Legalizing Identities: Becoming Black or Indian in Brazil's Northeast
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French argues that the invocation of laws by these related communities led to the emergence of two different identities: one indigenous (Xoco Indian) and the other quilombo (descendants of a fugitive African slave community). With the help of the Catholic Church, government officials, lawyers, anthropologists, and activists, each community won government recognition and land rights, and displaced elite landowners. This was accomplished even though anthropologists called upon to assess the validity of their claims recognized that their identities were "constructed." The positive outcome of their claims demonstrates that authenticity is not a prerequisite for identity. French draws from this insight a more sweeping conclusion that, far from being evidence of inauthenticity, processes of construction form the basis of all identities and may have important consequences for social justice.
Media Type: Paperback
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Publication Date: 06-01-2009
Product Dimensions: 9.10h x 6.00w x 0.90d
French, Jan Hoffman: - Jan Hoffman French is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Richmond. Before becoming an anthropologist, she practiced law.