Slave Rebellion in Brazil
The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia
The Muslim slave uprising in Bahia in 1835, though unsuccessful in winning freedom for the rebels, had national repercussions, making it the most important urban slave rebellion in the Americas and the only one in which Islam played a major role. Joao Jose Reis draws on hundreds of police and trial records in which Africans, despite obvious intimidation, spoke out about their cultural, social, economic, religious, and domestic lives in Salvador.
About the Authors
Joao Jose Reis teaches at the Federal University of Bahia and has been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan. Arthur Brakel is a freelance writer and translator.
In the course of explaining the causes and context of the uprising, Reis provides a fascinating social history of urban life and the African community in a city that was (and is) one of the most important centers of African culture in the Americas.
[A] fine English translation... It is 'local history' at its best—superior scholarship enriched by Joao Jose Reis's familiarity with the Brazilian documentation... The arguments advanced concerning the construction of ethnicity and how it shaped the rebel conspiracy make this book a significant contribution to Brazilian history and to the literature on African culture as it evolved in the diaspora of slavery in the Americas.
Slave Rebellion in Brazil is, in sum, a superb example of the very best recent Brazilian scholarship on slavery. Uniting careful research with a sophisticated treatment of issues related to race, ethnicity, religion, class, and collective action, it deserves attention not only among scholars interested in New World slavery, but also from an even wider audience.
This book is easily the best on its subject and is, by any standard, an excellent piece of scholarship and analysis.
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