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Myths around Brazilian Racism: A View through the Lens of Black Feminist Theory

Third Berlin Southern Theory Lecture with Brazilian Philosopher Djamila Ribeiro on December 9, 2021

№ 247/2021 from Dec 08, 2021

Myths around Brazilian racism and how they are viewed through the lens of Black feminist theory will be addressed in a lecture by the Brazilian philosopher Djamila Ribeiro on December 9, 2021. Djamila Ribeiro is a public intellectual, writer, philosopher, a social justice activist, and one of the most influential voices in the Afro-Brazilian women's rights movement. The online lecture is part of the Berlin Southern Theory Lecture series. It is organized by Freie Universität Berlin and the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient. Access to the online event is free of charge.

The lecture will be moderated by Kristina Mashimi, a social and cultural anthropologist at Freie Universität Berlin, and Kai Kresse, a professor of social and cultural anthropology at Freie Universität and deputy director of the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient. Juliana Streva from the research project “Beyond social cohesion – Global repertoires of living together (RePLITO)” at the Institute for Latin American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin will be a discussant. RePLITO is funded by the Berlin University Alliance. In her work Juliana Streva has long been dealing with feminist positions in Latin America, aspects of identity politics, and anti-racist and decolonial movements.

A so-called “theory of racial democracy” was exported from Brazil to several international academic centers. Racial democracy is a belief that in Brazil there was a transcendence of racial conflicts, with a harmonious coexistence between whites, blacks, and indigenous people. In her lecture Djamila Ribeiro aims to show how Brazilian Black feminists as well as other thinkers dismantled this theory and opposed the myth of racial democracy. She will focus on a consideration of the “mulata” as a social group as well as theoretical and critical considerations in relation to the figure of the Black Mother, which is deeply rooted in colonial history. Based on the confrontation with these myths, the aim of the lecture is to reflect on the historical tradition of struggle and critical production by Brazilian Black feminists.

Djamila Ribeiro holds a degree in philosophy and political philosophy from the Federal University in São Paulo. She is also a visiting professor at the department of journalism at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo and a fellow at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. She was awarded the 2019 Prince Claus Prize, granted by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and was considered by the BBC as one of the 100 most influential women in the world. In 2020, she won the Jabuti Prize, the most important in the Brazilian literary world. In 2021, she was the first Brazilian to be honored by the BET Awards.

The Berlin Southern Theory Lecture, which has been held annually since 2019,  focuses on contributions to epistemology from the Global South. Its initiators aim to contribute to a global exchange of knowledge and reveal postcolonial asymmetries by increasing the variety of theoretical debates in the social sciences and humanities. The first lecture was given in December 2019 by Felwine Sarr from Senegal. It was held in the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin-Dahlem. In 2020 the Indian historian Prathama Banerjee spoke – due to the pandemic – to a large (online) audience. The lecture series is organized by the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin and the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient in cooperation with the Forschungscampus Dahlem and co2libri, with support from the Berlin Center for Global Engagement within the Berlin University Alliance (BUA).

Time and Venue:

More Information and Interview Requests

Krstina Mashimi, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: + 49 30 838 62892; Email: kristina.mashimi@fu-berlin.de