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Entangled fields. Sources and hypotheses for the history of Afro-Brazilian, African-American and african studies in Brazil and the United States1

Des études afro-brésiliennes, afro-américaines et africaines au Brésil et aux États-Unis : sources et hypothèses pour une histoire croisée
Campos entrelaçados. Fontes e hipóteses para a história dos estudos afro-brasileiros, afro-americanos e africanos no Brasil e nos Estados Unidos
Livio Sansone
p. 249-270


Cet article exploratoire est le résultat d’une recherche en cours dans une collection d’archives aux États-Unis et prend pour objet l’histoire thématique et biographique entrelacée des études afro-américaines, afro-brésiliennes et africaines menées aux États-Unis et au Brésil sur une période d’environ trois décennies, de 1940 à 1970. Il se concentre sur deux figures emblématiques, Melville J. Herskovits et Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane, et soutient qu’une perspective qui met l’accent à la fois sur l’histoire des institutions et sur les trajectoires ou biographies individuelles peut apporter de nouveaux détails intéressants qui, autrement, resteraient ignorés.

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Notes de la rédaction

Article reçu le 16 novembre 2021, accepté le 21 février 2022

Texte intégral

  • 1 This text owes a lot to the seminal conversations with the colleagues Capucine Boidin, Kadja Tall a (...)
  • 2 To a lesser extent, French scholars, notably Roger Bastide and Pierre Verger, had a considerable in (...)
  • 3 On the history of African studies in Brazil, see Reis [2015], Sansone [2020] and www.afroasia.ufba. (...)

1Since their inception there has been substantial interplay both between Afro-Brazilian studies—the study of Brazilian racial hierarchies and the culture and identity they have generatedand African studies carried out in Brazil—the study of social phenomena in the African continent—and also with Afro-American studies in the US.2 In many respects we can even speak of an entangled history of these fields of study [Seigol, 2009, p. x-xiv], whereby biographies, emotions, individual and collective projects of emancipation from racism and colonialism, academic and political agendas are constructed in a transnational fashion and the local can be part of the global. Power imbalance, however, forms part of such entanglement and within this transnational exchange there are hierarchies, giving and receiving ends, centers and peripheries, “haves” and “have nots”, racial tensions, imperial projects and attitudes, and the coloniality of a large proportion of the Brazilian intellectual elites. Such entanglement can easily be perceived by scrutinizing the trajectory of a number of social scientists who were prominent in the making of Afro-Brazilian studies in the period between 1930 and 1970 and who, in most cases after doing research in Brazil, also carried out research in the African continent:3 E. Franklin Frazier, Lorenzo Dow Turner, Melville and Frances Herskovits, Roger Bastide, Pierre Verger, Charles Wagley, Alfred Metraux and Marvin Harris [Sansone, 2011, 2013]. One way or another they all related to each other in one large network and often as colleagues or even friends, had research experience in both ethnic and African studies, and all of them also carried out research in Bahia. These scholars and activists were also interconnected by the debate that received a major thrust in Bahia, namely that between Frazier and Herskovits, which is usually defined as the debate on the origin of the strong incidence of matrifocal family arrangements in the population of African origin in the New World: West African culture survivals versus adaptation to poverty and discrimination [Frazier, 1942, 1943; Herskovits, 1943]. This tense debate was indicative of the much more complex tension surrounding the issue of how to counteract racism against people of African descentby emphasizing their cultural difference or the universal human condition. The essence of this debate, while based on research on poor families in Bahia, reflected the tension between sociology and anthropology in the US and the US politics of race, but would also lead later to the major UNESCO-sponsored program devoted to the study of race relations in Brazil in the period between 1950 and 1964, with which all these scholars were involved one way or another, and, albeit in a less straightforward fashion, on the culture and identity debate during the anti-colonial struggle of former Portuguese colonies in the years 1960-1975. Within this struggle, there was an opposition between a mostly anthropological perspective focused on emphasizing cultural and ethnic diversity and a more sociological perspective stressing the universality of the human condition and the need to deny ancient ethno-cultural differences for the sake of creating a new people and the new human being. This paper, based on research in archives in the US, mostly in the NYC area, includes both references to the history of institutions and biographies and will also present a number of specific cases of thematic and biographic entanglement between Afro-American, Afro-Brazilian and African studies. I will focus on two pivotal characters: Melville J. Herskovits and Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane.

  • 4 I thank the anonymous peer reviewers for their critical suggestions.
  • 5 I thank the Rockefeller Archive Center and the Capes-Print Program at UFBA for the two research gra (...)

2Let me now turn to my archive research in the NYC area. My visits to the archives were in connection with two interrelated research projects that are part of a larger endeavor to scrutinize the circulation of the ideas of race and emancipation from race across the South Atlantic.4 The first visit was to study materials related to the transnational construction of the academic field of Afro-Brazilian studies in the 1930s and 1940s (and even up to 1967). This was a process in which Frances and Melville Herskovits played a predominant role in the period from 1935 to 1967from the year in which a paper was read at the first Afro-Brazilian Congress in Recife relating to Frances Herskovits’ second visit to Bahia in 1967 [Sansone, 2021a]. Foreign scholars, most of them white, interacted with local scholars, also mostly white, from the inception of these studies. Black scholars and black voices were part of this process, and we need to highlight them, but historically they had to struggle to be heard and to be able to generate scientific knowledge that could be generally considered as such [Gledhill, 2020]. The second project focuses on the impact of the making of Afro-American studies and African studies proper, in both North and South America, on the life and trajectory of Mozambican independence leader Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane. The Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC), the archive of the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY), the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the University of Columbia, the library of the United Nations and the Schomburg Center proved highly productive for both research projects.5

Discovering Africanism

  • 6 Here I use these terms as equivalents. In general, négritude has been used in French, Spanish and P (...)

3The first research project deals with the way Brazil, and particularly the State of Bahia, occupied a central position, if not in the actual creation, in the corroboration of the notion of Africanism, or African survival, as articulated by Melville Herskovits, his associates, and the many scholars he influenced [Yelvington, 2006 & 2011; Palmie, 2018]. This notion, in addition to a more general notion of an African cultural essence, would prove pivotal in the subsequent creation of African studies in the US. It would lead to the development of new varieties of négritude or blackness,6 as part of the process leading to the independence of most African countries in the 1960s (the main exceptions to which were the Portuguese colonies and white-dominated Rhodesia, Namibia and South Africa). Africanism also impacted the redefinition of African American identity on the eve of the Civil Rights Movement in the US.

