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The term mulatto in compared perspective: skin color classifications between Mariana and Luanda (18th century)

Grant number: 21/08899-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2021
Effective date (End): July 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Modern and Contemporary History
Principal researcher:Aldair Carlos Rodrigues
Grantee:Gabriel Antonio Bomfim Seghetto
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


This project proposes an investigation of the political and social meanings of the skin color classification mulatto in the 18th century. It will focus on two Portuguese colonial cities: Luanda (in Angola) and Mariana (in Minas Gerais). The two cities were, respectivelly, an important port where enslaved were shipped to Minas Gerais and one of the main final destinies of the captives in that Brazilian captaincy. By the implementation of the comparative history method, this research will attempt to grasp the similarities, differences and potential dialogues between the ethnic/racial ideas of each place. The analysis of the social constructions about the mulattoes will be done under the light of the occupation of overseas territories added to the Portuguese empire. The following types of historical sources will be utilized: baptism registers, notarized last wills, population maps, travel journals and letters. The investigation will extract, from those documents, the many uses of the word mulatto as it was employed in the sociocultural contexts they were produced. By comparing the definitions of mulatto established in the aforementioned realities, it will be possible to understand the continuities and discontinuities in the ethnic/racial concepts of the Portuguese overseas spaces. Also, it will allow a discussion about the shifting reality of the populations from each territory.

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