In Diploma of Whiteness, Jerry Dávila outlines how intellectual discourses combined with public policy on issues of eugenics, nationalism, and public education in the city of Rio de Janeiro from 1917 to 1945. He argues that Brazilian intellectuals and educators shaped Rio’s public education programs into national role models, with the goal of creating what they considered an improved, or whitened, Brazilian population. These public education programs had a number of unexpected results, however: for instance, they opened up professional work opportunities to women, since most of the teachers were female. At the same time, the programs created an educational system that rewarded lighter skin and wealth, granting better chances for success to students and teachers with such characteristics. Tapping a wide variety of sources (including photographs, teacher journals, letters, and music, as well as school records, archives, media sources, and interviews),...

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