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The second era of abolition and ultramontanism in Brazil, 1866-1890

Grant number: 21/11521-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2022
Effective date (End): February 29, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - History of Brazil
Principal Investigator:Rafael de Bivar Marquese
Grantee:Roberta Angélica Quirino Pinto
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This project is a direct result of Scientific Initiation research financed by FAPESP and entitled The Canonization of Pedro Claver, the Catholic Church and the abolition of slavery (1864-1890). In it, we seek to investigate the responses of the Catholic Church to the slavery crisis in Brazil, as well as to understand what were the impulses for the institution to reinvent itself in the face of a series of anticlerical policies put in place with the strengthening of liberal governments in Europe and also in Brazil during the 19th century. From this initial investigative effort, we realize that the Roman Church tried to reposition itself as a political force in the liberal world through the rewriting of its past. The Catholic legitimacy given to African slavery from the 16th century on was one of the main factors for the strengthening of the transatlantic trafficking in people. From the second half of the 19th century, however, the Church's discourse turned to silence this past, rewriting it by presenting the institution as an ancient defender of the idea of freedom, as well as of the African populations themselves, especially with the continent opening itself to exploitation not only economically, but also as a potential space for Catholic catechization.This project intends to expand and test the initial hypotheses raised during Scientific Initiation, through the verticalization of the analysis in a specific and crucial source: the ultramontane Catholic newspaper O Apóstolo. It is the main media voice of the more conservative wings of the Brazilian clergy in the final decades of the 19th century, which preached a gradual process of abolition of slavery that would not shake the social order and would keep black men and women under the tutelage of the Church to be taught how to deal with their freedom and, above all, educated for salaried work. For this, a systematic investigation of the periodical is necessary from its inception, in 1866, until 1890, when Pope Leo XIII wrote the encyclical Catholicae Ecclesiae, through which the pontiff sought to highlight popes before him who would have condemned trafficking and slavery. This move by Leo XIII reaffirmed the Holy See's broad movement to rewrite its past in order to place itself in the liberal present and thus project a new future that showed Africa as a unique space for the expansion of Catholic faith and administration. In view of this, the research will also use other complementary sources to understand this turning point in the action of the Holy See, seeking to understand how the canonization of Pedro Claver was also a response to the changes that took place in the 1800s, as well as a symbol of importance, from the African continent to the Catholic missions.

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