Winner, First Place
My research focuses on the efforts of a dance company to reinsert and centralize Afro-Brazilian experiences within contemporary social life and historical narratives of the city of Pelotas, Brazil. My research foregrounds the collateral of the historical disenfranchisement of Afro-Brazilians. It also underscores race/skin color as hazardously germane to definitions of “Brazilianness.” What I have also shown in my thesis, is that, through performance and community activism, dancers are able to actively challenge national and societal inscriptions and prescriptions meant to confine the Black body/mind. This image, taken during a performance titled “Dança dos Orixás”, embodies the visceral and kinetic nature of social change. My hope is that my research will contribute to and expand attention to Afro-Brazilian identity and performance arts within the literature on African diaspora, dance anthropology, and biopolitics.