Introduction: Who Were the Masters in the Americas?

  • Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Part of the New Directions in Latino American Cultures book series (NDLAC)


“Europe ruled but without governing; governing first was Africa” (Casa-Grande e Senzala 5).1 This quotation is from Gilberto Freyre, the Brazilian sociologist who canonized plantation assimilationism as national leitmotif with the publication of Casa-Grande e Senzala in 1933. Because Freyre’s celebration of black culture centers on culinary, sexual, and spiritual traditions, it does not disarm normative master/slave, colonizer/colonized oppositions. Instead, African predominance becomes a commonplace without unsettling Europe’s historical-material control. The introduction of this quotation in a book dealing with plantation symbolics in the Americas—a book that is launched into a principally U.S. academic market—will be jarring to sensibilities accustomed to paradigms of master/slave relations employed in the United States.


African Culture Hybrid Culture American Polity Interracial Contact Racial Exclusion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Works Cited

  1. Benítez-Rojo, Antonio. The Repeating Island: The Caribbean and the Postmodern Perspective, 2d. ed. Durham: Duke University Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  2. Browning, Barbara. Infectious Rhythm: Metaphors of Contagion and the Spread of African Culture. New York: Routledge, 1998.Google Scholar
  3. Cox, Timothy. Postmodern Tales of Slavery in the Americas. New York: Garland, 2001.Google Scholar
  4. Cohn, Deborah. History and Memory in the Two Souths: Recent Southern and Spanish American Fiction. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  5. Fanon, Frantz. A Dying Colonialism. Trans. Haakon Chevalier. London: Pelican, 1970.Google Scholar
  6. Freyre, Gilberto. Casa-Grande e Senzala. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1984.Google Scholar
  7. García Canclini, Nestor. Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Leaving and Entering Modernity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995.Google Scholar
  8. Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  9. Hanchard, Michael. Orpheus and Power: The Movimento Negro of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil, 1945–1988. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.Google Scholar
  10. Handley, George. Postslavery Literatures in the Americas: Family Portraits in Black and White. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2000.Google Scholar
  11. Marx, Anthony W. Making Race and Nation: A Comparison of the United States, South Africa and Brazil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.Google Scholar
  12. Reis, João José. Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  13. Retamar, Roberto Fernandez. Caliban and other Essays. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989.Google Scholar
  14. Strachan, Ian. Paradise and Plantation: Tourism and Culture in the Anglophone Caribbean. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2002.Google Scholar
  15. Veloso, Caetano. Noites do Norte. São Paulo: Universal Music Ltda, 2000.Google Scholar
  16. Zamora, Lois Parkinson. “The Usable Past: The Idea of History in Modern U.S. and Latin American Fiction.” Do the Americas Have a Common Literature? Ed. Gustavo Pérez Firmat. Durham: Duke University Press, 1990.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations