Sean T. Mitchell will present us with a history of Brazil’s Alcântara Space Base, in the state of Maranhão, and how the recent Bolsonaro-Trump deal threatens the illegal expropriation of Afro-Brazilian quilombola communities. An associate professor of anthropology at Rutgers University in New Jersey, he studies inequality politics in Brazil and elsewhere. His book, Constellations of Inequality: Space, Race, and Utopia in Brazil (University of Chicago Press 2017), won the 2018 Sergio Buarque de Holanda Social Science Book Prize from the Latin American Studies Association Brazil Section. It is based on years of research in Alcântara. Professor Mitchell is also co-editor of the books, Precarious Democracy: Ethnographies of Hope, Despair, and Resistance in Brazil (forthcoming, Rutgers University Press); Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency (University of Chicago Press 2017); and author of many articles.
Davi Pereira, a quilombola activist from the territory of Itamataiua, Alcântara, has been involved in the struggle for his community’s land rights for over 15 years. Mr. Pereira is currently at the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice and is a PhD student with the Latin American Studies Department at the University of Texas. He will present on recent legal and political actions taken to defend territorial rights in Alcântara.
Juliana Moraes, Executive Director of the Washington Brazil Office (WBO), part of the USNDB, will provide commentary on actions that can be taken by activists and academics to advance human rights in Brazil. The WBO was set up in April 2020 to formalize congressional advocacy work related to human rights and the environment in Brazil, seeking to analyze undertaken policies, their consequences, and promote democratic debate toward social justice in the country.