Class Notes- February 01, 2018


  •  Tons of grades are posted on Moodle
    • Do not be alarmed since Moodle doesn’t not calculate grades correctly
  • There was a reminder sent on Moodle about the group project and a poll  about what time periods would be the best for watching the three movies.

Blog Post- Jordan Griffin 

His blogpost was about the upcoming presidential election in Brazil and how the two main players are on extreme opposite of the left/right political scale. This election is special because it is coming after the impeachment of the previous president and corruption charges brought against the government. The left political opponent is Da Silva and the right-wing candidate is Bolsonaro. They both want to throw out the current system, but want it replaced with something vastly different.

Class Discussion: To Be a Slave in Brazil

When talking about race in Brazil, it is important to note how the idea of race went from a biological trait to an idea that is implemented within society. In order to talk about slavery, we must know the history of sugar plantations.

How Plantations Worked

Portugal set up the first plantation in Bahia in 1549. However, there were already smaller areas  and Brazil was already in the works for the African Diaspora.

Sugar is one of the most labor intensive labor jobs. it required a a hue industrial processing plant. Once you cut the cane, you only have 24 hours before it goes bad due its short shelf life. With the growing of sugar, the first crop yields the most amount of sugar, but it takes 14-18 months. The second yield takes around 8 months, but the more times it is planted and harvested the less and less sugar is yielded.

Once the canes were cut, it was a fast and harsh process to get it milled/processed as soon as possible. This time was somehow an agricultural time, but needed huge technological advancements for  the actual storing and processing. The machines have these huge wooden rollers that are fed the canes and the juice gets squished out. The rollers are wither ox or water powered. Once the juice is ll collected, the liquid needed to be boiled quickly unless it would go bad. The boiling was supposed to evaporate enough of the water so when it cools it will crystallizes.

Historian say sugar was the worst work to ever be done due to the grueling work hours and the danger that comes with it. it was common during harvest time for the slaves to be working 18 hour work days with being extremely malnourished. Working in sugar ended with many accidents. Slave were either  having their limbs cut off while cutting the cane, getting caught in-between the huge wooden rollers, or during themselves while boiling the sugar. Within the system,  slaves can work into becoming high ranking people on the plantations. Bahia had such an awful reputation for the awful conditions, planters would write guides to each other saying “Plan to replace your entire labor force every 7 years.”


When discussing historiography, we need to think about life expectancy and birth rate. With African men being more favorable, there was an imbalance in the sex in Brazil. At some point, death outpaced births. This was also due to the awful working conditions. Sugar was an economic and racist industry. It was racist because it was the whole idea that these people were disposable. Sugar was able to thrive under the idea of othering. Brazil had a different view of slavery due to the social contracts in Iberia and within the Catholic Church/Law. Portugal believed slavery wouldn’t last forever and they also believed in the equality of souls.


Schwarts argument

Schwarts’ argument was about resistance within Brazilian slavery. He makes the argument that this should not be compared to US slavery in regards to which was tougher.  He talked about the quilombous and palmares, slave fugitive communities, how militarized resistance, and cultural/religious resistance.

For Next Week

  • finish up the Wikipedia stuff
  • We will be discussing independence and how that played a role in the way Brazilians view what being Brazilian and Portuguese means.