Hist 298 Paper Proposal

Hist 298 Paper Proposal

European travelers’ accounts of their visits to Brazil, not only document conditions in a slave society, but also how the French viewed native Brazilian women and slaves before and after Brazilian independence in 1822. Often foreigners will observe unfamiliar societies or cultures and compare them to the values and norms of their own, thus creating a cultural bias and making assumptions of a culture based on those biases. Examples of this can be seen in or throughout my sources. My goal is to discuss the views of European travelers on Brazilian women and slaves in society, and discuss the ways in which their gender influences their understanding of everyday life in Brazil.

One primary sources that I will be using is Adele Toussaint-Samson’s A Parisian in Brazil: The Travel Account of a Frenchwoman in Nineteenth- Century Rio de Janeiro (1891). Toussaint- Samson’s A Parisian in Brazil is a primary source written after Brazil gained its independence in the 1850’s as she traveled from France to Brazil with her husband. This source was translated into english in 1891 by her daughter, Emma. Toussaint-Samson’s account provides insight on Brazil’s slaveholding society and culture, as well as describes men and women from different social classes such as the rich and the poor, and the free and enslaved.

Maria Graham’s “Life Among the Elite in Chile and Brazil” (1821-23) is another primary source. “Life Among the Elite in Chile and Brazil” written before, during, and after Brazilian independence in 1822 is a primary source by Maria Graham who stayed at the Imperial court as the governess of Princess Maria de Gloria of Brazil. Graham also had the chance to join rural workers for meals, and visited sugar mills and slave markets. “Life Among the Elite in Chile and Brazil” is a selection of records from her journal that include her visits to elite peoples homes, parties, marriage arrangements, pottery making, and even her meeting a woman who disguised herself as a man to fight for the Brazilian independence struggle. Graham’s travel account offers insight on both upper and lower class life through her own experiences with both social classes during her stay in Brazil.

My last primary source will be “A Naturalist’s Wife and Educator in Brazil” (1865-66) by Elizabeth Agassiz. Agassiz compares the lives of Indian women in the amazon with the lives of women who live in town dwellings. Agassiz describes the limitations Brazilian women experience during the nineteenth century, as well as the limitations she encounters as a woman living in Brazil.

A secondary sources I will use is Laura Fishman’s “French Views of Native American Women in the Early Modern Era: The Tupinamba of Brazil,” (1994). This article discusses the attitudes of Frenchmen on indigenous women who went to Brazil in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Fishman’s work is a secondary source that comments on how analyses of travel accounts on Native American societies by European travelers before independence in 1822 to Brazil are full of prejudices and biases. Some questions she considers are how gender influenced European travelers perception and portrayal of Native American women, specifically, the Tupinamba, during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Fishman discusses the accounts of Frenchmen Jean de Léry (1578), and Claude d’Abbeville and Yves Evreux (1612), and their experiences with the native Tupinamba society in Brazil.

Another secondary source I will be using is an article titled “Travel Narratives of the French to Brazil: Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries” by Michel de Certeau, translated by Katherine Streip. This source discusses the discourse of travel narratives by French people to Brazil between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries.

Something that I am interested in are the differences between the biases of the Europeans travel accounts to Brazil. Specifically, the biases between the male and female travel accounts. My aim for this project is to review the ways in which gender affects the travelers understanding of life in Brazil compared to their own, by examining their accounts and narratives on their experiences with Brazilian women and slaves.

 

Bibliography

 

Primary Sources

Agassiz, Elizabeth. “A Naturalist’s Wife and Educator in Brazil.” Women Through Women’s

Eyes, edited by Hahner, June, pages 103-118. Wilmington: Rowman & Littlefield

Publishers, 1998.

 

Graham, Maria. “Life Among the Elite in Chile and Brazil.” Women Through Women’s Eyes,

edited by Hahner, June, pages 1-20. Wilmington: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1998. 

 

Toussaint-Samson, Adele. A Parisian in Brazil: The Travel Account of a

Frenchwoman in Nineteenth- Century Rio de Janeiro. edited by Hahner, June 

Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1998.

 

Secondary Sources

De Certeau, Michel. “Travel Narratives of the French to Brazil: Sixteenth to Eighteenth

Centuries,” translated by Katherine Streip. Representations Volume, 33. Issue 1991.

Pages 221-26

 

Fishman, Laura. “French Views of Native American Women in the Early Modern Era:

The Tupinamba of Brazil.” The Journal of the Society for the History of

Discoveries Volume, 26. Issue 1994. pages 9-25.