Deep Roots: Cultural Narrative Through Music in Brazil

Friday, February 6, 2015
9:00am – 10:15am
Rechler Conference Room 202, Lavin-Bernick Center (LBC)
Moderated by: Dr. Daniel Sharp, Department of Music, Tulane University

Songs for freedom: identidade racial e cidadania no Brasil (1884-1889)
Manuela Costa, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

Propomos trazer algumas reflexões sobre participação política de afrodescendentes nos processos da abolição da escravidão e do pós-abolição no Brasil, por meio da análise da trajetória de militância abolicionista do músico Manoel Tranquilino Bastos. As experiências vivenciadas por esse músico de ascendência africana nos permitem pensar em outras possibilidades de lutas políticas e culturais entre os anos de 1884 e 1889. A música foi extremamente importante para a inserção de músicos afrodescendentes nos debates e nas lutas pela cidadania, afirmação racial e inclusão social, que marcaram esse período. As composições de Tranquilino Bastos tornaram-se símbolos da libertação dos escravos e ainda são lembradas nas comemorações da abolição da escravidão no Brasil, podendo ser entendidas como uma opção profundamente ligada às estratégias específicas de luta dos afrodescendentes. Para tanto, recorreremos ao conceito de “cultura política” a fim de resgatar as ações políticas de novos atores, ampliar e renovar as percepções sobre direitos, afirmação racial, cidadania e participação política. Entendemos que a atuação de pessoas comuns – jornalistas, músicos, operários, libertos, “homens livres de cor” e escravos – foi essencial nos processos da abolição e do pós-abolição. O trabalho a ser apresentado se insere exatamente neste contexto, por perseguir a trajetória de um homem comum, propaganda, música e abolicionismo, ampliando a compreensão sobre as lutas políticas e raciais na história social do Brasil.

Negritude Mestiça e fronteiras identitárias: a mestiçagem como vetor da negritude na música popular
Kywza Joana Fideles Pereira dos Santos, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

A miscigenação no século XIX foi abordada no Brasil sob a influência do racialismo científico e do Iluminismo, com foco nas ambivalências do caráter da miscigenação, ou seja, tanto no viés da degradação da raça quanto no sentido de branqueamento e purificação. Na primeira metade do século XX, ainda em meio a essa ambivalência, o conceito de mestiçagem passa a figurar um projeto populista de identidade nacional, e, principalmente, depois dos escritos de Gilberto Freyre, com a celebração da mestiçagem. É preciso salientar que, a mestiçagem brasileira opera num sentido paradoxal, a celebração e a negação. Dentro dela há uma escala determinante que dita os lugares e papéis sociais, a cor, ou melhor, as nuances dessa cor. No Brasil, o campo das disputas simbólicas em torno das identidades encontrou sua tradução mais fiel na música popular. Nesta perspectiva, destacaremos seu papel na consolidação e subversão da ideia de mestiçagem. A música popular será um grande nicho de disputas, ausências e permanências das identidades racializadas. Ora a mestiçagem será acionada como valorização da cultura e/ou celebração da identidade nacional, ora como afirmação estética ou como crítica à conjuntura de pretensão democrática. Nesse sentido, tentarei, a partir da música popular, vislumbrar as diversas práticas discursivas em torno da mestiçagem através de três intérpretes (e compositores), que têm suas canções marcadas pelos discursos de mestiçagem: Clara Nunes, Martinho da Vila e Gilberto Gil. Desse modo, abordaremos os entrelaçamentos identitários, problematizando questões em torno das concepções de raça, classe e identidade e suas ressignificações no contexto da sociedade de consumo. Nesse contexto, abordaremos os diálogos diaspóricos, através de acionamentos temáticos, que constituem e delineiam os processos culturais transnacionais e trans-étnicos. Para tanto, utilizaremos a obra de artistas situados no nicho do mainstream que extrapolam os entrelaçamentos conceituais, discursivos e poéticos, tensionando as fronteiras identitárias.

“Jequibau – música e identidade paulista”

