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Mapping Race, Gendering Place: African American Roots Tourism in Bahia, Brazil

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Patricia Pinho

African Americans have become frequent travelers across what Professor Pinho calls the "map of Africanness" that connects diasporic communities and stimulates transnational solidarities while simultaneously exposing the unevenness of the black diaspora. Roots tourism is a fertile site to examine the tensions between racial and national identities as well as the gendered dimensions of travel, particularly when women are the major roots-seekers. Her talk will examine the major intersecting tropes that inform African American roots tourism in Brazil and demonstrate how the gendering of space, place, and time are tied to the geopolitics of the black diaspora. The trope of Bahia as a “closer Africa” for African Americans represents both Bahia and Africa in feminized terms and through representations that predominantly rely on images of black women as cultural markers and embodiments of the past.

Patricia de Santana Pinho, Associate Professor in Latin American and Latino Studies at UCSC, is a Brazilian anthropologist whose research focuses on the topics of blackness, whiteness, racism, anti-racism, and tourism in Brazil and the black diaspora. She has held post-doctoral fellowships at Yale University, Amherst College, and the Open University, UK.

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