  • 7 These are at the Melville Herskovits Library, Northwestern University, and the Anacostia Museum of (...)
  • 8 The documents are at the Moorland-Spingarn Archive, Howard University.
  • 9 Rockefeller Foundation Records, RFR, Projects SG 1.1, Series 100, International, series 257 Virgin (...)
  • 10 Moseley to Herskovits, April 10, 1941, RFR.

4Between 1941 and 1943, the city of Salvador, Bahia became the site of the battleground between two different perceptions of black integration in the United States and the place of Africa in this process. Franklin Frazier, the most famous black sociologist of the time, who had already published The Negro Family in the United States, was locked into an argument with the equally famous, white, and Jewish anthropologist Melville Herskovits on the origins of the so-called black family. To make things even more complex, both centered their contention on fieldwork done in the same community and sometimes among the same informants: the povo de santo (the members) of a candomblé house of worship in Salvadorthe prestigious and traditional terreiro Gantois, of the Ketu/Yoruba nation. In between the two of them was linguist Lorenzo Dow Turner, who would later publish his seminal book on African influences on Gullah, the language spoken by the people of the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia in the United States [Turner, 2003]. Turner was a friend of Frazier, but his scholarly theories were closer to Herskovits’ [Sansone, 2011, 2021a and 2023]. The Rockefeller Archive Center does not appear to hold documents relating to Lorenzo Dow Turner,7 and regarding E. Franklin Frazier,8 I have only found a couple of cross-references. However, it does contain very important documents on Melville Herskovits, on his successful application to the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) for a grant for one year of fieldwork in Brazil.9 In the RF Archives, there is also material on the years immediately afterward (1942-1945), which show how the research in Brazil consolidated Herskovits’ career in the US and was, in fact, a stepping stone toward the establishment of African Studies proper at Northwestern University. The collection also documents the consolidation of his role as a transnational gatekeeper in both the field of African American and, later, African studies [Gershenhorn, 2004; Yelvington, 2011]. Herskovits started contacting the RF about a possible trip to Brazil in the latter half of 1940. By April 1941, his application for a USD 10,000 grant was ready. He sensed that the RF was interested in the promotion of Latin American Studies, as well as the promotion abroad, and especially in Latin America, of social sciences developed in the US.10 Herskovits had extensive research experience in the Caribbean and Africa; Brazil was the only important country of what today we would call the Black Atlantic, in which he had not yet been able to carry out research. It would end up being the country where he and Frances spent the most time doing research, 12 months, even though for a set of reasons I explore elsewhere [Sansone, 2021a] they never got to publish the comprehensive book on Brazil they had planned to produce. The grant he was now applying for would help fill this gap. Herskovits’ poor command of Portuguese was an issue, and Joseph Willits, the director of RF’s Division of the Social Sciences, in a very polite manner, suggested that he familiarize himself with that language before making his trip.

  • 11 Willits’ note to the TF, May 23, 1941, RFR.
  • 12 Herskovits to Willits June 23, 1941, RFR.

5Herskovits did not take his advice.11 On June 11, the grant was approved. The Herskovits family sailed to Brazil from NY on August 29 on a Moor-Cormack vessel.12 On November 5, 1941, Herskovits wrote a fairly long letter to Willits comparing interestingly the intellectual climate at the University of São Paulo (USP) and at the Escola Livre de Sociologia with that of the Faculdade de Filosofia in Rio. According to him, the latter, even though more established, was less intellectually stimulating, and less vibrant. Willits answered promptly on November 17, remarking that the contrast between São Paulo and Rio was interesting and needed further exploration. On December 12, Herskovits wrote about a process he deemed promising: the establishment of the Faculdade de Filosofia da Bahia, a college of liberal arts, under the leadership of Isahias Alvesa man Herskovits held in high esteem. The main problem was the complete lack of funding. The government provided the building, but the rest was not being provided fornot even salaries. Most professors had to make a living elsewhere. Many were medical doctors and their earnings came from their practice. This lack of full-time dedication was a major problem here, as elsewhere in Brazil. One can imagine, said Herskovits, what such an institute would be if it could benefit from a few men of the standing of Gilberto Freyre, then the leading sociologist in Brazil.

  • 13 Candleman to MJH, 1942, p. 2165, RFR.
  • 14 Herskovitz to J. Willits, May 26, 1942, RFR.
  • 15 Willits to Herskovits October 20, 1942, RFR.
  • 16 Herskovits to Willits, November 4, 1942, RFR.

6After completing his fieldwork in Bahia, Herskovits was nominated honorary professor of the recently opened Faculdade de Filosofia da Bahia, which devoted its first public conference, held on May 6, 1942 in the main hall of the Instituto Normal (A Manhã, April 30, 1942), to the reading of Herskovits’ report on his research in Brazil. In June, since Herskovits had already left for the US, the honorific title was delivered to Mr. Candleman, the representative of the US Consulate in Salvador da Bahia, who later forwarded it to Herskovits.13 The correspondence indicates that the then recent development of social science institutes in Brazil, in the years 1940-1942, especially the Instituto de Altos Estudos Políticos e Sociais in Rio and the Escola Livre de Sociologia in São Paulo, was closely observed by the US consulates. The Rockefeller Foundation, notably Joseph Willits, also showed considerable interest. Herskovits reported on these centers and suggested to Willits that it would be interesting for the Rockefeller Foundation to invest also in centers in the north of Brazil such as in Recife and Salvador. Thus far, they had received much less funding.14 It is obvious that Herskovits had his plan of action, liked certain people more than others, and was ready to express his preferences. His report on fieldwork in Brazil was very much appreciated by Willits, who stated, “It is excellent and will be very useful to us. It states very clearly the possibilities and limitations of social sciences grants in Brazil”.15 By way of a reply, Herskovits advised Willis to “treat it as a confidential document. Some of the comments mightn’t be so good for the Good Neighbor Policy!”16

7On December 12, 1942, Herskovits wrote to Willits applying for funding for two brilliant Brazilian scholars, Octavio Eduardo and René Ribeiro, and suggested a substantial donation for the new Faculdade de Filosofia da Bahia, which had greatly impressed him. Alas, on December 16, Willits answered, “Our position is averse to initiating any general support for the institution in Bahia. Humanities have one case up for support for a fellowship from Bahia but have no idea whether there will be a chance for a project there any time soon.” From this correspondence, one gathers that such funds for Bahia would never come from the Rockefeller Foundation. Herskovits kept on sending his publications on Brazil and a copy of the recordings he did in Brazil to the RF until 1958, when he published a book in honor of the late Paul Rivet. It included a chapter on the social organization of candomblé and would be his last publication on Brazil [Herskovits, 1958].

