Punishment in Paradise: Race, Slavery, Human Rights, and a Nineteenth-Century Brazilian Penal Colonyby Peter M. Beattie
Throughout the nineteenth century the idyllic island of Fernando de Noronha, which lies two hundred miles off Brazil's northeastern coast, was home to Brazil's largest forced labor penal colony. In Punishment in Paradise Peter M. Beattie uses Noronha as a case study to understand nineteenth-century Brazil's varied social and cultural values, especially in relation to justice, class, color, civil condition, human rights and labor. As Brazil's slave population declined after 1850, the use of colonial-era disciplinary practices at Noronha--such as flogging and forced labor--stoked anxieties about human rights and Brazil's international image. Beattie contends that the treatment of slaves, convicts, and other social categories subject to coercive labor extraction were interconnected and that reforms that benefitted one of these categories made them harder to deny to others. In detailing Noronha's history and the end of slavery as part of an international expansion of human rights, Beattie places Brazil firmly in the purview of Atlantic history.
This special issue of Luso-Brazilian Review includes articles on the Lusophone South Atlantic by historians of Africa and Brazil originally presented in May of 2006 at the Michigan State University and University of Michigan's Atlantic History Workshop "ReCapricorning the Atlantic: Luso-Brazilian and Luso-African Perspectives on the Atlantic World." Workshop participants set out to "ReCapricorn the Atlantic" by assessing how new research on the Lusophone South Atlantic modifies, challenges, or confirms major trends and paradigms in the expanding scholarship on Atlantic History.
In The Tribute of Blood Peter M. Beattie analyzes the transformation of army recruitment and service in Brazil between 1864 and 1945, using this history of common soldiers to examine nation building and the social history of Latin America's largest nation. Tracing the army's reliance on coercive recruitment to fill its lower ranks, Beattie shows how enlisted service became associated with criminality, perversion, and dishonor, as nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Brazilian officials rounded up the "dishonorable" poor--including petty criminals, vagrants, and "sodomites"--and forced them to serve as soldiers. Beattie looks through sociological, anthropological, and historical lenses to analyze archival sources such as court-martial cases, parliamentary debates, published reports, and the memoirs and correspondence of soldiers and officers. Combining these materials with a colorful array of less traditional sources--such as song lyrics, slang, grammatical evidence, and tattoo analysis--he reveals how the need to reform military recruitment with a conscription lottery became increasingly apparent in the wake of the Paraguayan War of 1865-1870 and again during World War I. Because this crucial reform required more than changing the army's institutional roles and the conditions of service, The Tribute of Blood is ultimately the story of how entrenched conceptions of manhood, honor, race, citizenship, and nation were transformed throughout Brazil. Those interested in social, military, and South American history, state building and national identity, and the sociology of the poor will be enriched by this pathbreaking study.
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