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Luso-Tropicalism and Its Discontents: The Making and Unmaking of Racial Exceptionalism

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Luso-Tropicalism and Its Discontents

The Making and Unmaking of Racial Exceptionalism

Edited by Warwick Anderson, Ricardo Roque, and Ricardo Ventura Santos

346 pages, 15 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-113-0 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (April 2019)

ISBN  978-1-80073-636-8 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (November 2022)

eISBN 978-1-78920-114-7 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This well-edited, highly stimulating book provides a ‘view from the edge’ that will be of great interest not only to Luso-Brazilianists and historians of Portuguese colonialism, but also to scholars concerned with racial theories, eugenics, biopolitics, and (post-)colonial studies.” • Centaurus

“Despite scholarly consensus regarding the fallacy of lusotropicalism, the idea continues to circulate in both classic and neological forms. This volume makes a valiant attempt to reroute the conversation.”• Hispanic American Historical Review

“A valuable and wide-ranging addition to the literature on Luso-tropicalism, this book will appeal to a variety of readers and make a considerable impact on the field.” • Maria Lúcia G. Pallares-Burke, Emmanuel College

“The breadth of analysis in Luso-tropicalism and Its Discontents is extraordinary, and the diverse range of contributors here is second to none. The collective and individual aspects of the work contribute in new ways to the discussion on race relations and global history.” • Richard Cleminson, University of Leeds


Modern perceptions of race across much of the Global South are indebted to the Brazilian social scientist Gilberto Freyre, who in works such as The Masters and the Slaves claimed that Portuguese colonialism produced exceptionally benign and tolerant race relations. This volume radically reinterprets Freyre’s Luso-tropicalist arguments and critically engages with the historical complexity of racial concepts and practices in the Portuguese-speaking world. Encompassing Brazil as well as Portuguese-speaking societies in Africa, Asia, and even Portugal itself, it places an interdisciplinary group of scholars in conversation to challenge the conventional understanding of twentieth-century racialization, proffering new insights into such controversial topics as human plasticity, racial amalgamation, and the tropes and proxies of whiteness.

Warwick Anderson is the Janet Dora Hine Professor of Politics, Governance and Ethics in the Department of History and the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney. He is the author of The Cultivation of Whiteness (2002), Colonial Pathologies (2006), The Collectors of Lost Souls (2008), and with Ian R. Mackay, Intolerant Bodies (2014).

Ricardo Roque is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon and currently an Honorary Associate in the Department of History of the University of Sydney. He is the author of Headhunting and Colonialism (2010) and the co-editor of Engaging Colonial Knowledge (2012).

Ricardo Ventura Santos is a Senior Researcher at Fundação Oswaldo Cruz and Professor at the Department of Anthropology of the National Museum, in Rio de Janeiro. He is the author of The Xavante in Transition (2002) and co-editor of Racial Identities, Genetic Ancestry, and Health in South America (2011) and Mestizo Genomics (2014).

Subject: Colonial HistoryHistory: 20th Century to PresentSociology
Area: Latin America and the Caribbean


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