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Luso-Tropicalism and Its Discontents: The Making and Unmaking of Racial Exceptionalism

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Luso-Tropicalism and Its Discontents

The Making and Unmaking of Racial Exceptionalism

Edited by Warwick Anderson, Ricardo Roque, and Ricardo Ventura Santos

346 pages, 15 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-113-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (April 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-114-7 eBook

Hb   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“A valuable and wide-ranging addition to the literature on Luso-tropicalism, this book will appeal to a variety of readers and make a considerable impact on the field.” • Maria Lúcia G. Pallares-Burke, Emmanuel College

“The breadth of analysis in Luso-tropicalism and Its Discontents is extraordinary, and the diverse range of contributors here is second to none. The collective and individual aspects of the work contribute in new ways to the discussion on race relations and global history.” • Richard Cleminson, University of Leeds


Modern perceptions of race across much of the Global South are indebted to the Brazilian social scientist Gilberto Freyre, who in works such as The Masters and the Slaves claimed that Portuguese colonialism produced exceptionally benign and tolerant race relations. This volume radically reinterprets Freyre’s Luso-tropicalist arguments and critically engages with the historical complexity of racial concepts and practices in the Portuguese-speaking world. Encompassing Brazil as well as Portuguese-speaking societies in Africa, Asia, and even Portugal itself, it places an interdisciplinary group of scholars in conversation to challenge the conventional understanding of twentieth-century racialization, proffering new insights into such controversial topics as human plasticity, racial amalgamation, and the tropes and proxies of whiteness.

Warwick Anderson is the Janet Dora Hine Professor of Politics, Governance and Ethics in the Department of History and the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney. He is the author of The Cultivation of Whiteness (2002), Colonial Pathologies (2006), The Collectors of Lost Souls (2008), and with Ian R. Mackay, Intolerant Bodies (2014).

Ricardo Roque is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon and currently an Honorary Associate in the Department of History of the University of Sydney. He is the author of Headhunting and Colonialism (2010) and the co-editor of Engaging Colonial Knowledge (2012).

Ricardo Ventura Santos is a Senior Researcher at Fundação Oswaldo Cruz and Professor at the Department of Anthropology of the National Museum, in Rio de Janeiro. He is the author of The Xavante in Transition (2002) and co-editor of Racial Identities, Genetic Ancestry, and Health in South America (2011) and Mestizo Genomics (2014).

Subject: Colonialism 20th Century History Sociology
Area: Latin America


List of Illustrations

Warwick Anderson, Ricardo Roque, and Ricardo Ventura Santos


Chapter 1. Gilberto Freyre’s View of Miscegenation and Its Circulation in the Portuguese Empire (1930s–1960s)
Cláudia Castelo

Chapter 2. Gilberto Freyre: Racial Populism and Ethnic Nationalism
Jerry Dávila

Chapter 3. Anthropology and Pan-Africanism at the Margins of the Portuguese Empire: Trajectories of Kamba Simango
Lorenzo Macagno


Chapter 4. Eugenics, Genetics and Anthropology in Brazil: The Masters and the Slaves, Racial Miscegenation and Its Discontents
Robert Wegner and Vanderlei Sebastião de Souza

Chapter 5. Gilberto Freyre and the UNESCO Research Project on Race Relations in Brazil
Marcos Chor Maio

Chapter 6. “An Immense Mosaic”: Race Mixing and the Creation of the Genetic Nation in 1960s Brazil
Rosanna Dent and Ricardo Ventura Santos


Chapter 7. The Racial Science of Patriotic Primitives: António Mendes Correia in Portuguese Timor
Ricardo Roque

Chapter 8. Reassessing Portuguese Exceptionalism: Racial Concepts and Colonial Policies toward the “Bushmen” in Southern Angola, 1880s–1970s
Samuël Coghe

Chapter 9. “Anthropobiology”, Racial Miscegenation and Body Normality: Comparing Biotypological Studies in Brazil and Portugal, 1930–1940
Ana Carolina Vimieiro Gomes


Chapter 10. Luso-Tropicalism Debunked, Again: Race, Racism, and Racialism in Three Portuguese-Speaking Societies
Cristiana Bastos

Chapter 11. Being Goan (Modern) in Zanzibar: Mobility, Relationality and the Stitching of Race
Pamila Gupta

Afterword I: Mixing the Global Color Palette
Nélia Dias

Afterword II: Luso-tropicalism and Mixture in the Latin American Context
Peter Wade


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