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Lecture: “The Linguistic Defense of White Comfort in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil”

February 6 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Presented by: NAVE Visiting Scholar Jennifer Roth-Gordon, Associate Professor, School of Anthropology, U of Arizona

About the presentation: In this talk, I explore how beliefs in white superiority and historical and societal structures of white supremacy and anti-blackness shape how white middle-class residents in Rio de Janeiro think about where they fit in the world. I illustrate how we can watch – in real time – as they work to defend white comfort, which relies on differential access to resources that help secure the well-being of their families. I document two monologic linguistic strategies – public words and moralizing narratives – that are employed by parents in quotidian in-group interactions and serve to consolidate a shared white middle-class worldview. Drawing on local situations that resonate beyond the Brazilian context, I show how people in positions of privilege use language to grapple with the situations of grave inequality that surround them and to keep conditions of white supremacy in place.


February 6
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
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