Vargas era elites confronted the same basic question faced by other centralizing political regimes—how to shape Brazil beyond the affairs of Rio de Janeiro (and perhaps even beyond the provincial capitals). Daryle Williams shows how cultural policymakers of the Vargas era confronted the core challenges of political and administrative centralization by looking at the newly created Ministry of Education and Health’s initiatives in art, architecture, and historical memory. These included the creation of a program for protecting—in effect federalizing—historical landmarks, including the city of Ouro Preto; the establishment a network of historical museums that often appropriated regional histories and made them “Brazilian”; the promotion a modern and nationalist vision of Brazil at overseas expositions; and the endorsement of modernist art and architecture as an official symbolic language of brasilidade, or Brazilianness.

Culture Wars in Brazil draws the reader into an engaging crossroads...

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