Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Factory of Ideas 2012

This past Friday I finished my first University activity here in Bahia, The Factory of Ideas Program, linked with the Department of Communication and the Center for Afro-Oriental Studies (CEAO) at the Federal University of Bahia. It was 2 weeks of non-stop classes with professors from Maryland (USA), Jacarta (Indonesia), Portugal, Italy and Brazil, as well as masters and doctoral students from the U.S., Brazil and Portugal. The theme of the program was "Consumption, Identity and Technology", which hosted seminars on these themes as applied to race relations in Brazil. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to present my research to professors at CEAO, the department where I hope to do my masters degree, as well as discuss my project with Brazilian students of Anthropology. I was pleasantly surprised at the level of interest in my research among the students. The majority had heard of the controversy surrounding Ruth Landes and her relationship with Edison Carneiro, and a few had very strong opinions on the matter. Others had already done some research on the topic, and shared useful sources and insights to direct me. In the snack/lunch breaks I had many interesting conversations regarding the gossip of Landes' experience in Bahia. I shared some juicy tidbits from the letters I accessed at the Smithsonian Museum, and everybody was very interested in getting the story straight. Overall I made many important contacts and friends in the process, and am now very inspired to continue my work. It feels like I have a roadmap to start this research journey in Bahia and Brazil.