Stanley Blake’s discussion of the construction of northeastern racial identity is a valuable addition to a field that tends to privilege the history of Brazil’s economically dominant center-south. Given the centrality of Gilberto Freyre’s work in establishing the parameters from which most studies of race in Brazil begin, a history of racial identities focusing on Freyre’s home state of Pernambuco seems, if anything, long overdue. Blake’s thesis — that the northeast and nordestinos became symbols of racial mixture and regional backwardness in contradistinction to the whiter and more economically developed center-south — comes as no surprise. What is new is the historic specificity that Blake brings to this topic, demonstrating the variable impact of both rapidly evolving intellectual trends and the political and economic exigencies of the time. He also asks questions that are seemingly obvious yet have hitherto gone unanswered: How did...

You do not currently have access to this content.