Black Women’s Studies in the United States and Brazil: The Transnational Politics of Knowledge Production

  • Caldwell K
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I was first drawn to Brazil during my sophomore year in college as a result of an eye-opening presentation made by Joselina da Silva, a black Brazilian activist and scholar. She spoke about the political work black women were doing in Rio de Janeiro. Until that point, I had little to no knowledge of Africandescendant communities in Brazil and my curiosity was piqued. Over the past 20 years, my personal and professional endeavors have been focused on trying to better understand black women’s experiences in Brazil and also contributing to efforts to promote racial and gender justice, especially through my research and scholarly projects. As someone who conducts research and teaches courses on black communities in Brazil, other areas of Latin America, and the United States, as well as courses on gender, I often think comparatively about knowledge production in and about these different geographic spaces and ways to challenge the invisibility of black women, particularly in academic research. In this chapter, I reflect on the development of the field of black women’s studies in the United States and some of the challenges to increasing the production of scholarship focused on black women within the academy in Brazil. I also examine some of the problems associated with incorporating black Brazilian women’s experiences and writings into women’s studies in Brazil and black women’s studies in the United States.




Caldwell, K. L. (2016). Black Women’s Studies in the United States and Brazil: The Transnational Politics of Knowledge Production. In Race and the Politics of Knowledge Production (pp. 15–25). Palgrave Macmillan US.

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