Black Women against the Land Grab: The Fight for Racial Justice in Brazil (Paperback)
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In Brazil and throughout the African diaspora, black women, especially poor black women, are rarely considered leaders of social movements let alone political theorists. But in the northeastern city of Salvador, Brazil, it is these very women who determine how urban policies are established. Focusing on the Gamboa de Baixo neighborhood in Salvador’s city center, Black Women against the Land Grab explores how black women’s views on development have radicalized local communities to demand justice and social change.
In Black Women against the Land Grab, Keisha-Khan Y. Perry describes the key role of local women activists in the citywide movement for land and housing rights. She reveals the importance of geographic location for understanding the gendered aspects of urban renewal and the formation of black women–led social movements. How have black women shaped the politics of urban redevelopment, Perry asks, and what does this kind of political intervention tell us about black women’s agency? Her work uncovers the ways in which political labor at the neighborhood level is central to the mass mobilization of black people against institutional racism and for citizenship rights and resources in Brazil.
Highlighting the political life of black communities, specifically those in urban contexts often represented as socially pathological and politically bankrupt, Black Women against the Land Grab offers a valuable corrective to how we think about politics and about black women, particularly poor black women, as a political force.
About the Author
Keisha-Khan Y. Perry is assistant professor of Africana studies at Brown University.
"Black Women against the Land Grab makes a unique and overdue contribution to our understanding of social movements in Brazil. In a bold intervention from the tendency to ignore women’s participation in struggles for land rights and access to basic resources, Keisha-Khan Y. Perry paints women as the categorical leaders in resisting ‘development’ plans that amount to expelling poor, black communities from their historical homes. Her long-term involvement with the Gamboa de Baixo community in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, and unabashed advocacy for their cause, results in an electrifying ethnography that showcases the wry humor and perceptive analyses of grassroot community activists." —Sarah Hautzinger, author of Violence in the City of Women: Police and Batterers in Bahia, Brazil
"Black Women against the Land Grab is an excellent treatment of the production of racialized space in Brazil. This book will be a useful contribution to future scholarship concerning anti-racist resistance and struggles for land and water across the black diaspora."—Anthropological Quarterly
"Obligatory reading for anybody interested in racism, grassroots politics, and the exclusionary effects of urban renewal."—Antipode
"Stimulating and well-researched."—Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
"A real contribution to both social change and social justice research."—Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
"This book is of central importance for those in the social sciences and humanities that are interested in the role of women in grassroots organizations."—Journal of Latin American Geography
"An invaluable contribution."—Cultural Geographies
"A detailed and moving book."—Ethnic and Racial Studies
"Black Women against the Land Grab contains an enjoyable ethnography, and will be useful to scholars interested in the intersections between race and gentrification in Latin America."—Luso-Brazilian Review
"An example of an empirical investigation conducted by a committed activist, a feature that provides the book with intensity and engagement from the author."—Political Studies Review
"Keisha-Khan Perry’s intimate look at the grassroots struggles of black women for urban land rights in Salvador, Bahia, is an important reminder of the need to examine the relationships between material need, personal identity, and political action."—The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Latin American History
"Suitable for students of gender politics, Africana and cultural studies, and readers interested in land rights and land distribution."—Bulletin of Latin American Research
"Keisha-Khan Perry’s brilliant ethnography reveals not only the complexity of Brazil’s young democracy but also the interconnections among conceptions of gender, race, community, and 'development.'"—Transforming Anthropology
"Well written, well organized, and accessible . . . a welcome read for both Brazilian specialists and a general public who may be interested in understanding why the World Cup and Olympic protests started in Brazil’s favelas (slums)."—Contemporary Sociology
"Throughout Black Women against the Land Grab, Perry provides thorough explanations of both the history and current state of the land rights conflict in Salvador, which clearly come from her background as a social scientist with theoretical interests in black feminism, critical race theory, and urban studies. She explores various examples of the intersectionality of race, gender, and class within the context of the Gamboa de Baixo neighborhood organization’s activities and, as a participant-observer, offers a unique perspective that combines detailed, firsthand accounts of the conflict with the contextualization of social scientific theories."—The Oral History Review
"It is written in an accessible and engaging style and aptly contributes to intersectional analysis of race, gender, and class."—Humanity and Society