University of São Paulo: USP publication debates culture and society in independent Brazil

On September 7, 2022 Brazil completes its bicentennial of Independence. In these two centuries of history, political and cultural movements have shaped the country’s society and culture. To discuss aspects of this trajectory, USP launched the Bicentennial of Independence dossier.

The dossier includes the latest issue of Revista USP and is the second of a tetralogy being produced by the University’s Social Communication Superintendence, as Jurandir Renovato, editor-in-chief, commented.

“The idea was to take advantage of the Independence bicentennial not only to commemorate a date and a distant episode in the country’s history, but mainly to reflect, in many ways, on how we got here, and thus follow the paths (and detours) of our political emancipation, its motivations and historical circumstances, as well as its subsequent implications, all from four thematic axes”, said Renovato, explaining part of the publication’s editorial, written by him.

The edition brings reflections that range from the modernist movement in its cultural form and expression, to the impacts of the context on the way intellectuals thought about Brazil, as explored by the vice-rector of USP, professor and sociologist Maria Arminda do Nascimento Arruda, in the text of magazine opening.

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Jurandir Renovato, editor-in-chief of Revista USP – Photo: USP Imagens
Intellectual thoughts are also in the text written by Mário Augusto Medeiros da Silva, sociologist and professor at the Department of Sociology at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp).

In A Brazilian black social thought, after the 1930s , Mário analyzes the production of important Brazilian black intellectuals, such as Abdias do Nascimento, Beatriz Nascimento and Lélia Gonzalez. The authors’ production currently “has served as an inspiration and theoretical reference for debates on the genocide of the black population and police violence; land rights and quilombola population; or even to debate black feminism and the struggle of black women, on the basis of racism and sexism that shape us as a society”, said the professor in an interview with Ciclo22.

Its text, as the publication suggests, in addition to the social theme, explores the cultural aspects related to Independence. Therefore, the professor highlighted the relationship between black intellectuals and art.

“The arts and written communication play a fundamental role in the experience of fighting for the rights of the black Brazilian population. The Black Press, Black Literature, Black Theater, the visual arts (by black painters from the end of the 19th century), black music and dance make up a panorama of affirmation of civil, social and political rights”, he highlighted.

The importance of debating production, said the professor, is to preserve a social memory that racism tries to erase. “Part of the anti-racist struggle and the struggle for equal rights for women, blacks, indigenous peoples, disabled people, the poor, homosexuals, etc. have to do with the struggle for social memory. Recover references from the past, insert them in a public and national narrative, question the bases of dominant power and rewrite possibilities for the present time, aiming at a better, more diverse and egalitarian collective future”, he said.

In addition to this issue and the first one, which analyzed the economic topics of the Bicentennial , the Bicentennial of Independence will feature the themes of Politics and Science and Technology . “Each one of these dossiers was coordinated by a renowned intellectual/professor. The current number, for example, was coordinated by the vice-rector of USP”, explained Renovato.

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