Postcolonial Shadings: A Roundtable Discussion of Barbara Weinstein’s The Color of Modernity: Making Race and Nation in Modern Brazil
Conference on Latin American History 39
Florencia E. Mallon, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Maria Lígia Coelho Prado, University of Sao Paulo
Mary Kay Vaughan, University of Maryland at College Park
Barbara Weinstein, New York University
Newly published by Duke University Press, Barbara Weinstein’s The Color of Modernity is easily the year’s most eagerly awaited title in the field of Brazilian history. But it is a good deal more than that: an intervention in the larger literatures on identify formation, regionalism, nationalism, and uneven economic development in Latin America; an engagement with postcolonial theory and accounts of the postcolonial condition in other world regions flecked with theoretical refinements all its own; and the latest in a series of contributions to the historical profession that have included three further books, dozens of articles and essays, and the mentoring of scores of graduate students. On its own, then, the book’s release would more than justify a roundtable discussion that would attract the interest of a large number of AHA members.
This roundtable, however, aims to go further. It brings together scholars from various geographic subfields who have followed the development of The Color of Modernity and its principle arguments over the last two decades. During those years, two of the panel participants researched and wrote monographs of their own in dialogue with those arguments. Two other panelists have been among Professor Weinstein’s closest colleagues going back to the 1970s, which will allow them to comment on the place of her latest, critically awaited work amid the longer trajectory of her intellectual biography, in Brazil and in the United States. Altogether, the geographic subfields represented in the panelists’ published and ongoing work include Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Argentina, and the United States. Professor Weinstein has agreed to join the panel and to comment upon the other panelists’ comments, criticisms, and questions. The roundtable has been further designed to encourage a maximum of discussion between and among panelists and the considerable number of conference attendees that the panel will attract.