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Brazil under the Far Right: Political Antagonism and Discourse Analysis

Professor Idelber Avelar, Tulane University

Date: Time: 5:30 pm
Contact: Joy Castro,
In the past seven years, Brazil has undergone a dizzying sequence of events: a tumultuous election in 2014 followed by a massive impeachment movement, successful impeachment proceedings, corruption scandals leading to countless incarcerations of politicians, and the ascension of a far-right administration. In many ways, Brazil’s current government expresses a collapse in the country’s system for managing antagonisms. But it also, as a movement that stimulates antagonism all the time, expresses the distorted irruption of antagonisms that Brazil’s political system had repressed. This talk addresses the ways in which Brazil’s political system has represented, experienced, and masked antagonisms in the past three decades. The presentation starts by describing the oligarchic democracy that established itself following the dictatorship in the 1980s, the center-right administrations of the 1990s, and the center-left governments of the 2000s. In particular, the talk lingers on lulismo’s particular way of managing antagonisms, during both President Lula’s two terms (2003-2010) and the first two and a half years of President Rousseff’s administration, until that particular arrangement collapsed under the impact of the multitudinous protests of June 2013.

Idelber Avelar is a Full Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Tulane University and affiliated with the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. He is the author of The untimely present: Postdictatorial Latin American Fiction and the Task of Mourning (Duke UP) and The Letter of Violence: Essays on Ethics, Narrative and Politics (Palgrave), among others. His prizes include the MLA Kovacs Singer Award and the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations’ Essay Contest on Machado de Assis. His Eles em nós: retórica e antagonismo político no Brasil do século XXI was published this year by Record press and is now in second edition.

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This event originated in Ethnic Studies.