Publications and Research
The Making and Silencing of “Axé-Ocracy” in Brazil: Black Women Writers’ Spiritual, Political and Literary Movement in São Paulo
In this article, I will focus on two influential writers from the south of Brazil, Cristiane Sobral who currently lives in Brasília, from Rio de Janeiro, and Conceição Evaristo who currently lives in Rio de Janeiro state, from Minas Gerais. I got to know them in São Paulo in 2015 at a public event: the “Afroétnica Flink! Sampa Festival of Black Thought, Literature and Culture.” I will include references to some of their younger contemporaries such as Raquel Almeida, Jenyffer Nascimento, and Elizandra Souza, all of whom reside in São Paulo, in order to illustrate the Black Brazilian women writers’ resistance in the face of silencing of their spiritual, political and literary movement. Witnessing the obstacles that the two authors faced at a public event that honored their foremother Carolina Maria de Jesus, a Black Brazilian Female writer, and seeing how Sobral and Evaristo overcame those challenges, helps to grasp the context in which their younger contemporaries Raquel Almeida, Jenyffer Nascimento, and Elizandra Souza, are coming of age as adult women writers. This article offers an auto-ethnographic rendering of the “Flink!Sampa” Festival, where the two prominent writers Cristiane Sobral and Conceição Evaristo were visibly marginalized, as well as a close reading of poetry by Raquel Almeida. A close reading of poetry by Raquel Almeida dedicates space to the stark reality of violence against Black women as it pervades the Brazilian life, and is an integral part of Black women’s poetry, calling out the violence that shapes the multi-layered oppression and silencing of Black women. Throughout the article I will point out the poetic, political, and spiritual prowess that inspires, guides, and gracefully dictates how to overcome institutional oppression in Brazil and other parts of the world where women of African descent have to struggle to live, to make money, and to write.
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This work was originally published in Journal of International Women's Studies, available at https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol20/iss8/4