"Green Hells" and Dancing Bulls

Race and Identity in the Urban Amazon of Brazil

Dr. Marnie Watson

A member of YSU's Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Gerontology since 2014, Marnie K. Watson is a cultural anthropologist and Latin Americanist with specializations in the urban Brazilian Amazon and medical anthropology. From 2006-2010, she worked as part of a team that assessed a variety of health issues in the state of New Mexico, including serious mental illness, drug abuse, and drunk driving initiatives. She completed her dissertation, "From Rural Street Theater to Big City Extravaganza: The Meaning of the Manaus Boi-Bumbá in the Context of an Urbanizing Brazil" in 2015. Her current research projects focus on how expectations of Brazil as an "authentic" destination affect tourist experiences in the 2016 Rio Olympics, as well as an applied and collaborative project to reduce maternal mortality through community education in poor neighborhoods of the city of Manaus.

Series Topic

Dr. Watson’s research examines a traditional Brazilian folklore festival that is being reworked to express a modern, global identity for urban Amazonians. In her talk, she will discuss her ethnographic research in Manaus, Brazil. The boi-bumba, or "dancing bull" festival, has long been seen as a key site in which Brazilian ideas of tri-racial harmony encompassing those of European, African, and indigenous heritage can be understood. She explores how the version performed in the state of Amazonas adds a new element, as it valorizes rural, mixed-race Amazonians called Caboclos, a population that has long experienced racial, ethnic, and socio-economic marginalization. Since the 1990s, the Amazonas boi-bumba has become a positive emblem of a modern mixed-race identity, and there is a growing movement of urbanites to self-identify as Caboclo. Her research sheds light on this new, urban mixed-heritage identity that is uniquely Amazonian, self-consciously global, and being used to challenge the cultural and economic hegemony of the Brazilian southeast.

YSU Anthropology Colloquium's Professor Series with Dr. Marnie Watson

Thursday, March 24th, 6-7:30pm

1 University Plaza

Youngstown, OH

Dr. Watson will be speaking in the Jones Room located in Kilcawley Center.

Doors open at 5:45pm and the talk begins at 6pm.

Our event is free to students and free and open to the public, but parking is $5 for those without a parking permit.