Around the World at the Ath: Brazil
Juliana Fillies will be discussing Ezelino da Costa’s (counter-)photography. Born in a northeastern Brazilian province in 1889, da Costa is one of the few Black photographers of the beginning of the twentieth century we know of, and his pictures show how a Black family in post-abolitionist Brazil wanted to be seen. Professor Fillies was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In Germany, she studied Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. She has a binational Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Cologne, Germany, and the State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Juliana has a second Ph.D. in Spanish Literature awarded by Arizona State University.
She has published several articles on Latin American Literature, Afro-Latin American history, and politics of representation. She is especially interested in understanding how stereotypes were constructed through visual and literary texts. Her current research project explores the representation of Afro-Latin Americans in 19th and early 20th-century photography. In this project, she discusses how photography contributed to creating stereotypes about Black individuals and illustrates how Afro-Latin Americans appropriated the medium to create a counter-discourse.
Norman Valencia will be discussing "the case of Brasília." Brazil's capital, Brasília, is a city with a unique history in the Americas. Throughout his election campaign in 1955, President Juscelino Kubitschek promised to build, in the next four years, a new capital for the country. His objective was to create a new economic and political in Brazil's central high savannah, an important step in the unification of what was, at the time, a deeply fragmented country. For this, he contacted two important architects and urban planners: Oscar Niemeyer and Lúcio Costa. Both of them shared a unique idea: to make Brazil a more egalitarian society through architecture. Professor Valencia will explain how Brasília's architecture was meant to produce important social and political changes, both in the city and in the country, as well as some of the triumphs and some of the shortcomings of their project.
Norman Valencia is Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese. His work focuses on comparative approaches between Brazil and the rest of Latin America, with an emphasis on Colombia. His recent book (in collaboration with Claudia Montilla), El manglar de la memoria. Ensayos críticos sobre la obra de Tomás González, earned the award for Best Edited Volume of 2021 by the Colombian Studies Association.