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The People of the RiverNature and Identity in Black Amazonia, 1835-1945$
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Oscar de la Torre

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469643243

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469643243.001.0001

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(p.135) Conclusion
The People of the River

Oscar de la Torre

University of North Carolina Press

The conclusion formulates three arguments. First, it reinserts Afro descendants into Amazonia’s history, especially in the periods immediately before and after the rubber boom. Second, it argues that natural landscapes represented a vehicle for the genesis and the evolution of an Afro-descendant identity among Pará’s black peasants. And finally, it holds that, while Article 68 sparked a process of black ethnic reconfiguration in the 1990s, the emphasis on the novelty of such identities has inadvertently obscured the vitality of black political traditions. In sum, as The People of the River shows, the political actions of the 1990s were just a new iteration of a much older tradition of black peasant politics dating at least from the era of slavery. While discourses defending the rights of citizenship for Afro-descendants were revamped to accommodate to the new era that Article 68 inaugurated, they continued to refer to environmental tropes used in previous conflicts. Black peasants continue to assert their rights as Brazilians through multiple dialogues, but their voice has always found in nature a vehicle to maintain a singular identity along the way.

Keywords:   slave trade, plantation agriculture, Cabanagem, environmental creolization, black peasants in Amazonia, mocambos, quilombos, Afro-Brazilian identity, Article 68

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