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Black Women against the Land Grab

The Fight for Racial Justice in Brazil

2013
Author:

Keisha-Khan Y. Perry

Black Women against the Land Grab

An in-depth look at black women’s significant role in land and housing rights struggles

Focusing on the Gamboa de Baixo neighborhood in Salvador, Brazil’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. Keisha-Khan Y. Perry describes the key role of local women activists in the citywide movement for land and housing rights.

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

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.

Black Women against the Land Grab

Keisha-Khan Y. Perry is assistant professor of Africana studies at Brown University.

Black Women against the Land Grab

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

Essential.

CHOICE

Black Women against the Land Grab

Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Diasporic Blackness and Afro-Brazilian Agency

1. Engendering the Grassroots
2. The Gendered Racial Logic of Spatial Exclusion
3. The Black Movement’s Foot Soldiers
4. Violent Policing and Disposing Urban Landscapes
5. “The Women Gather Crying”: Everyday Violence and Community
6. Politics Is a Women’s Thing
Conclusion. Above the Asphalt: From the Margins to the Center of Black Diaspora Politics

Bibliography