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"Brazilian Race Relations and French Late Colonialism: A Connected Intellectual History" by Ian Merkel, New York University PhD Candidate, October 2, 2017

Ian Merkel

From a political and economic perspective, the relationships between Brazilian social organization and French late-colonialism appear unrelated. But French intellectuals in institutions as varied as UNESCO and the École Pratique des Hautes Études found Brazilian race relations to be a model for "harmonious" coexistence and mixing in the 1950s. Brazil, in a sense, might help to de-escalate colonial conflict. This presentation analyzes this ambiguous connected history between intellectuals such as Gilberto Freyre, Florestan Fernandes, Roger Bastide, and Fernand Braudel.


Ian Merkel is a PhD Candidate in History and French Studies at New York University. He received funding for his dissertation from Fulbright-Hays (Brazil) and the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), among others. This spring, he will be teaching a course on Brazilian intellectual and cultural history here at Cornell.