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Between heritage and reinvention: conflicts around indigenous labor in the province of Pará in the context of the Americas (1832-35)

Grant number: 18/20661-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2019
Effective date (End): June 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - History of Brazil
Principal Investigator:André Roberto de Arruda Machado
Grantee:André Roberto de Arruda Machado
Host Investigator: Neil Franklin Safier
Host Institution: Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (EFLCH). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Guarulhos. Guarulhos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Brown University, United States  


The goal of this research is to analyze the modes of employment of indigenous labor in the province of Pará, between the years of 1832 and 1835, verifying the nature of the conflicts resulting from the forced labor of those free populations. The hypothesis of this research is that, even with no legal backing from 1831 on, indigenous compulsory labor continued to be used in the province. It is believed that this was an important fuse, although not exclusive, to the deflagration of the Cabanagem revolt, in 1835. Cabanagem was a civil war that took place in Grão-Pará, between 1835 and 1840, in which it is estimated there were more than thirty thousand deaths in a total population of around 150 thousand inhabitants in the province.Broadly speaking, the importance of this research lies in questioning the idea that the use of indigenous labor through compulsory mechanisms was just a manifestation of a decadent colonial heritage. Conversely, my hypothesis is that compulsory forms of labor in the 19th century, including the ones that were imposed upon to the indigenous populations in Pará, are a reinvention of the emerging National States. Here the intention is to break away from an excessively regional or national perspective of the problem: it is believed that the conflicts around the indigenous labor in Pará are placed within a wider context of attempts of controlling workers in the 19th century, as verified throughout the Americas. To reach this continental perspective of investigation, the period of research abroad will be fundamental. Our mission will be based in John Carter Brown Library (JCB), at Brown University (USA), one of the most recognized research centers, frequently accessed by Latin-American researchers. The JCB Library has a documental and, mainly, bibliographical collection about indigenous matters with coverage over all Americas, that cannot be reached in Brazilian institutions. In an integrated way, we will participate in the seminars promoted by Weatherhead Initiative on Global History, in Harvard University (USA), with special interest in the debate about the so called "Global Labor History". Specifically about Grão-Pará, the main sources are the documents found in the Public Archives of Pará, totally digitalized and available for this researcher from a previous investigation. (AU)

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