Culture Wars in Brazil: The First Vargas Regime, 1930-1945

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9780822327196: Culture Wars in Brazil: The First Vargas Regime, 1930-1945
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In Culture Wars in Brazil Daryle Williams analyzes the contentious politicking over the administration, meaning, and look of Brazilian culture that marked the first regime of president-dictator Getulio Vargas (1883-1954). Examining a series of interconnected battles waged among bureaucrats, artists, intellectuals, critics, and everyday citizens over the state's power to regulate and consecrate the field of cultural production, Williams argues that the high-stakes struggles over cultural management fought between the Revolution of 1930 and the fall of the Estado Novo dictatorship centered on the bragging rights to brasilidade-an intangible yet highly coveted sense of Brazilianness. Williams draws on a rich selection of textual, pictorial, and architectural sources in his exploration of the dynamic nature of educational film and radio, historical preservation, museum management, painting, public architecture, and national delegations organized for international expositions during the unsettled era in which modern Brazil's cultural canon took definitive form. In his close reading of the tensions surrounding official policies of cultural management, Williams both updates the research of the pioneer generation of North American Brazilianists, who examined the politics of state building during the Vargas era, and engages today's generation of Brazilianists, who locate the construction of national identity of modern Brazil in the Vargas era. By integrating Brazil into a growing body of literature on the cultural dimensions of nations and nationalism, Culture Wars in Brazil will be important reading for students and scholars of Latin American history, state formation, modernist art and architecture, and cultural studies.

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Review:

"[F]ascinating."
--Tracy Devine Guzman, "Bulletin of Latin American Research"

"This brilliant book will be highly controversial in Brazil and a catalyst for much future research and debate."
--Foreign Affairs

"The book is beautifully printed and nicely illustrated with photographs and art (including a stunning set of four reproductions in color at the center of the book). It has much to offer for advanced undergraduate readers and above interested in 20th-century Brazilian history."
--R. M. Levine, "Choice"

"[I]lluminating and creative . . . . Williams offers us a compelling and convincing account of the Vargas state at work. This is a book of great significance for students of Brazil, and for all those interested in the broader issues of cultural policy and the construction and representation of history."
--Bryan McCann, "The Public Historian"

"In focusing on the cultural politics of the Vargas regime, Daryle Williams offers an important contribution to the discussion of this critical period. . . . Williams's book certainly adds another layer of complexity to the political regime of twentieth -century Brazil's most influential and controversial leader."
--Seth Garfield, "American Historical Review"

""Culture Wars in Brazil "locate[s] itself well in relation to the accumulated political histories of the first Vargas regime, histories of literature and the arts in Brazil in the first decades of the twentieth century, and especially the many studies of Brazilian modernims. It will function as a valuable resources in that location."
--Ronald W. Sousa, "Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies"

"This is one of the most original books about Getulio Vargas's government to appear in many years. . . . Williams effectively analyzes the complex high politics of government and cultural elites. . . . In this well-written and effectively illustrated book, Williams has thus laid important groundwork for future scholarship on Brazilian culture in the second half of the twentieth century."
--Hendrik Kraay, "History: Reviews of New Books"

"Daryle Williams' "Culture Wars in Brazil" will engage historians, anthropologists, political scientists, art historians and architects alike. It will also be of use to anyone interested in the particular notion of "brasilidade" or in the relationship between the state and culture in general. . . . [F]or anyone dealing with the variety that is "brasilidade," Williams' book provides historical perspective, a useful theoretical language and a critical lens."
--Katya Wesolowski, "Luso-Brazilian Review"

"[A] significant contribution to the political history of Brazilian culture. "Culture Wars in Brazil" undoubtedly will remain a work that will be consulted profitably by future historians. . . [and] will contribute to a broader understanding of the Vargas regime. The relationship between the nation-state and culture remains a contentious issue in Brazilian society, and one hopes that a Portuguese edition will follow. His book deserves a broader audience than one fears it will have in the United States."
--Andrew J. Kirkendall, "South Eastern Latin Americanist"

"[A] good book about an interesting but neglected topic. . . . This impressively researched study is filled with important and learned observations about an era when the 'national and cultural canon and the institutions that managed it continued to blur the line between cultural and political power.' It is a model for how to organize a complex argument clearly and effectively. . . . Daryle Williams has succeeded in writing a book that any of us would have been proud to write, and it will become mandatory reading for future generations of Brazilianists."
--Todd A. Diacon, "H-Net Reviews"

From the Back Cover:

""Culture Wars in Brazil" is an important book. Historians tend to neglect Brazilian cultural history, and Williams takes a significant step toward diminishing that lacunae. His writing is dramatic and exciting, his research wide-ranging and creative, and he has uncovered much fascinating material."--Jeffrey Lesser, author of "Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil"

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