How Brazilian Romantics helped create a nation

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How did Brazil create a national identity? That’s the topic of an upcoming talk by political science Professor Bernardo Ricupero of the University of São Paulo in Brazil on Wednesday.

The talk, “Romanticism and the Invention of Brazil: A Case of Nation Building?” will take place Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 2:30 to 4:30pm, at 519 York Research Tower, Keele campus. Everyone is welcome to attend this free lecture. Refreshments will be served.

Bernardo RicuperoLeft: Bernardo Ricupero

Ricupero will discuss how in Brazil, like other Latin American countries, the creation of a national identity was a deliberate effort. To establish a nation, Brazilian Romantics engaged in a program aimed at cultural independence, creating a historiography and a literature of their own.

The nation’s image, which emerges from Romanticism, emphasizes unity and miscegenation as Brazil’s main characteristics, he says. On the other hand, a substantial proportion of the country’s population in the 19th century was made up of slaves, who could not possibly be considered as a part of the nation.

But there were strong limits to the idea of the nation that Brazilian Romantics were able to establish, says Ricupero. It was only after the 1930 revolution and Gilberto Freyre’s seminal intellectual work that Brazilians of African origin began to be incorporated in a certain image of the nation. More recently, what was called “racial democracy” has been under strong attack by both intellectuals and militants.

The talk is presented by the Brazil Chair and the Brazilian Studies Seminar and sponsored by the Consulate General of Brazil.