A legacy of the transatlantic slave trade, Brazil is home to the largest number of African descendants outside Africa and the greatest number of domestic workers in the world. Drawing on ten years of interviews and ethnographic research, Second-Class Daughters: Black Brazilian Women and Informal Adoption as Modern Slavery (Cambridge University Press, 2022) examines the lives of marginalized informal domestic workers who are called ‘adopted daughters’ but who live in slave-like conditions in the homes of their adoptive families. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman traces a nuanced and, at times, disturbing account of how adopted daughters, who are trapped in a system of racial, gender, and class oppression, live with the coexistence of extreme forms of exploitation and seemingly loving familial interactions and affective relationships. Highlighting the humanity of her respondents, Hordge-Freeman examines how filhas de criação (raised daughters) navigate the realities of their structural constraints and in the context of pervasive norms of morality, gratitude, and kinship. In all, the author clarifies the link between contemporary and colonial forms of exploitation, while highlighting the resistance and agency of informal domestic workers.
Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman is an Associate Professor of sociology, interim Vice President for Institutional Equity, and Senior Advisor to the President and Provost for Diversity and Inclusion at The University of South Florida.
Reighan Gillam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California.
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