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Images of black childhood: a study of representations in the visual culture of the Empire and early Republic

Grant number: 19/09788-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2019
Effective date (End): March 16, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Lilia Katri Moritz Schwarcz
Grantee:Marilia Bueno de Araujo Ariza
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The present study intends to investigate the symbolic construction of black childhood in the Empire and initial decades of the Republic, considering the intersections between childhood, slavery and race in visual representations and assuming that these images are elements that propose and articulate ways of seeing and signifying childhood under specific historical conditions. It draws on anthropology's theoretical approach to notions of childhood in different cultural contexts, as well as on this discipline's reflections on the methodological uses and cultural meanings of images, which underlies the understanding of visual culture as a field of imbrications between visuality and society. The general aim of the project is to understand how these children were perceived and represented in the context of society's progressive espousal of modern notions of childhood. Based on social markers that designated white, masculine and bourgeois children as its ideal, these notions raised childhood to a place of unprecedented symbolic importance in Brazilian society, whilst coexisting with other infancies touched by slavery and its implications in post-abolition. Considering that black children could be perceived as the "Other" side of this dominant child model, the project proposes to investigate the aesthetic construction of social difference based on infancy and its representations. (AU)

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