Recognition and Affirmation of African-Brazilian History and Culture In Schools: A Debate On Education, Emancipation, and the Formation of Black Youth Identity in Brazil

Since 2003, a Brazilian federal education law has required the inclusion of African history and African-Brazilian culture in the basic curriculum of public and private schools. This talk presents the results of my research into the effective implementation of this requirement, focusing on an interdisciplinary collaborative experience my team and I have developed around the hip-hop elements and ancestral cultures cultivated by youth on the outskirts of São Paulo, such as capoeira and maculelê. The discussion that emerges from the research concerns both the debate proposed by T.W. Adorno concerning education and emancipation, which points to the need to offer students a variety of experiences enabling multiple identifications and respect for otherness, as well as Axel Honneth’s ideas regarding the struggle for the recognition of “historically prejudiced” populations and the possible application of his ideas about recognition and social esteem to the construction of black youth identity in Brazil.

Monica Amaral is Associate Professor of Psychoanalysis, Education and Culture at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. She is coordinator of the public policy research project “The Ancestral and the Contemporary in Schools: Recognition and Affirmation of Afro-Brazilian Histories and Cultures,” and works as the coordinator for the Multiculturalism and Education research group at the Brazilian National Center for Scientific Research. Her publications include O espectro de Narciso na modernidade: de Freud a Adorno (The Narcissus Spectrum in Modernity: From Freud to Adorno), and O hip-hop e as diásporas africanas na modernidade: uma discussão contemporânea sobre cultura e educação (The Hip-Hop and African Diasporas in Modernity: A Contemporary Discussion of Culture and Education), published by Alameda Casa Editorial in 2015. Her upcoming book O que o rap diz e a escola contradiz: um estudo sobre a arte de rua e a formação da juventude na periferia de São Paulo (What Rap Says and School Contradicts: A Study Of Street Art and the Formation of Youth in the Outskirts of São Paulo) has been approved for publication by Alameda Editorial.