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Hegel, Humane Colonialism and the Genealogies of Portuguese Exceptionalism

Lecture by Pedro Schacht Pereira, PhD, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Ohio State University
The writings of Brazilian sociologist Gilberto Freyre (1900-1987) have long been credited with the foundations of Lusotropicalism, a discourse that claims that the Portuguese—due to their perceived hybrid genetic background—were predisposed to pursue policies of interracial marriage that resulted in more harmonious multi-ethnic societies in the tropics, and in the process became more humane colonizers than their northern European counterparts. Recently, scholars have suggested an earlier chronology as well as a European—rather than Brazilian—context of the emergence of this discourse. In my presentation I will examine the merits of this claim. However, rather than the search for elusive origins, I am interested in the identification of modes of writing that persist through the different reiterations of Lusotropicalism. I will follow one lead found in Hegel’s Lessons on the Philosophy of World History, in order to show that the issue of alternative genealogies is interesting to the extent that it allows us to understand that in its earlier formulations Lusotropicalism was already shadowed by arguments that allow for its persuasive refutation.



Monday, October 6, 2014. 04:15PM




Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures & The Iberian Studies Program