Revisiting the Creole Port City

  • Fernando Rosa
Part of the Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies book series (IOWS)


Before tackling the main subject of this chapter, it is pertinent to bring up a thorny issue, namely, that of sex in creolization. In my own country, the work of Gilberto Freyre, for instance, has often been vilified, partly because of his many depictions of sex between, for instance, masters and slaves, and his subsequently claiming that this showed how tolerant and nonracist the Portuguese supposedly were (see Ribeiro 2007; Bosma and Ribeiro 2008). Though hailed in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War as a great scholar who had described in his main works a potentially race-free society, when translations of his first work appeared in both English and French, including by prominent figures such as Roland Barthes in France and Ortega y Gasset in Spain, the international image of Freyre has become dented in recent decades by frequent accusations of racism and sexism. Even inside Brazil—where his thinking on “race relations” is at times ominously close to middle-class common sense on the subject, and where his oeuvre is still revered in academia (though, of course, it is hardly literally and uncritically followed) as the work of one of Brazil’s foremost intellectuals of the twentieth century—his image and work have faced a constant barrage of attacks from many quarters (for instance, from some black intellectuals).


Indian Ocean Port City Late Colonial Colonial Authority Colonial Society 
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© Fernando Rosa 2015

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  • Fernando Rosa

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