Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Sociology

First Advisor

Kathryn Sampeck


The arts have been a refuge from perpetual repression and omission, and, a platform for social activism for Afro-descendants in the Americas. In Brazil this is very much the case. With performance serving as a social barometer or a looking glass, dance becomes a source of cultural knowledge, acts as preservative, and negotiates individual mobility within a given context. The Afro-Brazilian dance company, Cia de Dança Daniel Amaro in Pelotas, Brazil grants its members a means of activism and agency to challenge entrenched national narratives and reinterpret local social memory.

Most academic writings about dance or performance in Brazil, focus on samba, associated with Carnival, and capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art form. These styles have been typed as models of inherent “Brazilianness.” However, exclusory valuations based in Eurocentric standardization and perpetuated stereotypes concerning Afro members has precluded the Black Brazilian and African inspired works in canonical reviews and discussions of Brazilianness. These divisive practices correspond to the historical complexities of Brazilian socio-metropolitical ordering. This thesis questions the lack of Afro-Brazilian representation in formative Brazilian national identity. Focusing on the intentional political discontinuation of African heritage, this thesis addresses the effects of such by reviewing the experience of Afro-Brazilians over time and, contemporaneously, in Pelotas. This thesis posits dance as a communal (re)interpreter and recognizes performance as a means of to challenge the status quo.

This thesis examines Afro-Dance and performance in Pelotas, Rio Grande Do Sul, Brazil. In African diasporic literature, the south of Brazil is a lesser emphasized region due to a higher concentration of Brazilians of European descendant. To be discussed in this thesis are the themes of blackness, historical erasure, and the repercussions of time-old, in most cases, divisive narratives and the effects of these on identity and social memory.


Imported from Brown_ilstu_0092N_11814.pdf


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