Daniel Vilela, Universidade Federal do Paraná

Diversos foram os fatores e as investidas ao longo da história brasileira que alçaram o Samba à posição de expressão musical nacional de maior representatividade dentro de um rico quadro multicultural. Diante da valorização deliberada de um gênero em detrimento das músicas locais, manifestações regionais acabaram desestimuladas e passaram a depender de iniciativas pontuais para sobreviverem. Outras, ao apresentarem inovações à vertente musical afro-brasileira que tem por principal expoente o Samba, tiveram que atravessar as desconfianças naturais do público e da crítica conservadora. A Bossa Nova, por exemplo, enfrentou os argumentos mais nacionalistas e xenófobos que a acusavam de promover a americanização da música brasileira, para posteriormente galgar seu espaço definitivo enquanto gênero. No entanto, nem todas as manifestações musicais atingiram o mesmo êxito bossanovista ao proporem inovações à tradição historicamente construída. Este é o caso do Jequibau. Gênero criado por Mário Albanese e Cyro Pereira em meados da década de sessenta, na cidade de São Paulo, o Jequibau se constrói em um compasso quinário (de cinco tempos) que se soma ao típico “balanço” da música brasileira. Contudo, sua divulgação foi prejudicada por um contexto político e social conturbados, pela difícil inserção da música essencialmente instrumental e de caráter inovador na indústria midiática e pelas inevitáveis comparações ao Samba e à Bossa Nova, que geraram as alcunhas de “Samba em Cinco” e “Bossa em Cinco” e lhe atribuíram papel secundário em pesquisas, sendo que meu mestrado é o primeiro a se dedicar exclusivamente ao estudo deste tema. O fato é que o Jequibau surgiu da necessidade, enxergada por seus criadores, de uma expressão musical paulistana que traduzisse e sintetizasse a pluralidade que é a marca da cosmopolita São Paulo. Assim, este trabalho se dedica a refletir acerca de como as características desta cidade são identificadas no gênero, que hoje possui sua data celebrada anualmente em 13 de Agosto.

Struggles for Place: Citizenship and Inclusion Among Migrant Communities

Saturday, February 7, 2015
10:00am – 11:15am
Jones Hall 102
Moderated by: Dr. Jimmy Huck, Stone Center for Latin American Studies, Tulane University

Paths and Obstacles to Cosmopolitan Solidarity Among Excluded Immigrant Workers in Rural Tennessee
Tristan Call, Vanderbilt University

Dispossessed Latin American migrants are among the most recent wave of immigrant and refugee workers to fill ‘precarious’ jobs in rural Tennessee, where they have joined African American and white workers in the fields, slaughterhouses, and factories that employ precarious labor in the South and set the diminishing standards for working conditions throughout the region’s low-wage economy. Based on a year of ethnographic fieldwork in Tennessee laboring alongside migrant Latino farmworkers and embedded in a union organizing drive with Latino migrants in a rural sweatshop, I trace how the historical exclusions of farmworkers and formerly-incarcerated workers from basic labor protections in the US intersect with citizenship exclusions used to discipline undocumented workers, dividing and racializing the workforce and impeding broader solidarity. I also explore the tactics employers use to maintain divisions in the workforce, and ways that legal exclusion and the underfunding and deregulation of state agencies negatively impact workers’ health and family lives. Finally, I outline the difficulties these workers face as they reach out to potential allies and mainstream ‘business’ unions in their attempts to organize, and suggest paths forward for multilingual and multiethnic solidarity in the rural South.

Immokalee Farm workers and their Social Crisis on Education and Health
Mary Cano, University of Miami

As the immigration movement has gained momentum over the years, many have been the impacts it has had on both authorized and unauthorized immigrants and their families. This paper examines factors that have led to human right violations on adequate health care and proper education in Immokalee, Florida; a town that has always been under the shadows due to its high unauthorized immigrant population has not been shy of the effects the lack of immigration reform has caused. I will build on the knowledge of the factors that have shaped this situation. In particular, I explore how the role of the anti-immigrant sentiment has enabled an environment for human right violations, with particular consequences for issues such as education and health and how its effects on the farm workers in Immokalee. This paper exposes a larger context on the systematic violations of human and labor rights towards one of the most vulnerable segments of the population. I focus on labor market changes, political aspects and the role of the media. Methodologically, this work combines a historical perspective on immigration policy influencing immigrants with field observation research and the use of a wide range of sources of analysis and data. I adhere to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights according to which, access to both health and education are considered to be fundamental human rights. In a town where human rights in education and health seem to be violated, these issues have seen themselves compromised according to the Articles stated in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. The issues discussed not only present a human rights problem but also a social justice problem. In Immokalee, the absence of legal rights has made this undocumented population exposed to exploitation, crime and social problems including those relating to health and education.

A Legacy of Resistance: The Spatial Politics of Barrio Logan’s Built Environment

Manuel Guadalupe Galaviz, University of Texas at Austin

Barrio Logan, City of San Diego, California is one of many Mexican-American communities that suffered the detrimental impacts of displacement via the construction of both the Coronado Bay Bridge and California’s Interstate-five freeway in 1967. Since the establishment of Chicano Park in 1970 and the initial painting of the Chicano Park murals in 1973, Barrio Logan experienced a social-cultural transformation that positioned Barrio Logan and Chicano Park as a space of political and cultural liberation within the Chicana/o social-spatial imaginary. Barrio Logan’s legacy as a cultural and political space that generates social capital stems from a contentious history including racial segregation, environmental injustices, and capital driven industrial maritime development under the auspices of San Diego City planners, The California Department of Transportation, and The U.S. Navy. In order to establish a clear understanding of the political economy of this US-Mexico borderlands, global port, and militarized Mexican-American neighborhood, my paper examines how Barrio Logan’s residents, artists, and activists negotiate spatial transformations and conflicts, and how their negotiations are articulated in oral narratives and visual artistic Chicana/o representations of the barrio built environment. I examine themes of race, urban development, and place making to explore the sentiments Barrio Logan cultural workers foster towards ideas of cultural citizenship, ethnic identity, and environmental justice.

