Strong and Many Faiths: Edison Carneiro before and during Military Rule in Brazil, 1930s70s

Saturday, January 5, 2019: 1:50 PM
Wabash Room (Palmer House Hilton)
Marc Hertzman, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
For the Afro-Brazilian intellectual and activist Edison Carneiro (1912-1972), “loyalty” evoked a complex and intimate set of relationships, challenges, and paradoxes related to race, gender, class, nation, party, ideology, and academic discipline. Scholars have previously drawn attention to his relationship with the white U.S. anthropologist Ruth Landes, commenting on both their intellectual connections, personal relations, and the color lines that both crossed, all of which tugged at personal and public allegiances. Others have discussed Carneiro’s connections to intellectuals in Peru, Cuba, and the U.S., placing him within the web of scholars that connected Melville Herskovits, for example, to Fernando Ortiz. Members of that web alternately cited, exchanged work with, and ignored Carneiro; several obstructed Landes’ career and ridiculed the work of Carneiro’s own father, Antonio Joaquim de Souza Carneiro. This paper details these relationships and explores what they can tell us about Brazilian, Latin American, and Inter-American history. I also introduce new material with two main goals in mind. First, I hope to complicate some of the more one-dimensional depictions of Carneiro’s loyalties. Second, I would also like to expand the conversation, which often focuses on his most productive intellectual years (roughly the mid-1930s to the early 1960s), to the last years of his life, when he remained doggedly loyal to some of his most cherished beliefs and alliances, even under the watchful eye and harassment of the military dictatorship that took power in 1964. During those last, fraught years Carneiro publicly denounced US imperialism in the region, voiced solidarity with Cuba, and though unable to publish as he once had, found other inventive ways to express his deepest convictions and remain faithful to his life’s work.