Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, 2010. Research: João do Rio – a painter of modern life.
University of Campinas, 2003. Supervisor: Vilma Sant´Anna Arêas. Thesis: Between Paris and Lisboa: Cesário Verde’s modernity.
Literary historiography. The city and the literary discourse. Modernity and the urban discourse. The city and the press.
Ongoing research project
Urban cartographies: the Belle Époque and its undercurrents, centers and margins (CNPq – 2013-2016).
This project wishes to investigate the discursive constructions regarding the city of Rio de Janeiro and its characters in the Belle Époque which were expressed in the newspaper chronicles published in the city of Rio between 1900 and 1920. Our primary focus lies on the city’s undercurrents, i.e., we shall favor texts which attempted to shed light of the events taking place outside the grand salons of the Belle Époque. We include the arrival of Jewish women in Rio, the Cidade Nova gypsies, and the repercussions of the Vacina and Chibata insurrections which took place in the beginning of the 20th century, and which led to the deportation of rebels and low-class citizens to the Amazon. It is worth highlighting that the city of Rio which was immortalized by writers was constructed within a discourse which worshipped natural wonders, thus granting the city its own identity. Moreover, discursive constructions both in the political and in the literary spheres created an image of a postcard-city which has remained until the contemporary days. The study of discursive constructions is supported by Bakhtin’s and Fairclough’s reflections, both of whom insist on discourse’s political and social nature, and on its possibility of being manipulated according to the criteria and the interests of the dominant group. Fairclough situates his approach within a broader study of social relationships, and attempts to interweave different aspects of textual analysis and of the processes of textual production and interpretation. Fairclough (2001) proposes a social theory of discourse and establishes a dialectical relationship between discourse and social structure, for discourse constitutes a “social practice”, both representing the world and signifying it, establishing and assisting the construction of social identities. In Discourse and Social Change, Fairclough (2001: 90) states that, in his use of the term “discourse”, he considers “the use of language as a social practice and not as a purely individual activity or as a reflex of situational variables”. In this confluence of the symbolic and the social, discourse is instituted through its participants, and so are social identities. It is through discourse that subjects construct their social identities and establish their places in the world (HALL, 2007). Social identities are neither intimately linked to people nor entirely fixed; but are constructed within discourse through meaning-making processes. When we focus on the images constructed in narratives and chronicles produced by intellectuals aligned to the modernity-worshipping tradition, we notice that the elites absorbed the paradigms of a European modernity; they resorted to the republican discourse, ascribing the press and the city a key role in the construction of the national future. Within that panorama, the newspaper became immensely prominent. In his book “Nation and national consciousness”, Benedict Anderson emphasizes that a nation is an imaginary community; its borders are conceived and implemented not by means of a real approximation among its inhabitants, but through an arbitrary division. A nation, is, thus, “an imaginary political community – imagined as being intrinsically limited, and, at the same time, a sovereign” (ANDERSON, 2008: 32). It is through that arbitrary construction that inhabitants will identify with one another; it is that process which grants them a feeling of belonging which, in turn, engenders a nationalistic pride (ANDERSON, 2008: 106).