The iconic women of Brazilian history are rebellious, strong, and bold. They intimidate the men and women around them and stand in the face of societal norms. They defy not only gendered expectations, but those of their race, class, region and nation. This project sets out to understand how these iconic women—nonfictional and literary, Brazilian-born and foreign—have been represented throughout Brazilian history. Why have Brazilian journalists, artists, writers, and social movements drawn upon these particular women as symbols of Brazilian nationality at different historical moments and to what effect? Why is it, specifically, women that are being conjured to instigate discussions of the Brazilian colony, Empire, or nation in the face of colonialism, imperialism, dictatorship, and/or globalization? How and why have the narratives around them changed over time?
This project is still in its initial phase. It began as a simple list of women that might serve as lenses through which we can study the intersection between women, representation, race, nation, and historical memory. An undergraduate research assistant, Rebecca Sefton, created a historiography and identified primary and secondary sources for research. This blog provides a space to reflect on the research and writing processes and, hopefully, to receive feedback from other scholars and history readers.
About the researchers
Dr. Courtney J. Campbell is Lecturer of Latin American History at the University of Birmingham. Her research focuses on social and cultural histories of modern Brazil. She is currently completing her first book titled Region Out of Place: The Brazilian Northeast and the World (1924-1968). Among other publications, she has published articles in Past & Present, Slavery & Abolition, and The Luso-Brazilian Review. For questions about this project, please feel free to engage with the blog posts in comments or email here.
Ms. Rebecca Sefton is an undergraduate student in History and Political Science at the University of Birmingham, with particular interest in global history.