From carnival to kuduro, Beyoncé to Carmen Miranda, gender and sexuality have been shaped through popular culture into bodies of cultural heritage or dissent in narratives and projects of nation-building. This course will consider how they are mediated, their intersections with race, the contemporary history of Brazil and its intersections with the broader Lusophone World and cultures of African Diaspora from Angola to New York. This class offers productive comparisons of differing formations of nationalism, and of people and cultures that have been at different times celebrated, marginalized or criminalized. Through an analysis of music, film, social media, literature and performance, we will locate these bodies, the form of their sexuality, the genres within which they emerge or are occluded, and how they matter to/through the nation. From protest movements to popular music and performance, affective and intimate bodies are made political as repositories of national heritage or transgressive communities of dissent. Connections with Angolan popular music and the popular music and dance cultures of African American and queer of color communities serve to locate Brazil within contemporary transits of the Lusophone World and Black Atlantic that underscore their historic ties and affective resonances. Together, our goal is to understand the intersections of gender and race as they prop up and fall within the project of nation-building during the 20th century, to trace out a history of Brazil that contends with forms of gender and sexuality and their transformations in our current moment.
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