Chapter

The ‘General Language’ and the Social Status of the Indian in Brazil, Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries

ANDREA DAHER

in Racism and Ethnic Relations in the Portuguese-Speaking World

Published by British Academy

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780197265246
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754197 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197265246.003.0013

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The ‘General Language’ and the Social Status of the Indian in Brazil, Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries

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This chapter focuses on the uses of language in successive historical strategies in Brazil. From the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, the Tupi language was the main vehicle for the catechising work of the Jesuits, a precondition for the conduction of the Indian to the mystical body of the Portuguese empire; from 1758 onwards, Portuguese was imposed as the sole official language for the integration of the Indian as a vassal of the Portuguese king; and in the nineteenth century, Tupi became nationalised for literary and scientific purposes. In each moment, different figures of Indian otherness were traced, from the Jesuits' other as ‘the same’ or ‘fellow man’, to the other as ‘cultural difference’ or ‘racial difference’ in the civilising projects of the Brazilian empire.

Keywords: Tupi language; Brazilian Indian; Portuguese empire; Brazilian empire; race; cultural difference

Chapter.  6899 words. 

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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