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  • Acknowledgments  ix
    Introduction. Secrets, Silences, and Sexual Erasures in Brazilian Slavery and History  1
    1. The Racial and Sexual Paradoxes of Brazilian Slavery and National Identity  11
    2. Illegible Violence: The Rape and Sexual Abuse of Male Slaves  29
    3. The White Mistress and the Slave Woman: Seduction, Violence, and Exploitation  67
    4. Social Whiteness: Black Intraracial Violence and the Boundaries of Black Freedom  111
    5. O Diabo Preto (The Negro Devil): The Myth of the Black Homosexual Predator in the Age of Social Hygiene  149
    Afterword. Seeing the Unseen: The Life and Afterlives of Ch/Xica da Silva  187
    Notes  197
    Bibliography  227
    Index  249
  • "Revealing how Brazil's myth of racial democracy obscures the sexual exploitation and racialized violence of enslaved blacks by white, mixed, and even free black Brazilians, Lamonte Aidoo offers a groundbreaking and heartbreaking critique of how Brazilian racial fluidity originated in a system of white supremacy that dominates much of contemporary Brazilian life today. A daring and tremendously illuminating work." — Salamishah Tillet, author of, Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Imagination

    “Lamonte Aidoo's brilliant and original account of how notions of masculinity, gender, and sexuality in Brazilian literature are shaped by the legacy of slavery is compelling and leads to questions about how very much such submerged images form our own Anglophone worldview. An important book not only because it illuminates the impact of race in a lesser known literary culture but because it highlights many of our North American fantasies about race and sexual identity.” — Sander L. Gilman, coauthor of, Are Racists Crazy? How Prejudice, Racism, and Antisemitism Became Markers of Insanity

    Slavery Unseen offers a sophisticated interpretation of slavery and its legacy in Brazil in relation to sexual violence, racial terror, and antiblack social prejudice. Lamonte Aidoo engages a wide range of literary texts and other cultural artifacts in showing the central role of sexual violence—and the obscuring of this violence—in Brazil's racial formation. Along the way, he offers a magnificent rereading of the nineteenth-century Brazilian literary canon.” — Christopher Dunn, Tulane University

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  • Description

    In Slavery Unseen, Lamonte Aidoo upends the narrative of Brazil as a racial democracy, showing how the myth of racial democracy elides the history of sexual violence, patriarchal terror, and exploitation of slaves. Drawing on sources ranging from inquisition trial documents to travel accounts and literature, Aidoo demonstrates how interracial and same-sex sexual violence operated as a key mechanism of the production and perpetuation of slavery as well as racial and gender inequality. The myth of racial democracy, Aidoo contends, does not stem from or reflect racial progress; rather, it is an antiblack apparatus that upholds and protects the heteronormative white patriarchy throughout Brazil's past and on into the present.

    About The Author(s)

    Lamonte Aidoo is Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Romance Studies at Duke University and the coeditor of Emerging Dialogues on Machado de Assis and Lima Barreto: New Critical Perspectives.
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