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3rd Berlin Southern Theory Lecture - 2021 - Djamila Ribeiro

3rd Berlin Southern Theory Lecture - 2021 - Djamila Ribeiro

3rd Berlin Southern Theory Lecture - 2021 - Djamila Ribeiro


Djamila Ribeiro
(Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paolo - Brazil)

 'Myths around Brazilian Racism: A View through the Lens of Black Feminist Theory'



Date: 9th December 2021, 5pm (Berlin, GMT+01:00)
Venue: Online via Webex

Welcome, Introduction & Moderation: Kai Kresse (ZMO | FU) and Kristina Mashimi (FU)

Discussant: Juliana Streva (FU)


This lecture examines how Black intellectuals opposed founding myths of Brazilian society. Our interest will be to identify how Brazilian Black feminists, such as Lélia González, Sueli Carneiro, as well as other thinkers such as Abdias do Nascimento and Kabengele Munanga dismantle in their productions the constructions of scientific racism and the subsequent theory of racial democracy, exported by Brazil to several international academic centers. Racial democracy is a belief that in this country there was a transcendence of racial conflicts, with a harmonious coexistence between whites, blacks and indigenous people. One of the classic scenes that represents what would be the imaginary of racial democracy brings white and black men sitting and partying at the table, while the Black woman, naked, cheerfully dances samba. Our concern will be to understand how González, Carneiro and other Black feminists conceive the mulata in critical perspective, in defiance of the myth of racial democracy. In the Brazilian Black feminist tradition, there are several refutations to the places imposed on this social group. We will also highlight the theoretical and critical developments about the figure of the Black Mother, so rooted in colonial history and translated into post-colonialism in the figure of the domestic servant, the position of more than 6 million women in Brazil, with a large Black majority. Based on the confrontation with myths, we will make a reflection on the historical tradition of struggle and critical production by Brazilian Black feminists.


Djamila Ribeiro is a public intellectual, writer and philosopher, a social justice activist and one of the most influential voices in the Afro-Brazilian women's rights movement. She holds a degree in Philosophy and a Masters in Political Philosophy from the Federal University of São Paulo. She is also a visiting professor at the department of journalism at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo and a fellow at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. She was awarded the 2019 Prince Claus Prize, granted by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and was considered by the BBC as one of the 100 most influential women in the world. In 2020, she won the Jabuti Prize, the most important in the Brazilian literary world. In 2021, she was the first Brazilian to be honored by the BET Awards.

Juliana Streva is a Brazilian transdisciplinary researcher and experimental artist based in Berlin. Her work engages with the poetic-politics of anti-racist, feminist and decolonial movements, corporealities and counter-archives. Streva holds a PhD in Law from Freie Universität Berlin, a Masters and a Bachelor from Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro. She has been a Junior Fellow at the Maria Sibylla Merian Centre Conviviality-Inequality in Latin America, and a Visiting Fellow at Brown University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Organized by the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin and Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), in cooperation with the Forschungscampus Dahlem and co2libri, with support from the Berlin Center for Global Engagement (BCGE) within the Berlin University Alliance (BUA).

SFB 1171 Affective Societies
Berlin Southern Theory Lecture