  • 17 Brazilian newspapers devoted a lot of attention to the couple. For example, the newspaper A Manhã c (...)

8From 1943, Herskovits tried to raise financial support for the Institute of Philosophy of Bahia, which would later merge with the Federal University of Bahia, founded in 1957. For some reason, this application was not successful. He kept supporting this Institute by donating books to its library, both his publications, as well as other books of general interest that Northwestern University was able to ship out to him. Herskovits and his spouse Frances, who was in fact the co-author of much of his work, would never get to publish the book they proudly announced in their interview with the Rio daily newspaper, A Manhã on July 5, 1942.17

  • 18 The main ones were the then young Vivaldo da Costa Lima and Julio Braga. Allow me to mention that C (...)

9A few years after Herskovits’ death, in 1967, his wife Frances returned to Bahia for follow-up research with the intention of publishing this book after all. Despite the extensive fieldwork she carried out over a period of about two weeks, in which she demonstrated that she too was a first-rate anthropologist, and the extensive interviewing of a cluster of informants of their research in the 40s, this second attempt to publish a book on the Herskovits’ research in Brazil was not successful. Evidence for this effort can be found in the Schomburg Center Archives where the field notes are kept. It was also documented by the Brazilian press, which reported on Frances’ activities and showed that several colleagues from the Centro de Estudos Afro-Orientais (CEAO) of the Federal University of Bahia18 had assisted her as fieldwork assistants and key informants as well.

  • 19 EM to MJH, December 18, 1952. In: Field Trip to Africa 1952-1953. MJH Papers, Northwestern Universi (...)

10In many ways, Herskovits became the patron of Brazilian anthropology in the sense that he created conditions for the first Brazilian doctoral students in anthropology to receive a grant to study in the US. At the Rockefeller Archive Center there are important documents relating to Octavio da Costa Eduardo, possibly the first Brazilian to actually obtain a Ph.D. in anthropology, as well as numerous references to other Brazilian or Brazil-based intellectuals. Among them, Gizela and José Valladares in Salvador, Ruy Coelho, René Ribeiro in Recife, Kurt Niemandaju and the powerful Dona Heloísa Torres, director of the National Museum in Rio, who applied for grants with assistance from Herskovits or whose application was assessed by him. Soon Herskovits would also become the leading figure in African studies in the US. In many respects Turner and Frazier would soon move from Afro-American to African studies, or rather to a combination of the two fields. On coming back from their field trip in Brazil the three scholars became involved with the creation of the first programs of African studies in US universities, Turner at Fisk (1943), Frazier at Howard (1945) and Herskovits at Northwestern (1948) (see Sansone forthcoming). Needless to say, the latter was much more successful in obtaining funding and political backing. As part of this project, the Herskovitses organized many field trips to Africa, such as the one in 1952-1953, during which they also visited Mozambique (then Portuguese East Africa). This visit was organized by his student and protégé, Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane, who provided useful tips, connections with the colonial authorities and local contacts, including his friends and relatives.19

The making of cosmopolitan nationalism in Africa

  • 20 Even though formally independent from academia, these institutions also fed on the cultural and pol (...)

11Certain aspects of the North-South exchange described above, and the categories, theoretical stands, narratives and viewpoints it contributed to developing, subsequently influenced African scholars and independence activists, as is well known, especially after the 1930’s, when African intellectuals and political leaders became very much attuned to the way Africa and things African were constructed from without, not only in the Diaspora but also in academia. As previously mentioned, my second research project deals with the rich and complex biography of Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane (1920-1969), one of the founders and second president of the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo). A project such as this addresses issues of authenticity, internationalism and memory struggle, personified in someone who was a trained sociologist, had taught anthropology in the US up until the first year of his engagement with the liberation struggle in 1963, and lived abroad most of his lifethirteen years of which in the US. In that country, he was one of the first Africans to engage in race relations research, for his MA and Ph.D. at Northwestern, and became familiar with the Civil Rights Movement, black activism, and liberal black and white support for the anti-colonial struggle through organizations such as CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), created in 1942, and ACOA (American Committee on Africa), created in the mid-1950s, first in the Chicago area and later in NYC.20

  • 21 Eduardo C. Mondlane is linked to four different files in the Rockefeller Archive Center collections (...)

12My interest in Eduardo Mondlane (hereafter EM) took shape through a classic case of serendipity when I came across a file about him in the Melville Herskovits Papers at Northwestern University. I knew how important Mondlane had been to the history of independent Mozambique, but I had no idea that he had been one of Herskovits’ most cherished pupils, even though, formally, he had not been supervised for his M.A. and Ph.D. by him, but by the renowned sociologist Kimball Young. I gathered that their families had been in contact for decades, creating and recreating a complex transnational network of contacts, affections and joint interests. I realized that in the years 1950-1980, there had been several contact points between the trajectory of Mondlane and his family and that of Herskovits and his family, who were always on friendly terms and in relatively frequent contact (in Oberlin-Ohio, Chicago, Mozambique, New York, Lisbon and Bahia), even after the death of Melville Herskovits in 1963 and the assassination of Mondlane in 1969. My research covers EM’s study in social services and social sciences in South Africa (1944-1948), the year in Lisbon (1950), the BA at Oberlin College (1952), the MA and Ph.D. in Sociology at Northwestern University,21 his lecturing in anthropology from 1961 at Syracuse University; and 1963, with the presidency of Frelimo, based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

  • 22 Ford Foundation grant 09650345, Archive on the life and legacy of Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane, The He (...)
  • 23 See, among others, an interesting paper on W. Wilson from Syracuse University written in 1962; an a (...)
  • 24 The situation of the Shore Collection is confusing on some points. The physical archive is at Oberl (...)

