In this well-crafted ethnography, anthropologist Alexander Edmonds explores narratives and practices surrounding plastic surgery in contemporary Brazil. Cosmetic procedures, or estetica, have been increasing rapidly among the urban populations. Rather than simply lamenting the increase of plastic surgeries in a country famous for embracing the sensual, Edmonds instead explores the reasons why estetica has become so popular across race, class, and gender lines. Examining beauty culture in Brazil from an ethnographic perspective, he suggests in Pretty Modern that it is essential to understand what beauty means and does for differently located social actors.
Mutum is a coming of age, low-budget feature about a subsistence farming family living in the sertão, the hardscrabble outback of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The family is so dirt poor and isolated that nearly every meal is rice and a little meat, the roof leaks buckets in a rainstorm, and a person can die from lack of treatment for a minor scrape that becomes infected.
Side Dishes, at times more tasty, original, and irresistible than “the main dishes,” is a delightful, playful, and innovative work about Latina, Brazilian, and Spanish American women writers, filmmakers, cartoonists, and science fiction producers.
Legacies of Race answers many of my personal questions about a strict notion of racial identification among the “black and white” in Brazil. When I visited Rio de Janeiro for the first time in 1993, I was intrigued by the notion of the “Afro-Brazilian” population who viewed themselves as “mixed race” rather than the distinctive “white” or “black” of the United States.
I love step teams, hand-clapping games, and beat-boxing. I even once had a plan to create a band out of fat people playing drumbeats on our stomachs (it was going to be called “Bongo Jam”), but I never thought of this as falling into a specific category of music. Body music, of course. I was lucky enough to attend the opening night performance of the first International Body Music Festival, an extravaganza of performances and workshops, which took place over a weekend in the Bay Area.
Ethnographers, novelists, and prisoners write heart-wrenching books because they present simple truths. Will to Live is a powerful, at points searing ethnography of HIV antibody surveillance systems in Brazil and pharmaceutical industry influence in bringing forth new relations of politics and health care.
The 3 Marias, a gritty 2002 Brazilian film directed by Aluizio Abranches, revisits the age-old theme of revenge, but with a delightful empowering twist. The film opens with haunting opening credits, and the story begins with a rather cryptic yet powerfully operatic scene. The plot then steamrolls forward, introducing the victims of unwelcome murder, and off we go.
Pernambuco is at the heart of Afro-Brazilian tradition. Mangue Bit, the musical style of this album, weaves electronica with the centuries-old rhythm of maracatú _and the stanza-refrain pattern of _embolada. The name “Mangue Bit” combines the Portuguese word for mangrove with a computer bit. Although the waters are brackish, mangrove swamps are diverse ecosystems, and Mangue Bit reflects this fertility.
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