Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Grinberg on a 19th-century Afro-Brazilian jurist

A Black Jurist in a Slave Society: Antonio Pereira Rebouças and the Trials of Brazilian Citizenship by Keila Grinberg (Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro) is now available in English translation by Kristin M. McGuire and with a Foreword by Barbara Weinstein. From the publisher, UNC Press:
A Black Jurist in a Slave Society
Now in English for the first time, Keila Grinberg's compelling study of the nineteenth-century jurist Antonio Pereira Rebouças (1798–1880) traces the life of an Afro-Brazilian intellectual who rose from a humble background to play a key--and conflicted--role as Brazilians struggled to define citizenship and understand racial politics. One of the most prominent specialists in civil law of his time, Rebouças explained why blacks fought stridently for their own inclusion in society but also complicitly embraced an ethic of silence on race more broadly. Grinberg argues that while this silence was crucial for defining spaces of social mobility and respectability regardless of race, it was also stifling, and played an important role in quelling political mobilization based on racial identity.
Rebouças’s commitment to liberal ideals also exemplifies the contradiction he embodied: though he rejected movements that were grounded in racial political mobilization, he was consistently treated as potentially dangerous for the single fact that he was of African origin. Grinberg demonstrates how Rebouças’s life and career—encompassing such themes as racial politics and identities, slavery and racism, and imperfect citizenship—are central for our understanding of Atlantic slave and post-abolition societies.
 Praise for the book:

“Through Rebouças’s remarkable biography, recounted in lively prose and intriguing detail, Keila Grinberg offers a compelling, comprehensive, and empirical reinterpretation of the political and intellectual history of nineteenth-century Brazil. A monumental study of the social history of the law in Brazil and among the most important on nineteenth-century Brazil more broadly. Required reading.” - Sueann Caulfield

“Organized around the life and career of a genuinely remarkable individual, this is a fascinating examination of race, slavery, the law, and nation building, and a pathbreaking work on Brazil's nineteenth century.” - Barbara Weinstein

Further information is available here.