13This friendly connection was confirmed in personal interviews and email exchanges with both Jean Herskovits and Janet Mondlane. Even though he was a student in the Department of Sociology, EM had a close association with Herskovits. Mondlane was a student of the sociologist George Eaton Simpson at Oberlin College. Simpson was a friend and ally of Herskovits, having conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Haiti and having spent a period as a postdoctoral scholar at Northwestern in the fall of 1936 working with Herskovits. Herskovits knew Mondlane through Simpson. Even before Mondlane was accepted at Northwestern for his M.A., he appeared with Herskovits in 1952 on an NBC radio discussion on “Africa in the Modern World” (University of Chicago Roundtable, January 6, 1952). Shortly afterward, in the spring of 1952, Mondlane appeared in Herskovits’s seminar at Northwestern (see correspondence in the Melville J. Herskovits Papers, Northwestern University, Box 56, Folder 48). The same year Herskovits wrote a recommendation on behalf of Mondlane to the Department of Sociology. He wrote to Kimball Young, the chair of the Department of Sociology, alerting him that Mondlane was applying for a scholarship “to work in your department” and providing a strong recommendation for Mondlane’s application for a scholarship. At the same time, Herskovits wrote to Mondlane saying he was “dropping a note to the Department of Sociology in support of your request for a grant” (Herskovits to Young, December 19, 1952; Herskovits to Mondlane, December 19, 1952). After the completion of his M.A., but with his Ph.D. still not finished, Mondlane asked Herskovits to write a letter of recommendation for him in 1958 for his application for the post of lecturer at the University College of Ghana. Herskovits wrote a letter of support indicating that “He has been admitted a candidacy for the Ph.D. I do not know at the moment what the status of his thesis is, but I imagine it is well along toward completion” (Box 79, Folder 21, Herskovits to I.C.M. Maxwell, June 30, 1958). It is worth stressing that Simpson became a life-long friend of Mondlane and had been important for Brazilian scholars studying people of African descent in Brazil, because of his study on Xango in Trinidad, which had been influenced by Rene Ribeiro’s study of Xango in Recife [1949], under Herskovits’ supervision, and that Kimball Young was very close to not only to Melville Herskovits and Mondlane, but also to E. Franklin Frazier [Sansone, 2022]. The Ford Foundation Archives were deposited at the Rockefeller Archive Center. Mondlane and, even more significantly, one of his mentors in the US, Melville Herskovits, was a Ford Foundation grantee. The archives also contain interesting documents associated with other foundations that, after scrutiny, reveal interesting connections to Mondlane’s trajectory: for example, a Ford Foundation file on Mondlanes’s project for training in higher education at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.22 Moreover, the Rockefeller Archive Center recently received a complete copy of the Herbert Shore Collection. The latter is the most comprehensive archive on Mondlane, bits and pieces of which I had seen at Oberlin College (Ohio) and the Historical Archive of Mozambique in Maputo. From the documents it can be gathered not only how much EM was respected both as an intellectual (with a Ph.D.) and as a political leader, but also how important the training of cadres for the liberation front was for EM. For this, he saw the university as a potential ally. There is plenty of evidence that from 1962 to 1964 EM even tried to combine his position as professor of anthropology at the Maxwell Center23 with the position of president of the Mozambican Liberation Front. EM also continued somehow to collaborate as a consultant with the United Nations, notably the Trusteeship Division, even after he left the UN in 1961. This combination of training in anthropology and familiarity with the UN inspired him to write several texts that are conceived of more as academic papers or reports than as political pamphlets.24 If the techniques and style of the social sciences had quite a bearing on his militancy, so had the experience at the UN. From July 24 to August 4, 1967, EM attended a UN International Seminar in Lusaka, where he presented a Consultant Paper. On reading this work, one senses that in the years 1963-1969, EM was undergoing radical change together with the radicalization of both the Cold War and guerrilla activities in Mozambique. When living in the United States, EM had been often quite skeptical as regards black activism. However, in a long interview in the Northwestern University Alumni Magazine in December 1968 (p. 30), roughly one month before his assassination, he shows solidarity with blacks in the US and says that their struggle is his.

  • 25 The archive of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, the mission of which was supporting African-American and Afr (...)

14The collection of documents on Mondlane of the Herbert Shore Archive still merits close study.25 The set that is part of the Ford Foundation Archives consists of eight reels of microfilm, each with hundreds of images. The first reel contains mostly EM’s material (papers, book chapters, leaflets, pamphlets, articles in journals and bulletins). Reel 2 contains the very rich correspondence for the years 1950-1969. Especially in the first years, he received many letters in Shangana from friendssometimes addressed to “amigo Mondlane America”, relatives and even European collaborators of the Swiss Mission. Reel 3 consists of Janet Rae Mondlane’s documents and correspondence. Janet, Eduardo’s wife, was to play a key role in Mozambican politics even after his death and continuing to the present. In this reel can be found the project for the creation of an EM archive, which has yet to see the light, as well as many letters to and from George Houser, the Methodist clergyman who was the director of the ACOA for more than a decade. The reel also contains most of the documents regarding the Mozambique Institute, which the Mondlanes created in Dar es Salaam with the help of foreign foundations, especially the Ford Foundation and, later, Nordic foundations. In Reel 4, there are many articles about the Mondlanes. Among them, I singled out the ones by Aquino de Braganca (n 1505), John Marcum, William Minter (n 2716), Presbyterian Life (n 3307) and the World Council of Churches (n 2203). Reel 5 is devoted to material about Eduardo and Janet Mondlane, mostly clippings from the press. The bulk of it is about EM’s assassination in January 1969. There are very interesting clippings, such as those on EM’s expulsion from the University of Witwatersrand in 1948 (which caused a wave of student protest at the university) or those in which EM is called an African prince (which he was not). Other clippings show that when in 1954 in Chicago EM addressed a large Methodist youth audience and brought the house down, he was presented as the son of a traditional chief (which he was). Reel 6 contains the correspondence by third persons concerning the Mondlanes. Here, too, there is a predominance of correspondence relating to EM’s assassination and its aftermath. Reel 7 contains Frelimo Publications and Reel 8 consists of the list of contents of the entire archive, which are listed in chronological as well as in thematic order, and according to the name of people or organizations.

  • 26 This research project relates to the project for the development of a physical and digital archive (...)

