The city of Salvador has long cultivated an image as a bearer of African cultural heritage in the Americas, a “mecca,” as put famously by Eugenia Anna dos Santos, one of the women who helped shape this identity early in the twentieth century. It is this sense of Bahia as a site of pilgrimage that Patricia Pinho explores in Mapping Diaspora. Though black travelers have long engaged with Brazil, over the past several decades a particular strand of African American tourism has focused on Bahia in what Pinho identifies as a search for roots and diasporic kinship, part of a larger phenomenon of heritage tourism connecting diasporas to their ancestral homelands.

The twist here, of course, is that Brazil is not a homeland for African Americans. Despite its title, Pinho's book focuses specifically on Bahia and how it emerged onto a...

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