Rafael Domingues Lenz Cesar

Spanish and Portuguese Languages and LiteraturesNew York University (NYU)

Award Information

2017 IDRF Program

Spanish and Portuguese Languages and literaturesNew York University (NYU)

Fictions of Racelessness: The Brazilian and Cuban Influence on the Angolan Racial Imaginary (1948-2000s)

My dissertation will examine the circulation of discourses of racelessness in Angolan literary and political texts from 1948 to today. Expressed as rejection of race consciousness, uncritical celebration of race-mixing and silence about the relation between race and colonialism, racelessness reflects the historically imbalanced presence of non-black writers in the mainstream lettered production of Angola. I argue that this discourse 1) is initially forged through the contact of Angolan writers with Brazilian literature, then characterized by the same phenomenon, from 1950s to 1960s; 2) is nurtured by the Cuban cultural and political production, in which racelessness is also hegemonic, from 1960s on, with the civic and military cooperation between Angola and Cuba. Finally, I will look more closely on how these discourses of racelessness legitimated Eurocentric forms of political imagination and, in terms of national imaginary, function as a political technology of racial domination in Angola.