15In the almost thirteen years he spent in the United States Mondlane spent time at several institutions, and in all of them, as I have already seen in the testimony of people who knew him as well as in documents, he left (noteworthy) memories and recollections: Oberlin College,26 Northwestern University, Boston College, Harvard University, Trusteeship Commission of the UN, and Syracuse University. In this period, he drew closer to several prominent scholars besides Melville Herskovits such as George Simpson, Marvin Harris, and Ralph Bunche. These friendships and contacts would become useful many years later, when seeking resources and support for the struggle for Mozambique’s independence. Mondlane conducted research on racial attitudes of whites and blacks in the North and South of the United States for his masters and doctoral degrees [Sansone, 2011]. He attended groups and events associated with the Methodist and Presbyterian churches [Faris, 2014], and engaged in sui generis anti-colonial activism, giving many interviews on TV, in the newspapers, and on the radio, and participating in conferences and meetings. His stay in New York to work at the United Nations corresponded almost perfectly to the enchanted moment in the internationalist anti-colonial struggle: 1960-1964. For Eduardo, these, on the other hand, were also pleasurable years of family life, meeting with friends and enjoying the cosmopolitan city of New York. In fact, for him, there was a moment of significant growth in terms of contact networks between 1960 and 1964.

16Soon things would change and toughen up, starting from 1963 with the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the intensification of the Cold War in Africa. Frelimo was formed in the year before as part of a great social engineering project, namely the formation of a Mozambican “new people”. From 1965 onward, there was almost no going back and there were no escape valves, and the social and cultural capital of Mondlane, which had contributed to attracting international attention around the struggle for independence of Mozambique, worked less well, especially inwardly in Mozambique, in terms of the relationship with the incipient guerrilla movement. It was also a period associated with coups in Brazil in 1964 and Indonesia in 1965, the consolidation of the Mobutu dictatorship in Zaire in 1965, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy in 1968. It was, moreover, the heyday of the Vietnam war, the end of which led to radical changes in the policies and practice of US-based foundations, with some of them, such as the Ford Foundation, seeking more independence from the Department of State, while a new cohort of conservative foundations were set up to support US hegemony in the world [Plummer, 2013; Parmar, 2012].

17In short, Eduardo Mondlane built himself up as a cosmopolitan leader. Outside Mozambique, his academic training and personal trajectory were a great bonus, even helping in the struggle to raise resources. I emphasize that “inwardly” the cosmopolitanism and international transit of Mondlane worked much less well than “outwardly”. He was accused by several militants of “liking books too much”, not being resolute in decisions, of traveling too much, managing too many resources and, last but not least, of being married to Janet Rae, who was white and American (an extraordinary activist who would remain relatively active on the political scene in Mozambique for several decades after Mondlane’s assassination).

18In his trajectory there were contingencies and choices, constrictions and opportunities, in a continuous confrontation with injustice, first of all of a racial nature. Here I need to add a remark in parenthesis. It has often been said that Mondlane was less interested in the narratives associated with blackness and was essentially not racialist. It seems that, indeed, the relation to the views on the notion of blackness he held and shared with many other Frelimo cadres, was relatively discreet and that he did not think that racial identities should be exacerbated in the process of emancipation of a new country like Mozambique. This, however, does not mean that he was “color blind” or that he did not perceive racial hierarchies and discrimination. An analysis of the documents and testimonies I found in the archives for the years 1964-1969 indicates that he was very much aware of racism and had been a victim of racism on several occasions in Mozambique, South Africa, Portugal and the US. Mondlane developed discourse on racial hierarchies as a factor of dehumanization but never believed in strategic essentialism, or in the radical and political use of racial categories: to him race was a problem and the notion of race could not be form part of the solution. He looked closely at the US racial context and endorsed the strategy of the civil rights movement and later the black power movementof the latter he liked the ends much better than the means and style. In this respect Mondlane differed from other African leaders, including his contemporary Frantz Fanon, with whom he might have had personal contact, possibly in New York. In the process of creating and consolidating Frelimo, the question of color always existedwhich was a case in point. It is also thanks to Mondlane’s efforts that the racial question was never celebrated or emphasizedat least until 1969. Mondlane never let himself be drawn into the doxa.  

19One of the key questions of this research is to what extent had Mondlane a canonical mindset, and to what extent he was innovative compared to the other prominent African leaders of his day. Some characteristics that differentiate him from the other leaders of the former Portuguese colonies can be easily identified: he was the only one who studied (mostly) in the United States, maintained a less ambiguous relationship with the Portuguese language, and developed and nurtured a more diverse and certainly more academic contact network.

20Mondlane, in addition, remained interested in the social sciences until the end, and received and read many books, even corresponded with researchers and wrote a couple of reviews of books written by anthropologists from Dar es Salaam. Moreover, in his quest for a “third way”, EM took decisions that were not orthodox at that time. An important example is the fact that in 1963 he considered that Brazil (and, more specifically the Center of Afro and Oriental Studies of the Federal University of Bahia) could be the place to train the future generation of independent Mozambique cadres under the leadership of anti-Salazar Portuguese historian Agostinho da Silva. It was Marvin Harris through Darcy Ribeiro, then Brazil Minister of Education, who put EM in touch with da Silva, the driving force behind the creation of the CEAO in 1959. Alas, the 1964 coup put an end to this experiment.

  • 27 EM was one of the first African members of the African Studies Association.

21Ideas belonging to the social sciences concerning the question of race, négritude or blackness, Africanism, and African modernity contribute greatly to the richness of EM’s biography, as well as to his original anti-racism and multicultural, but not pro-ethnic vision of a future Mozambican nation [Mondlane, 1969]. The combination of traditional African education, training in the Swiss Mission and his close relationship with the Methodist-Presbyterian international network, his masters and doctoral studies in the United States, and work for the United Nations Trustee Commission, his lecturing in anthropology and leadership of the struggle for independence in Mozambique enrich his personality and make it as fascinating as it is complex.27

  • 28 EM was in contact with University of Columbia anthropologist and Brazilianist Charles Wagley who al (...)

