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  • Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil

    Author(s):
    Pages: 304
    Illustrations: 11 b&w photographs, 4 tables
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $94.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-2260-3
  • Paperback: $26.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-2292-4
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  • Preface

    Acknowledgments

    Abbreviations

    The Hidden Hyphen

    Chinese Labor and the Debate over Ethnic Integration

    Constructing Ethnic Space

    Searching for a Hyphen

    Negotiations and New Identities

    Turning Japanese

    A Suggestive Epilogue

    Notes

    Bibliography

    Index
  • Winner, Brazil in Comparative Perspective section of Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Best Book Award

    Awards

  • Winner, Brazil in Comparative Perspective section of Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Best Book Award

  • “A rich, welcome addition to social history in the broadest sense. . . . [This study] convincingly demonstrates the ironic fact that immigration policies seeking to ‘whiten’ Brazil instead led to the creation of an immensely multi-cultural society. A major contribution.”—Robert M. Levine, author of The Brazilian Photographs of Genevieve Naylor, 1940-1942 — N/A

    “Clearly written and well organized, this book makes a major contribution to the field of Brazilian studies. An outstanding work.”—Leo Spitzer, Hotel Bolivia: The Culture of Memory in a Refuge from Nazism — N/A

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  • Description

    Despite great ethnic and racial diversity, ethnicity in Brazil is often portrayed as a matter of black or white, a distinction reinforced by the ruling elite’s efforts to craft the nation’s identity in its own image—white, Christian, and European. In Negotiating National Identity Jeffrey Lesser explores the crucial role ethnic minorities from China, Japan, North Africa, and the Middle East have played in constructing Brazil’s national identity, thereby challenging dominant notions of nationality and citizenship.
    Employing a cross-cultural approach, Lesser examines a variety of acculturating responses by minority groups, from insisting on their own whiteness to becoming ultra-nationalists and even entering secret societies that insisted Japan had won World War II. He discusses how various minority groups engaged in similar, and successful, strategies of integration even as they faced immense discrimination and prejudice. Some believed that their ethnic heritage was too high a price to pay for the “privilege” of being white and created alternative categories for themselves, such as Syrian-Lebanese, Japanese-Brazilian, and so on. By giving voice to the role ethnic minorities have played in weaving a broader definition of national identity, this book challenges the notion that elite discourse is hegemonic and provides the first comprehensive look at Brazilian worlds often ignored by scholars.
    Based on extensive research, Negotiating National Identity will be valuable to scholars and students in Brazilian and Latin American studies, as well as those in the fields of immigrant history, ethnic studies, and race relations.

    About The Author(s)

    Jeffrey Lesser is Professor of History and Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program at Emory University. His books include Welcoming the Undesirables: Brazil and the Jewish Question.

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