The question

How is it that, according to da Silva, the mestizo subject is produced? This is the question for today. Here is a fairly recent talk by her, and I have been trying to understand just this one book for far too long.

On pages 248-249 the mestiço as the Brazilian subject is discussed. What precise racial and color markings the particular mestiço has “will determine whether he or she belongs in the present and in the future of the nation.” To be Brazilian is to have to operate in this murky and changeable situation. (There is a great deal more on these pages about transcendental poesis and the scene of engulfment, and I still do not understand these paragraphs well enough.)

On page 246 the mestiço is shown signify Portuguese productive power, because s/he is produced in a gendered way (through the appropriation of black female bodies). Only whiteness signifies the transparent I. The blackness and Africanness inherited from the woman remain in the mestiço. They are dangerous signifiers of a subject of affectability who must signify Brazil’s unstable placing at the outskirts of the modern [world-system].


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s