22When we analyze Mondlane’s trajectory, a first consideration that reveals new and much needed research clues is that the history of the decolonization of Mozambique, and the ideas produced in this process, are not limited to the history between Portugal and Africa. Indeed, in the case of the Palop (African countries with Portuguese as an official language), this process was even more international than in most African countries (with the possible exception of Algeria). It took place some ten years after other countries in Africa, and in the middle of the Cold Wara time that produced strong and completely new international networks. In the course of Mondlane’s life, one sees a great number of actors and agents, from many different countries and from different fields and areas of study: the United States (social scientists,28 CORE and ACOA, the Presbyterian and Methodist network, the Northwestern Alumni Association, and black activism in Chicago), Switzerland (Geneva and Lausanne the World Council of Churches), Brazil (through Melville Herskovits, Charles Wagley, Marvin Harris, Darcy Ribeiro, and Agostinho da Silva), Algeria, Tunisia, China, the USSR (as well as Bulgaria, Romania and the DDR), Congo, South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Senegal, Egypt, Vietnam, Sweden, Holland, Germany, England, Italy and Paris (the journal entitled Présence Africaine).

23Even though for several reasons including the relative marginality of former Portuguese colonies in terms of research, there has been less research on EM than on other African leaders, there is by now a significant volume of scholarship and there are several archives to consult. On the trajectory of Mondlane this includes Manghezi [1999]; Borges Graça [2000]; Cruz e Silva e Alexandrino [1991]; Cossa [2001]; Duarte de Jesus [2010]; and with particular reference to his involvement with the Swiss Mission and the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, Faris [2014]. There are also a small number of theses and dissertations dedicated to Mondlane, such as Matsinhe [2001] and Samuel [2003]. Furthermore, a wide variety of libraries and archives, each with its limitations and internal policy, should be consulted. There are, in short, eight categories of source material.

  1. 1948-1960: correspondence with the Swiss missionary clerics and the Swiss Mission in general, available in the Archives CantonalesVaudoises -;

  2. 1950-1969: correspondence with Eduardo’s wife, Janet Mondlane which is kept in a private archive by the Mondlane family. A large part of this correspondence is available in Manghezi [1999] and Janet Rae Mondlane [2007];

    • 29 I also researched the correspondence between Herskovits and Mondlane at the Schomburg Center, and o (...)

    1950-1962: correspondence and documents in the United States (Oberlin College, Northwestern University, Harvard University, Syracuse University, Boston University, and the United Nations, the RAC, the Schomburg Center, the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia, the National Anthropological Archive of the Smithsonian, the ACOA Archive);29

  3. 1961-1969: documents in the National Archive of the Torre do Tombo (ANTT) in Lisbon, notably the archives of the PIDE and the Security Services, especially the SCCIM. Here there are many documents about and by the Mozambique Institute;

  4. The writings of Mondlane: poems, plays, master’s thesis, doctoral thesis, tests and essays in the masters and doctorate courses, texts, articles, interviews, and autobiographical notes (the Herbert Shore Collection, Oberlin College and the RAC);

  5. Publications about Mondlane, especially magazines and newspaper articles, but also bulletins and pamphlets - either praising or villifying the figure of Mondlane (Herbert Shore Collection, Oberlin College and RAC);

    • 30 I am in touch with Janet Mondlane and with her two daughters and son, all of whom have contributed (...)

    Writings by Janet Mondlane and interviews with her30 [Janet Rae Mondlane 2007, 2009];

  6. Another set of intellectual resources is that of political writers, activists and public figures in Tanzania, some still alive, from the 1970s, and even a few who knew Mondlane personally in Dar es Salaam. This requires an exercise in critical oral history that would bring those who were politically active in Dar during the period face-to-face, physically or virtually, with contemporary or subsequent relevant writings, both published and unpublished, including grey literature of the period focusing on liberation movements.

24Each type of source illuminates one aspect of Mondlane’s life story and there is a plurality in the archives. Indeed, if we ask ourselves what the heart of Mondlane’s thinking is, the answer will largely depend on which files we are using. We have, therefore, the archives of the churches, academic life, personal life, Frelimo, Secret Police/PIDE, and the memory of friends and old comrades. There will certainly be others. Faced with this plurality and diversity which show the unfolding of the life of a complex and progressively more mature but also more difficult and realistic man—and, in some ways, in opposition to them, one has the conviction that Mondlane was posthumously constructed as a national hero in a project of monumentalization of his biography. In this process of transforming Mondlane into a hero and symbol of the new nation, the state and other agents both took up part in the practices by which the colonial state created its symbols in what was called a colonial memorial complex [Werbner, 1998]. They created new instruments and discourses that highlight a radical rupture with the colonial past.

  • 31 As I have detailed elsewhere [Sansone, 2021b], this became the focus of a considerable amount of sc (...)

25Let me close on this part by adding that, as is well-known, the Herskovits papers and documents are in several places (the Smithsonian Institute, Northwestern University, the Schomburg Center and the RAC), and this distribution (or is it dispersion?) in itself gives cause for some reflection. The documentation concerning Eduardo Mondlane is even more complex. Eduardo Mondlane and his wife Janet Rae Mondlane were grantees of the Ford Foundation in the years 1963-1968. The Foundation was the main sponsor of the educational activities of the training school for Mozambican refugees in Dar es Salaam called the Mozambique Institute.31 Soon after Mondlane’s assassination, the Ford Foundation, as I was able to confirm at the RAC, supported a project to construct an archive and possibly even a museum dedicated to Mondlane. A second grant was given to complete the collection of material a few years later. The Herbert Shore Collection also received the support of the Ford Foundation. I still have to investigate why and how both these projects were not completed, and how and why the Herbert Shore Collection on Eduardo Mondlane, after having been deposited at the library of Oberlin College, Ohio, was recently also deposited, in a somewhat different and more organized format, at the RAC. The complexity of the life of EM also resides in mysteries such as these.

