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Christian Missionaries in the Brazilian Amazon

Grant number: 00/02718-6
Support Opportunities:Research Projects - Thematic Grants
Duration: August 01, 2001 - February 28, 2007
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Paula Montero
Grantee:Paula Montero
Host Institution: Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento (CEBRAP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The aim of this research is to identify the symbols and social values that orient the presence and practice of the catholic religion missions in the Brazilian Amazon. We intend to analyse and understand the strategies and mechanisms of these contemporary missions that, in our hypothesis, constitute one of the most important agents of cultural contact and ideological and political mediation in the context of the complex relations between the indigenous people and the Brazilian national society. Among the fundamental themes that are present in our investigation is the deconstruction and problematization of the category of religious conversion, and also the cultural dynamic that is immanent in the missionary activity. Activity that, in turn, acts upon the culture of the "other" through its information or, at least, in the reinterpretation of the meanings that it contains. The main axis of this research is a meticulous investigation of the Salesian missions in Brazilian Amazon - as in Mato Grosso as well -, the missionaries of the Consolata Order, and about the Cimi (Conselho Indigenista Missionário), the Catholic Ind. Missionary Council indigenous populations. An important contrast to this axis of research will be a series of individual researchers that will study a) the Ordem Menor Capuchinha at the period of the Empire and beginning of the Republic era in Brazilian history; b) the action of the protestant missions at the Oiapoque region (Amapa state); and c) the catholic missions in Mozambique. The questions of this research will then act in a double perspective: a) on a local dimension, we will study the specific mechanisms of the social interaction between Indians and mediators (the missionaries); b) on a global dimension, we will deal with the ideology, politics and the social representations that make the contemporary mission a feasible experience. (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa FAPESP Magazine about the research grant:
The Invention of Brasilian Indians 
La invención de los indios en Brasil 
Articles published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the research grant:
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