In Selling Black Brazil: Race, Nation, and Visual Culture in Salvador, Bahia (University of Texas Press, 2022), Anadelia Romo argues that visual images were central to the shift from emulating Europe to valuing Brazil’s own local culture, which took place from the late 19th to the early 20th century. The book focuses on Salvador, Bahia, a city in the northeast of Brazil known for its rich Black culture, history of slavery, and tourism industry. Using print culture associated with tourism, Romo shows how representations of Afro-Brazilians engaged ideas of race and nation at the time. The book is filled with photographs and illustrations from Pierre Verger, Carybe, and other visual culture producers, which evidences how the city was rendered. These images featured Afro-Brazilians as central urban figures as well as the festive and religious culture of the city. Yet, in giving less attention to racism, these images masked deeply entrenched racial inequality.
Anadelia A. Romo is an Associate Professor of History at Texas State University. She is the author of Brazil’s Living Museum: Race, Reform, and Tradition in Bahia.
Reighan Gillam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California.
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