Entangled biographies and archives

26After perusing these archives in the NYC area I have come to a few provisional conclusions. My research has corroborated the central place of Herskovits in the making of the social sciences in Brazil and especially Bahia, within first the Good Neighbor Policy and later, from 1948 to the 1960s, the hot-cold cultural war. Herskovits’ activism developed an international network that saw the intersection of a whole array of local, national, international and transnational agendas. Brazil and especially the state of Bahia, which has one of the highest percentages of people of African descent in the country, took a key place in it. Especially in the periods from 1930 until 1960when African decolonization started on a large scale and new research agendas were setthe style, jargon, priorities, fashions, political concerns and methodology of African studies and African-American studies were interrelated. They both had to deal with issues of racism and civil rights, agency and coloniality of theory and practice [Plummer, 2013]. The research also highlights the exceptional standing of EM as a guerrilla leader with training in the social sciences. A focus on connections, cross-overs and the cosmopolitan nature of nationalism, rather than on a supposedly intrinsic separation and tension between Afro-American and African studies or a narrow, largely nation-centered understanding of the making of nationalism, has helped to highlight the several direct and indirect connections between the making of Afro-Brazilian studies and the intellectual biography of Eduardo Mondlaneand, secondly, of how entangled and transnational the intense relationship between Afro-American and African studies was in the years 1940-1970 also in Brazil [see, a.o., Seigol 2009]. For instance, Frazier, Turner and Herskovits argued in Bahia on the polemic issue Africanity of the matrifocal model in black families, whether it was the result of slavery and poverty or was due, on the contrary, to an African manner of conceiving households. The notion of Africanism was developed by Herskovits in the New Worldespecially based on fieldwork in Haiti, Surinam and Bahiawhile relating to several supposedly traditional societies in West Africa. The experience of racism in colonial Mozambique and apartheid South Africa motivated Mondlane to continue his studies in the US, where he was inspired but also puzzled by the Civil Rights Movement and later the Black Power Movement. The tension between particularism and universalism in the emancipation of black people in the diaspora and the process of decolonization or struggle for independence is a transatlantic debate embodied in the trajectories of Herskovits and EM. Besides calling for more attention for the transit of ideas and notions between field studies, and not just within them, I suggest giving more importance to the biographies and trajectories of scholars who venture beyond the border of single field and area studies, with an emphasis also on affection and friendship, in an attempt to elicit crossovers and possibilities that an exclusive focus on the limits, animosity and power relations imposed by the hegemonic geopolitics of knowledge might otherwise make invisible.

27The second conclusion is that a great deal of this entanglement between research fields and biographies is due to the central place that many US-based Foundations have played as providers of resources in both fields of study. In African and African-American studies writ large, although US-based foundations have not been present everywhere in Africa and Afro-America, they have certainly been active in many more places and contexts than I had imagined. Whilst any national and transnational history of anthropology and related disciplines must naturally consider the geopolitics of knowledge [Patterson, 2001; Yelvington, 2006, 2011; Parmar, 2012; William, 2001; Rosenfield, 2014], there can be no thorough history of the social sciences in Brazil without consulting the archives in the NYC area!

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Matsinhe Cristiano, 2001, “Biografia e heróis no imaginário nacionalista moçambicano”, in P. Fry (org.), Moçambique. Ensaios, Rio de Janeiro, Editora UFRJ, p. 181-224.

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Mondlane Janet Rae, 2007, O eco da tua voz. Cartas editadas de Eduardo Mondlane, vol. 1, 1920-1950, Maputo, Imprensa Universitaria.

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1 This text owes a lot to the seminal conversations with the colleagues Capucine Boidin, Kadja Tall and Melanie Toulhoaut during my stay in Paris in 2021 thanks to an invitation as visiting professor at the IHEAL/CREDA. This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) - Finance Code 001.

2 To a lesser extent, French scholars, notably Roger Bastide and Pierre Verger, had a considerable influence on the making of Afro-Brazilian studies and on the social sciences in general in Brazil [Ian Merkel, 2021]. The same can be said of the Swiss-American Alfred Metraux, who became instrumental in the consolidation of research on race relations in Brazil, especially through his position at UNESCO in the period between 1950 and 1963 [Sansone, 2021b].

3 On the history of African studies in Brazil, see Reis [2015], Sansone [2020] and It is worth mentioning that since 2005, CEAO/UFBA has hosted Posafro (Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Ethnic and African Studies), the only program of its kind to the south of the Rio Grande that offers a Ph.D., which, as its name indicates, brings together ethnic studies and African studies - In the case of Brazil, the close connection between Afro-Brazilian studies and African studies is yet another indication that the making of African studies did not occur spontaneously but was a reflection of the local and national context, in which race relations, the existence of a large population share of African origin and/or the colonial or imperial tradition of the country play a central role [Sansone, 2020]. For some observers [Cahen, 2013] this phenomenon constitutes a weakness of African studies carried out from Brazil, because it limits the impact of trans-Atlantic slavery in Africa. Furthermore, on account of the lack of foreign language skills and the generally poor level of internationalization of Brazilian universities has led to an excessive focus on Lusophone countries with which Brazil has always had more connections. The shared history of African-American and African studies is nonetheless seen in an increasingly positive light by scholars in the US. The presidential address by Jean Allman to the annual conference of the African Studies Association (ASA) in 2018 was entitled “Herskovits Must Fall”, a direct reference to the South African movement “Rhodes Must Fall”. Besides arguing in favor of freeing the association from its allegiance to Herskovits, Allman insisted on a more central role for African-American scholars in African studies [Allman, 2020]. In 2019 the ASA gave their main award to Pearl Robinson, the African-American historian renowned for her work on Ralph Bunche, and at the same conference, Maria Grosz’s presidential lecture dealt with the importance of African-American agency in African studies. Furthermore, one should not underestimate the fact that the financing of both African American and African studies in the US was made possible through the resources of the very same foundations, principally the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Phelps-Stokes Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation and Fund, the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Social Science Research Council. On African-Americans in African studies and their support for the struggle for African independence as from the 1920‘s, see, among many others, Plummer, 2013 and Minter & Cobb Jr. (eds.), 2008.

4 I thank the anonymous peer reviewers for their critical suggestions.

5 I thank the Rockefeller Archive Center and the Capes-Print Program at UFBA for the two research grants that enabled me to carry out my research. The RAC is visited regularly by Latin American scholars, especially Brazilians, and contains documents related to the Rockefeller Funds, the Ford Foundation and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). It defines itself as “a major repository and research center for the study of philanthropy and its impact throughout the world” The documents of the Carnegie Foundations are to be found at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Columbia University.

6 Here I use these terms as equivalents. In general, négritude has been used in French, Spanish and Portuguese speaking worlds, whereas “blackness” is preferred in the English speaking countries. It basically refers to the fact of being black, that is, of African origin.

7 These are at the Melville Herskovits Library, Northwestern University, and the Anacostia Museum of the Smithsonian Institute.

