Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2008
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, Syracuse University
Uneven Mobilization: Gender, Land and Social Movements in Maranhao, Brazil

Soon after the assassination of female rural leader Maria Margarida Alves in 1983, land justice movements in Brazil staged large marches and demonstrations to protest the rampant human rights abuses in the countryside. By 2000, however, the focus had partially shifted and female leaders began explicitly invoking Margarida's martyrdom as a call for greater gender equality. Since the millennium, the Marcha das Margaridas has come to symbolize the struggle against gender inequalities and the demand for alternatives to "top-down" rural development schemes. My dissertation project investigates the contours of the gender agenda emerging through this historic shift. I will explore how the recent arrival of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and "green" enterprises that promote gender-in-development discourses may alter the ways in which different social movement leaders and participants have come to imagine and instantiate land and gender struggle. Most importantly, I will explore and identify how, in their everyday lives, different women in Brazil's land justice movements, relate to, think about, and/or take-up these newly emergent gender discourses, and in the process, shape dynamic narratives of self and community.