Graduate Student Apoliana da Conceição Research Project Update

Contributed by Apoliana da Conceição


MA 23 Apoliana de Conceição dos Santos
Apoliana da Conceição

How does literature represent society? Our lives? An era? To what extent is the depiction accurate? There is no better way to answer these questions than analyzing what we already have available as great written literature. In this case, we talk about the novel Mulatto by Aluísio Azevedo, written in 1881; it shows the complex dynamics of race in Brazil during the pre-abolition era. It serves as a window into the perceptions of race both then and now, raising questions about how Brazilian society has historically battle with racial identity. Set seven years prior to the abolition of slavery and the establishment of the first republic, Mulatto follows Raimundo’s journey—a young Brazilian wrestling with his mixed heritage and liberal ideals in the face of a provincial and bigoted society. Examining XIX century Brazil through the lens of Mulatto allows for an understanding of contemporary race relations in XXI century Brazil. What are the differences and similarities? Despite temporal and social shifts, parallels can be drawn between the racial dynamics depicted in the novel and those present in modern Brazil. By exploring the historical context of race in Brazil and its representation in literature, we gain insights into the continuity and evolution of racial perceptions and inequalities over time. A comparative analysis of past and present reveals the enduring complexities of race in Brazilian society, highlighting the importance of addressing historical legacies and contemporary challenges in understanding racial views in Brazil and how and why the assimilation of the predominant U.S. view of race impacts today’s Brazilian society.