Racial Revolutions

Antiracism and Indian Resurgence in Brazil

Racial Revolutions

Latin America Otherwise

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Book Pages: 392 Illustrations: 46 b&w photos, 1 map, 3 figures Published: September 2001

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Latin American Studies > Brazil, Theory and Philosophy > Race and Indigeneity

Since the 1970s there has been a dramatic rise in the Indian population in Brazil as increasing numbers of pardos (individuals of mixed African, European, and indigenous descent) have chosen to identify themselves as Indians. In Racial Revolutions—the first book-length study of racial formation in Brazil that centers on Indianness—Jonathan W. Warren draws on extensive fieldwork and numerous interviews to illuminate the discursive and material forces responsible for this resurgence in the population.
The growing number of pardos who claim Indian identity represents a radical shift in the direction of Brazilian racial formation. For centuries, the predominant trend had been for Indians to shed tribal identities in favor of non-Indian ones. Warren argues that many factors—including the reduction of state-sponsored anti-Indian violence, intervention from the Catholic church, and shifts in anthropological thinking about ethnicity—have prompted a reversal of racial aspirations and reimaginings of Indianness. Challenging the current emphasis on blackness in Brazilian antiracist scholarship and activism, Warren demonstrates that Indians in Brazil recognize and oppose racism far more than any other ethnic group.
Racial Revolutions fills a number of voids in Latin American scholarship on the politics of race, cultural geography, ethnography, social movements, nation building, and state violence.

Designated a John Hope Franklin Center book by the John Hope Franklin Seminar Group on Race, Religion, and Globalization.


Racial Revolutions offers valuable lessons about 20th century indigenous populations in the Americas.” — Cathy Marie Ouellette , EIAL

“Jonathan W. Warren moves beyond an overly narrow, black and white conceptualization of Brazil’s racial politics by broadening the scope of scholarly attention to consider the contemporary struggles of Brazil’s self-identified Indians. . . . Racial Revolutions illuminates an understudied domain of contemporary Brazilian racial politics, making an important contribution to the literature on race in Brazil and to the more general comparative literature in this field.” — Mara Loveman , Contemporary Sociology

“Novel in its use of data and concepts, this book nicely bridges the anthropology of ethnicity, sociology of race, limits of liberation theology, and Brazilian history and culture. All levels and collections.” — D. B. Heath , Choice

“Since the 1970s, there has been a dramatic rise in the Indian population in Brazil as increasing numbers of pardos (individuals of mixed African, European, and indigenous decent) have chosen to identify themselves as Indian. This is the first book-length study of racial information in Brazil that centers on ‘Indianness.’” — Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

“Warren challenges scholars of race, ethnicity, and identity to ‘think outside the boxes’ of their traditional scholarly paradigms. . . . Warren breaks new ground. . . . [A]n eloquent and thoughtful analysis . . . . This work will be of interest to activists and scholars of identity, ethnicity, and race in Latin America and elsewhere. It is an eloquent book that has potential political as well as scholarly implications.” — Laura R. Graham , Journal of Anthropological Research

“Warren’s innovative study . . . promises to stir further discussion on racial identity and inequality in Brazil and comparative indigenous mobilization in the Americas. — Seth Garfield , H-Net Reviews

"Provocative. . . . Engaging. . . . Racial Revolutions provides valuable insight into a sector of Brazilian society that is too often ignored in scholarship on racial politics." — Tracy Devine Guzmán , Bulletin of Latin American Research

"In Warren, scholars will have access to stirring testimonies of abuse, resistance, and identity formation." — Todd A. Diacon , Ethnohistory

"Jonathan Warren has written a provocative, no-holds-barred appeal to incorporate Brazil's eastern Indians into scholarship about race and antiracist activism. . . . Racial Revolutions begins to fill a Brazilian void in the growing U.S.-produced anthropological literature about mixed-race peoples and their indigenous roots throughout Latin America. . . . A stimulating book, well suited for undergraduate teaching about race and ethnicity in Latin America." — Jan Hoffman French , Hispanic American Historical Review

Warren details a nuanced process of an Indian resurgence and antiracism. This book is a must for those studying Brazilian racial issues. Furthermore, scholars of indigenous communities, social movements, and those interested in ethnogenesis and racial formation in general would find this book of interest."
— Stanley R. Bailey , American Journal of Sociology

Racial Revolutions is a deeply thoughtful and highly accessible analysis of contemporary racism. Jonathan Warren combines a highly developed research design, a powerful synthesis of crucial modern and postmodern theoretical frameworks, and a strong commitment to racial justice. This book will have important influence, not only on anthropology and studies of race, but on our understandings of indigenous cultures and movements, on our view of Brazil, and on our understanding of ourselves.” — Howard Winant, author of The World is a Ghetto: Race and Democracy since World War II

“This is an original work that will be welcomed by all those interested in Brazil and in the Indian question in Latin America. Very well written, engaging, and successful in conveying the world and the voices of the actors, Racial Revolutions is indeed a pleasurable read.” — Leon Zamosc, University of California, San Diego


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Jonathan W. Warren is Associate Professor of International and Latin American Studies at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Illustrations


List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Maxakali Creation Story

1. Posttraditional Indians

2. Methodological Reflections

3. The State of Indian Exorcism

4. Racial Stocks and Brazilian Bonds

5. Prophetic Christianity, Indigenous Mobilization

6. The Common Sense of Racial Formation

7. Indian Judges

8. Contesting White Supremacy


Appendix A: Questionnaire, 1995-1997

Appendix B: Questionnaire, 1992-1994

Appendix C: Biographical Data of Indian Interviewees

Appendix D: Biographical Data of Non-Indian Interviewees





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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2741-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2731-8
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