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Legalizing Identities: Becoming Black or Indian in Brazil's Northeast 1st Edition

3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807859513
ISBN-10: 0807859516
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Jan French's excellent study pushes forward the challenge to traditional distinctions between blackness and indigeneity in new and challenging ways. . . . A great and intriguing book, which is required reading for people interested in racial and ethnic identities in Latin America.--Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute



"Analyzes a fascinating case of identity transformation in Brazil's Northeast. . . . Provides a nuanced account of how new conditions of possibility for collective action can transform identity formations.--Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology



The content is rich in detail and the narrative extremely well written, keeping the reader constantly engaged in the intricate nature of the events that culminated in the 'ethnogenesis' of the Xoco Indians and the quilombolas of Mocambo. . . . Required reading not just for people interested in the formation and transformation of racial and ethnic identities in Latin America, but also for anyone interested in the impact of state multiculturalism.--Social Identities



For years, scholars have argued that racial and ethnic identities are constructed, but few have explored that process as well as Jan Hoffman French. . . . [An] important book. . . . The study's many strengths derive from Hoffman French's use of the methods and sources of cultural anthropology and social history.--The Americas



Incisively engages definitional and legal questions concerning identity and indigeneity, which lie actually at the forefront of cultural anthropology today. . . . French's findings are perceptive, organized, and cast in fine-tuned prose.--Choice



A painstakingly detailed account of the making of new ethnicities and of what in Brazil has been called "neocommunities" in rural Brazil, where both indio-ness and negritude are contested icons undergoing a process of re-signification--from onus to bonus, from liability to asset.--American Ethnologist

Review

Legalizing Identities is an extremely well-written, empirically rich, and sophisticated analysis of 'ethnogenesis' in Northeastern Brazil. It will be an appealing book for courses taught on race/ethnicity, Indianness, Blackness, law and society, and Latin American studies.--Jonathan W. Warren, University of Washington



Legalizing Identities details the complex and contingent histories through which residents of two towns who were not in fact very different from each other came to be legally recognized as indigenous (the Xoco) and black (the quilombo). This powerful and historically rich ethnography speaks to issues of race, ethnicity, identity, inequality, and law, and does so in a way that is both analytically compelling and engaging to read.--Susan Bibler Coutin, University of California, Irvine

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807859516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807859513
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #932,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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This book was not all I expected it to be. It does the job of detailing certain indigenous groups in Brazil fighting for their rights and the respect of their ancestral legacies, but the book does not astound me. I did enjoy it in the end.
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Format: Paperback
I must admit this book had me asking more questions and receiving few answers the further I read. However, French bravely, though a bit clumsily, offers insight into a modern issue that many may not have realized was going on. As she fumbles with the thesis she is trying to get across a great discussion can be had on morality of the Brazilian government. As my professor says "This book is great because it sucks" We have very interesting and helpful banter on French's behalf. In the end that does make for a worth while book.
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Format: Paperback
Legalizing identities "Becoming Black or Indian in Brazil's Northwest" is an ethnography on a extremely interesting subject. The book sets out to show just how complicated defining identity is for many living in Brazil. Going through Brazil's history, the author shows how a number of cultures throughout the centuries have influenced brazil. Along with these foreign cultures, Brazil has had a plethora of native people that have intermingled overtime. This book shows how these interactions throughout time have shaped modern day issues surrounding identity for many people in Brazil.The author Jan Hoffman French does a good job using a variety of details on the history between natives and the colonists. However, sometimes I believe her questions did lead to more questions that were sometimes not answered. Still, the amount of background information French gives in this book is quite extensive. This makes me think that she had to spend a lot of time researching. Overall, the book reveals the complex issue of identity and how it relates to so many people in Brazil today.
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