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Title:Rediasporizing Bahia: the lived experiences of blackness and the cultural politics of Bahian hip-hop
Author(s):Henson, Bryce
Director of Research:McCarthy, Cameron
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McCarthy, Cameron
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Molina-Guzmán, Isabel; Rana, Junaid; Denzin, Norman
Department / Program:Inst of Communications Rsch
Discipline:Communications and Media
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):African Diaspora
Cultural Studies
Abstract:This dissertation analyzes how Blacks in Salvador da Bahia are disrupting dominant representations of Afro-diasporic cultures and race in Brazil’s most “African” locale. Cultural representations, tourism groups, and government agencies commonly portray Salvador as brimming with exotic and premodern Africanisms through the retention of African roots, traditions, and origins. This uses essentialist tropes that Blacks in the African Diaspora are connected together by a common ancestry and culture. This has in turn been used to reify popular Brazilian mythologies of racial harmony, a mestiço racial identity, and an African-derived ethnicity. These cultural representations of the African Diaspora in Salvador have been used to argue that race relations in Brazil are far superior to the United States and that racism is not a problem. However, this obscures the social stigma of Blackness, as a queer subaltern figure and sociocultural threat to civilization, and how antiblack racism structures everyday life in Salvador. Drawing on Black feminism, African Diaspora studies, media studies, and race relations studies, this dissertation is a study that links the social realities of race and Afro-diasporic expressions by examining the local hip-hop movement, its Afro-diasporic reception and production of hip-hop media cultures. Drawing on social anthropological and media studies approaches to ethnography, it explores how Black hip-hop artists are using and producing, thus produsing, the African Diaspora to speak back against the silences and invisibility of antiblack racism. To do so, it probes how Blacks in the Bahian hip-hop movement are rediasporizing Bahia by situating it between race relations and Black Atlantic cultures. Using race relations studies and African Diaspora studies, it contextualizes the historical layers of socially articulated structures and processes of race; the lived experiences of Blackness; and the symbolic and material violence of antiblackness in Bahia. Drawing on media studies and Black feminist studies, it then explores how Blacks under these racial regimes are using Afro-diasporic hip-hop cultures in local contexts to articulate a subaltern Blackness that is part of a diasporic experience. It also illuminates how Blacks are producing their own Afro-diasporic hip-hop texts to challenge local knowledges of race, culture, and diaspora in Bahia. It calls for attention to the lived experiences and imaginaries of Blacks who are most invisible and marginal at diasporic and local levels. Finally, it strongly argues for emphasis on the role of media uses, cultural productions, and technology in the study of the African Diaspora.
Issue Date:2016-10-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Bryce Henson
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-03-01
Date Deposited:2016-12

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