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The Spectacle of the Races: Scientists, Institutions, and the Race Question in Brazil, 1870-1930

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From Library Journal

The important issues of race and miscegenation in Brazil have been of interest to scholars for many years. Schwarcz (anthropology, Univ. of Sao Paulo) here examines turn-of-the-century Brazilian scientific views on race. After discussing the prevalent 19th-century European ideas of human evolution that condemned miscegenation, Schwarcz looks at the reaction of Brazilian scientists to those ideas. She suggests that though they accepted the fundamentals of the racist theories of the day, they discarded those ideas that condemned the racial mixture so prevalent in Brazil. Schwarcz's revisionist work rejects the accepted view that 19th-century Brazilian scientists merely borrowed European theories. She suggests that instead they adapted foreign ideas, keeping those theories that appeared to have application in Brazil and rejecting those that were problematic. Of value for libraries with Latin American and multicultural collections.AMark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, UT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Schwarcz’s book creatively examines the prominent role that the idea of race has played in the development of Brazil’s scientific and historical institutions. It introduces this fascinating history to a wider American readership, and it contributes enormously to the historiography of Brazilian thought and institutions. It will be of great interest to specialists and non-specialists alike."- Melissa Nobles, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Hill and Wang (September 8, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809087898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809087891
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #580,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This is a very nice review of Race relations in 19th century Brazil, that I read in Portuguese when launched down here in 1993. The author has captured the nature of racial relations in Brazil through a multidiscplinar view. The subject by itself is fascinating and Ms. Schwarcz did a very good job. Although conventional wisdom says that there is no such a thing as a racial problem in Brazil, Ms. Schwarcz shows that this is the careful result of an ideological construct designed to mask huge problems enrooted in Brazil's story. As she shows, in 19th century Brazil's racial relations were close to an "apartheid" regime, similar to the one that existed until recently in South Africa.
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