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Mobility and tensions: freedom experiences of afrodecendents in São Paulo (1880-1900)

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Yarace Morena Boregas e Rego
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Maria Cristina Cortez Wissenbach; Elena Pajaro Peres; Ana Flávia Magalhães Pinto; Salomão Jovino da Silva
Advisor: Maria Cristina Cortez Wissenbach

Freedom experiences and mobility of destitute and semi poor Afro-descendants in São Paulo (1880-1900: period immediately preceding the abolition through the initial postabolition period) were often viewed as acts of \"disorder\", \"disturbance\" and \"vagrancy\" by police authorities. These repressive forces were committed to the interests of local political and economic elites, both at the end of the Empire and at the beginning of the Republic of Brazil. While diving into the social tensions of the abolitionist period, we identified a context of social vulnerability and generalized violence towards Afro-descendants, specially to those individuals that sought to liberate themselves from slavery. However, while brushing history against the grain, we access a specific gaze interested in the internal meanings of these experiences. Actually, we verify black women and men of diverse regions bringing forth numerous mobilization strategies as well as survival tactics. The analyzed sources (police memorandums and urban surveillance reports) informs us about acts of resistance and affirmation of this population. Through multifaceted struggles and fierce negotiations for their rights they strained to build their citizenship autonomously, based on their own specific cultural standards. This included constant displacements, as well as the search for labor relations regulated by customary notions of reciprocity. Often, they did not work more than necessary for their subsistence either. Thus, this also expanded their possibilities of autonomy. These manifestations can be translated as a rejection of social control attempts that had the objective of restricting the experience of Afro-descendants, while seeking to turn them into merely passive individuals fit only to become cheap labor supply. Clearly, projects that sought to implement a notion of modernity oriented by racism and hygienist doctrines (hegemonic concepts in the scientific pantheon of that epoch) were forced to negotiate with supposed defiances such as \"vagrancy\" and / or \"loitering\" \"drunkenness\". The persecution of certain patterns of sociability and \"gatherings\" motivated by \"forbidden games,\" \"dances\" and/or \"batuques festive and/or religious practices are rubrics that testify to such dispute. Finally, we place our object in relation to the premises of the historical agency. More specifically, this study unfolds in the light of the historiographic debates about continuities in freedom experiences as a building block in the construction of a possible citizenship of the enslaved/ex-enslaved. We also refer to the theories about the structural implications that the presence of Central Africans imprinted on the Afro-American social and cultural formation in general, and the Brazilian southeast in particular. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 15/15320-6 - Street riots in the city of São Paulo: territorialities and movements in the routine of africans and afro descendants (1880-1900)
Grantee:Yaracê Morena Boregas e Rêgo
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Master