UNEVEN GROUND. Frontiers of Urbanization in São Paulo

Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA) Conference

University of Texas, Austin, 26-28 March 2020

PANEL I-12 States of Space: Critical Geographies in Contemporary Brazi

It is difficult to understate the importance of Geography, broadly defined, to understanding a country as vast as Brazil. Indeed, enslavement, forced relocation, internal migration and immigration from abroad have all contributed to the Brazilian landscape, urban and rural alike, understood both materially and as a social imaginary. These varying configurations in mind, one of the greater lessons Brazil lends is the power and politics of place. For all the territory of land the State claims as its own, it is the densely populated urban metropolises which house the majority of Brazilians today. Therefore, inspired by the critical geographer Milton Santos, who focused in large part on the politics of urban development, this panel not only investigates the structural formation of the city as a place—much more in the lines of geography—but rather what configurations of space the city produces: the exercise of power of the State in daily life; the individual, yet social meanings of race, class, and gender; the axes of oppression, the possibilities of emancipation. To engage these questions, this panel relies on varied methodologies, including archival research, oral histories, and ethnography, in order to sift through the ways in which space constitutes a mechanism for ordering and resisting social hierarchies, in Brazil and beyond.

– “Building the City of Prisons: Ribeirão das Neves and the Urban Economy of Incarceration.”Mo Torres, Sociology, Harvard University
– “Beatriz Nascimento’s Ôri: Documenting Performances of the Black Atlantic in Brazil’s Urban Quilombos.” Stephanie Reist, Latin American Cultural Studies, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
– “Uneven Ground: Frontiers of Urbanization and Difference in São Paulo’s Periphery.” Giuseppina Forte, Architecture, University of California, Berkeley
– “Crossing the Threshold: Housing, Home Visits, and Spatial Sovereignty in São Paulo.” Emily Pingel, Sociology, Emory University