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Grant number like: FA-50419-04

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B. J. Barickman
Arizona Board of Regents (Tucson, AZ 85721-0073)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2004 – 5/31/2005

A Social History of Public Space in Rio de Janeiro, 1850s-1960s

Based on archival and printed sources, this project traces the social history of sea-bathing and beach-going in Rio de Janeiro from the 1850s to the 1960s, using the beach to examine changing class and racial boundaries in the city. One goal is to show how beach-going in Rio gave rise to new forms of class-based sociability and altered the rules for the acceptable use of public space. Another goal is to analyze the evolving contradictions between the social and racial segregation that characterized beach-going during much of the 20th century and the widely held view of the beach as a "democratic space." That view has clear parallels, which the project will explore, with the once widely accepted notion that Brazil is a "racial democracy." The project will show the importance of beach-going as a class marker from the 1920s on. It also examines the partial breakdown of social-racial segregation at the beach, which, in turn, reflects the inability, over the long run, of Rio's upper- and upper-middle classes to isolate their daily lives from the extreme inequalities that mark Brazilian society as a whole.