March 26, 2012


By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Social scientist Patricia de Santana Pinho will give the talk, "African-American Roots Tourism in Brazil: Encounters in Sameness, Difference and Inequality," Thursday, April 5, at 7 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is the final event in the Social Science Colloquium series, "Shades of Black and Brown: Afro-Latino/a Interactions."

"Aware of their power as U.S. citizens and affluent consumers, African-American 'roots tourists' in Brazil have actively employed their national identity as well as their purchasing power to benefit Afro-Brazilians," said Pinho.

Tourists have begun to demand that more Afro-Brazilians benefit from tourist dollars by requesting tourist guides be black individuals and lobbying for the hiring of black hotel employees in managerial and front desk positions, according to Pinho.

Pinho argues that while this lobbying is well intended and has begun to generate results, it is frequently accompanied by a discourse that establishes the leadership role that African-Americans should occupy in the advancement of Afro-Brazilians.

"Thus, efforts of solidarity and cooperation towards those who are deemed the 'same' do not necessarily do away with processes of hierarchization, especially when the tourist-touree relations are permeated by the notion of Western authority," she said.

During her visit to Bucknell, Pinho also will give a breakfast talk on April 6 which will focus on domestic workers in Brazil.

A native of Brazil, Pinho is a professor of social sciences in the department of Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies at SUNY Albany. Previously she was a Henry Rice postdoctoral fellow at Yale University, and a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Black Studies in Amherst College. She holds her bachelor's and master's degrees in sociology and a doctorate in social sciences from the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in São Paulo.

Her book, Mama Africa: Reinventing Blackness in Bahia (Duke University Press, 2010) traces the ways in which Africa has been imagined and reinvented by Afro-Bahian cultural groups. Mama Africa is a revised and expanded edition of Reinvenções da África na Bahia (Editora Annablume, 2004), which received an Honorary Award from LASA's Premio IberoAmericano "for the outstanding book on Latin America in the Social Sciences and the Humanities in Spanish or Portuguese" in 2006.

Held in recognition of the United Nations declaration of 2011 as the International Year of People of African Descent, the series is sponsored by the Provost's Office; the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender; the Office of the President; the departments of sociology and anthropology, political science, and economics; and the University Lectureship Committee.

Contact: Division of Communications

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