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Winner of the 2018 Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Brazil Section Book Prize In 1982, the Brazilian Air Force arrived on the Alcântara peninsula to build a state-of-the-art satellite launch facility. They displaced some 1,500 Afro-Brazilians from coastal land to inadequate inland villages, leaving many more threatened with displacement. Completed in 1990, this vast undertaking in one of Brazil’s poorest regions has provoked decades of conflict and controversy. Constellations of Inequality tells this story of technological aspiration and the stark dynamics of inequality it laid bare. Sean T. Mitchell analyzes conflicts over land, ethnoracial identity, mobilization among descendants of escaped slaves, military-civilian competition in the launch program, and international intrigue. Throughout, he illuminates Brazil’s changing politics of inequality and examines how such inequality is made, reproduced, and challenged. How people conceptualize and act on the unequal conditions in which they find themselves, he shows, is as much a cultural and historical matter as a material one. Deftly broadening our understanding of race, technology, development, and political consciousness on local, national, and global levels, Constellations of Inequality paints a portrait of contemporary Brazil that will interest a broad spectrum of readers.
In 2016, Brazil's elected president was removed from office under a flimsy anti-corruption pretext, to a significant degree by men facing serious and provable corruption charges. As the new unelected government moved to dismantle social and environmental protections, many commentators in Brazil and abroad perversely cheered the strength of Brazil's democracy and its fight against corruption. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand these surreal and tragic events and the many forms of resistance to them. Through deftly contextualized, highly engaging interviews of political actors and intellectuals from across the Brazilian left, the book provides a crucial vantage on the new forms of anti-democratic power and democratic resistance that are emerging not only in Brazil, but also elsewhere. - Sean T. Mitchell, Rutgers-Newark University, Author of "Constellations of Inequality: Space, Race and Utopia in Brazil"
In Never Meant to Survive, Costa Vargas presents a historical, political, and social assessment of anti-black genocide and liberatory struggles to resist it. Through examination of two cities linked by common experiences of Blackness, Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro, the book identifies anti-black genocide as a prevailing force in organizing individuals and groups across society. Costa Vargas approaches his analysis of anti-black genocide in these cities through discussion of past conflicts and the work of groups like the Black Panther Party.
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