8 The documents are at the Moorland-Spingarn Archive, Howard University.

9 Rockefeller Foundation Records, RFR, Projects SG 1.1, Series 100, International, series 257 Virgin Islands FA386. Series 216 Illinois Social Sciences, Subsection 216-S, Box 20: Document 214.9. Northwestern University, Melville Herskovits J., Travel, Anthropology, 1941.

10 Moseley to Herskovits, April 10, 1941, RFR.

11 Willits’ note to the TF, May 23, 1941, RFR.

12 Herskovits to Willits June 23, 1941, RFR.

13 Candleman to MJH, 1942, p. 2165, RFR.

14 Herskovitz to J. Willits, May 26, 1942, RFR.

15 Willits to Herskovits October 20, 1942, RFR.

16 Herskovits to Willits, November 4, 1942, RFR.

17 Brazilian newspapers devoted a lot of attention to the couple. For example, the newspaper A Manhã carried seventeen reports on the couple’s voyage to Brazil.

18 The main ones were the then young Vivaldo da Costa Lima and Julio Braga. Allow me to mention that CEAO is the institute I have been working at for the last 20 years.

19 EM to MJH, December 18, 1952. In: Field Trip to Africa 1952-1953. MJH Papers, Northwestern University.

20 Even though formally independent from academia, these institutions also fed on the cultural and political climate that enabled the consolidation of African-American and African studies in the US [Plummer, 2013].

21 Eduardo C. Mondlane is linked to four different files in the Rockefeller Archive Center collections: —Africa-America Institute (06300425), Ford Foundation Grant #: 06300425 Grantee: Africa- America Institute Grant Purpose: Educational Project for African Refugee Students in Tanzania. Dates: 1963-1964, Reel #: 765, 4076. —Ford Foundation Log File: L56-545 Ford Card Description: Study Group on Problems Related to the Political Independence of the Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi —Rockefeller Foundation Record Group: 2 1963 Series: 779 (Mozambique) Reel: 50, Frame: 73 Mondlane, Eduardo C. —Rockefeller Foundation Record Group: 2 1964 Series: 779 (Mozambique) Reel: 51, Frame: 500. There is also one reference on Mondlane’s Rockefeller Foundation card related to Syracuse University “Maxwell Graduate School (of Citizenship and Public Affairs)” in 1962: Su-Sy, Rockefeller Foundation Record Group: 2 1962 Series: 200 (United States) Reel: 22, Frame: 839 The materials on Mondlane begin at Frame 922, but there is one cross-reference sheet on Frame 905. See also Stephen Bailey to K.W. Thompson, Report by Eduardo Mondlane on the meeting held at RF on July 20 concerning plans for establishing an institute for public administration by the University College of Dar es Salaam, July 30, 1962.

22 Ford Foundation grant 09650345, Archive on the life and legacy of Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane, The Herbert Shore Collection, University of Southern California Doheny Library, Micrographic Department, 1996. Collected in 1969-1996 in Africa, Europe and North America. Microfilming was supported by a grant by the office of Southern Africa, The Ford Foundation.

23 See, among others, an interesting paper on W. Wilson from Syracuse University written in 1962; an article on his work at the Trusteeship Division on Cameroon, “Nationalism and Development in Mozambique”, a paper presented at the University of California Brazil-Portuguese Africa Project, February 27-28, 1968 and at the University of Dar on November 7, 1968; “The Movement for Freedom in Mozambique”, a paper read at The Mediterranean Congress for Culture, June 20-24, 1964, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence; the paper entitled “The Trusteeship System in the United Nations”, prepared for a conference on South West Africa, Oxford, March 1966. Even the text of the opening speech by EM (now called Comrade President) at the Conference of the Department of Education and Culture which took place in Tundura, December 20, 1968, looks more like an academic paper.

24 The situation of the Shore Collection is confusing on some points. The physical archive is at Oberlin College, where I did research in 2016 thanks to the invitation of this College, and where alumnus Mondlane is revered with a large bronze plate. A copy of the microfilms, however, was placed in the Mozambique Historical Archive in Maputo and at the RAC, where they can be viewed using modern machines. This donation took place a short time ago for reasons that are clear not to me nor to thr highly competent RAC archivists. See the Oberlin College Archives website

25 The archive of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, the mission of which was supporting African-American and African scholars that supported Mondlane’s study at Oberlin, can be found at the Schomburg Center of the New York Public Library (NYPL).

26 This research project relates to the project for the development of a physical and digital archive on Eduardo Mondlane to be hosted in the Mozambique Historical Archive (AHM). This archive is conceived of as a collaborative transnational, interdisciplinary and multilingual endeavor based on the notions of digital donation, digital repatriation and digital generosity.

27 EM was one of the first African members of the African Studies Association.

28 EM was in contact with University of Columbia anthropologist and Brazilianist Charles Wagley who also had a short (and troublesome) research experience in Mozambique in 1960 [Macagno, 2018] and a long and friendly exchange with Marvin Harris (who had done research on race relations for his Ph.D. in Bahia in 1950-1956 and attempted to conduct similar research in Southern Mozambique in 1956, but because of his obvious anti-colonial stance was escorted out of the country by the political police PIDE) [Macagno, 2020].

29 I also researched the correspondence between Herskovits and Mondlane at the Schomburg Center, and on Mondlane at the UN Archives.

30 I am in touch with Janet Mondlane and with her two daughters and son, all of whom have contributed to my research in different ways.

31 As I have detailed elsewhere [Sansone, 2021b], this became the focus of a considerable amount of scholarship, especially in the period 1950-1964. In addition, UNESCO, and its network, the hub of which was Paris, played a central role in both fields and contributed to the above-mentioned entanglement.

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Livio Sansone

Full professor at Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil.

Lívio Sansone est professeur titulaire d’anthropologie à l’Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brésil, et chercheur au Centro de Estudos Afro-Orientais de la même université. Il est docteur en anthropologie de l’Universiteit van Amsterdam. Il s’est spécialisé dans l’anthropologie des populations afro-brésiliennes, et ses recherches portent sur les thèmes suivants : les hiérarchies raciales et les inégalités durables, la jeunesse, la mondialisation, la consommation, la patrimonialisation de la culture afro-brésilienne et la négritude, l’Atlantique noir, le transit international des idées de « race » et l’émancipation du racisme, l’histoire de l’anthropologie et sa relation avec le racisme et le colonialisme.

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