Interrogating Gender: Traditions and Opportunities in the Framing of Women’s Identities

Saturday, February 7, 2015
11:30am – 12:45pm
Greenleaf Conference Room, Jones Hall 100A
Moderated by: Dr. Supriya Nair, Department of English, Tulane University

Poto Mitan or Helpless Victim: An Analysis of Women’s Representation in Haitian Proverbs
Rachel Denney, University of Kansas

This work examines competing notions of Haitian female identity as reflected through Haitian proverbs. Using a postcolonial feminist framework, this research analyzes entries from one of the world’s largest collection of Creole proverbs to understand how gender norms are both constructed and reinforced. These proverbs present a complex picture of female identities and gender relations in Haiti, in which women appear as entrepreneurs, partners, and caregivers, experiencing and eliciting the full range of human emotion. In doing so, they contradict the stereotypical “victim narrative” of Haitian women that permeates the underlying ideology of much humanitarian assistance, as well as undermine simplistic notions about women’s strength and resiliency. This project builds on literature that examines the social construction of identity through content and rhetorical analysis.

Ancient Maya Women’s Identity: An Analysis of Costume in Pre-Columbian Maya Art
Elizabeth Haughey, Tulane University

Ancient Maya textiles were made of natural wool or cotton that was dyed with natural vegetal dyes and woven by women on a backstrap loom. Evidence for these practices can be found in ancient Maya depictions of the act of weaving (often performed by the goddess Ixchel, or Goddesses O and I), as well as Jaina Island figurines and more. While some of the methods of textile production have changed throughout time, others have largely remained the same. Evidence from the Conquest period suggests that some Pre-conquest elements in Maya costume were also retained in 19th century women’s garments and beyond. Specific designs and colors in Guatemalan textiles today can often be linked to certain towns or regions of the country, especially the woman’s huipil (blouse) and corte (skirt) (both elements that originated in ancient times), and serve to provide the wearer with a sense of identity; not only Maya identity, but a specific identity tied to birth town or town of residence. Though little evidence exists that specifically links the Post-Classic Maya period to the period of the Spanish conquest, it may be true that the element of regional identifiability in textiles has persisted since ancient times. Ancient Maya women’s costumes may be seen worn on prominent Maya women, such as Lady Xok of Yaxchilan, Lady Rabbit of Bonampak, Lady Night of Piedras Negras, and others. These ladies can be found on a variety of ancient Maya art, including painted pottery, carved stone lintels and stelae, three-dimensional figurines, and the Maya codices, from sites such as Yaxchilan, Bonampak, and Motul de San José. Analysis of such depictions of women’s costume in Pre-Columbian Maya art can be employed to discover the ways in which the Pre-Columbian Maya may have distinguished regional identity.

(Sup)Plantation Narratives: Reading Andrea Levy’s The Long Song as a Textual and Sexual Revision of The History of Mary Prince

Laura Mellem, Tulane University

This paper examines a contemporary novel, Andrea Levy’s The Long Song (2010), alongside a prominent historical text describing the experiences of an enslaved woman in the West Indies, The History of Mary Prince, originally published in 1831. In depicting the sexual encounters of enslaved women–coerced, for pleasure, and for economic or legal gain–in Jamaica in the period between the abolition of the slave trade and full emancipation (1807-1838), I argue that Levy’s novel especially responds to the deliberate silencing of aspects of Mary Prince’s sexual experiences as an enslaved woman in the original slave narrative. Ultimately, Levy’s novel reveals what Prince’s testimony does not say, that sexuality was a central tenet of enslaved women’s lives and that they did with it what they could. Writing back to the public furor that erupted over Prince’s sexual omissions, moreover, Levy pieces together the claims made about Prince and reinvents a full story of her life, and other enslaved women’s lives. In doing so, she makes clear the contradictions inherent in the unrealistic Victorian demands being made of enslaved women, including the idealization of motherhood and the insistence on women’s chastity. Unapologetically portraying an enslaved woman’s rejection of her dark-skinned child and highlighting her relationships with men, both black and white, for economic gain, Levy disrupts the binary logic of “the woman card” in the debates between abolitionists and pro-slavery supporters. Instead, she portrays a complex female character who is neither simply victim nor concubine. Reading Levy’s The Long Song alongside The History of Mary Prince allows us to fill in the blanks deliberately left in Prince’s testimony, while also appreciating, perhaps even more, the boldness of Prince’s original work.