline. Taking Freyre's master/slave paradigm as a point of departure for theorizing a particular form of racial and authorial impostery, this book analyzes the construction of race and raced writing in Brazil in relation to U.S. identity politics and Caribbean "mestizo projects."
"Isfahani-Hammond has made a very significant scholarly contribution to the vast and complex field of comparative racial discourse in the Americas. Riffing on Norman Mailer's notion of the 'White Negro,' she explores the interesting and troubling ways in which white patrician intellectuals have positioned themselves as uniquely endowed to speak about and for black people in post-plantation societies. While her focus is squarely on Brazil and its architects of national identity, like statesman Joaquim Nabuco, sociologist Gilberto Freyre, and poet Jorge de Lima, her scope is resolutely transnational, engaging texts and contexts from the English, French, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and from the southern US."
--Christopher Dunn, Associate Professor and Chair of Brazilian Literary and Cultural Studies, Tulane University
"Brazilian literary discourses of mestizaje include a paradoxical and insidious convention: the claim that socially 'white' authors can best speak as 'black' Brazilians, because only they can claim to be disinterested and balanced in their representation of Afro-Brazilian life. White Negritude traces this discourse through its acme in Gilberto Freyre, the fountainhead of Brazilian racial ideology, to its consequences for socially 'black' authors as a bizarre Catch-22 that charges them to hold their tongues in the name of authenticity."
--Dain Borges, Associate Professor of History, The University of Chicago
"A comparative perspective that addresses the realities of race, racialization and writing in North-South, post-emancipated national contexts such as Brazil, the Carribbean, and the United States."
--Luso-Brazilian Review, Jossianna Arroyo, University of Texas-Austin
This book looks at the relationship of literary criticism to the social construction of race in Brazil. Isfahani-Hammond considers Gilberto Freyre's model of master/slave synthesis and examines what "multiculturalism" means after the turn of the century.
About the Author
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California. She is the editor of The Masters and the Slaves: Plantation Relations and Mestizaje in American Imaginaries (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).
Table of Contents
Vanishing Primitives: An Introduction * Poetry and the Plantation: Jorge de Lima's White Authorship in a Caribbean Perspective * White Man in the Tropics: Authorship and Atmospheric Blackness in Gilberto Freyre * Joaquim Nabuco: Abolitionism and Erasure in the Americas * From the Plantation Manor to the Sociologist's Study: Democracy, Lusotropicalism, and the Scene of Writing