Where the Whip Tears the Flesh
This chapter analyzes the relationship between carnival and Afro-paradise through two genealogies: racial violence in the national legacy of the use of the black body as an ironic transfer point, a fulcrum for constructing the Brazilian nation, specifically at the site of the pelourinho—the place where enslaved Africans were publically whipped in Brazilian colonial society; and black Brazilians' use of performance (theater and dramatic play) to disrupt and refract this process of violence. For generations, the theater has been a key political space for radical black Brazilians to denounce the myth of racial democracy and declare this myth genocidal. The chapter considers these two interlocking genealogies through a look at race, space, and violence in Bahian carnival, the historical relationship between Afro-paradise and the black body in pain, and the relationship between these two contexts and contemporary black political performance in Salvador.
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