African-Brazilian Culture and Regional Identity in Bahia, Brazil

African-Brazilian Culture and Regional Identity in Bahia, Brazil

Scott Ickes

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9780813044781

Publisher: University Press of Florida

Abstract

A close study of six major public religious festivals, including carnival, African-Brazilian Culture and Regional Identity in Bahia, Brazil, explores the cultural politics of regional identity in the state of Bahia in northeast Brazil. The author shows how, after 1930, the festivals provided a platform for African-Bahians and their allies to re-formulate Bahian regional identity to allow for a greater degree of cultural inclusion for Bahians of African descent. The book emphasizes the agency of African-Bahians as samba, capoeira, and Candomblé ritual were performed during the festivals and describes how politicians, journalists, song writers, and public intellectuals came to celebrate African-Bahian culture as a defining feature of what it meant to be Bahian. The nature of this cultural inclusion, however, was such that, although it was an improvement on the prejudice and persecution of the 1920s, it led to very little, if any, improvement in the political and economic position of working-class people of African descent. As such, the book explores the possibilities and limitations of cross-class alliances based around cultural inclusion in a specific historical setting and the potential of cultural politics for the social inclusion of people of African descent in multi-racial, multi-cultural communities within Brazil and the African diaspora.