• From Fanatics to Folk: Brazilian Millenarianism and Popular Culture

    Pages: 288
    Illustrations: 27 b&w photos, 2 maps
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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  • List of Illustrations ix

    Acknowledgments xi

    Introduction 1

    1 The World Turned Upside Down: The Origins of the Canudos, Contestado, and Juazeiro Movements 15

    2 The Povo Make a Saint 37

    3 The Coronel and the Beato 67

    4 “Work Like You’re Going to Live Forever and Pray Like You’re Going to Die Today” 97

    5 Pedro Batista “Moves On” and the King Attempts to Claim the Throne 135

    6 A Romaria Se Acabou (The Romaria Is Over) 153

    7 Constituting the Romeiros into “Traditional” Folk 185

    Conclusion 225

    Postscript 233

    Notes 235

    Bibliograaphy 251

    Index 263
  • No one has written to any significant extent on Pedro Batista before this book, and Patricia R. Pessar’s detailed explanation of what has become of Batista’s movement following his death is fascinating. Her interdisciplinary use of history, anthropology, and political science is exemplary.”—Paul J. Vanderwood, author of The Power of God against the Guns of Government: Religious Upheaval in Mexico at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century — N/A

    “From Fanatics to Folk is a remarkable study of a Brazilian millenarian movement that—because of the extended time-frame and combination of fieldwork and archival research—blends the best features of historical and anthropological interpretation. Patricia R. Pessar is attentive to the ways in which the state, the political sphere, and the institutional church influenced the course of the movement. At the same time, she never loses sight of the role of religious beliefs and personal interactions.”—Barbara Weinstein, author of For Social Peace in Brazil: Industrialists and the Remaking of the Working Class in São Paulo, 1920–1964 — N/A

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  • Description

    From Fanatics to Folk rejects conventional understandings of Brazilian millenarianism as exceptional and self-defeating. Considering millenarianism over the long sweep of Brazilian history, Patricia R. Pessar shows it to have been both dominant discourse and popular culture—at different times the inspiration for colonial conquest, for backlanders’ resistance to a modernizing church and state, and for the nostalgic appropriation by today’s elites in pursuit of “traditional” folklore and “authentic” expressions of faith. Pessar focuses on Santa Brígida, a Northeast Brazilian millenarian movement begun in the 1930s. She examines the movement from its founding by Pedro Batista—initially disparaged as a charlatan by the backland elite and later celebrated as a modernizer, patriot, and benefactor—through the contemporary struggles of its followers to maintain their transgressive religious beliefs in the face of increased attention from politicians, clergy, journalists, filmmakers, researchers, and museum curators.

    Pessar combines cultural history spanning the colonial period to the present; comparative case studies of the Canudos, Contestado, Juazeiro, and Santa Brígida movements; and three decades of ethnographic research in the Brazilian Northeast. Highlighting the involvement of a broad range of individuals and institutions, the cross-fertilization between movements, contestation and accommodation vis-à-vis the church and state, and matters of spirituality and faith, From Fanatics to Folk reveals Brazilian millenarianism as long-enduring and constantly in flux.

    About The Author(s)

    Patricia R. Pessar is Professor of American Studies and Anthropology at Yale University. She is the author of A Visa for a Dream: Dominicans in the United States and a coauthor of Between Two Islands: Dominican International Migration.

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