The proposed discussion intends to racialize the production of memory about the business-military dictatorship (1964-1985) in Brazil. Torture is the foundational landmark not only of this period, but of the colonial-slavery experience itself that organized the foundation of the Brazilian State and its institutions. From a legal and historical perspective, this discussion rethinks slavery as a laboratory for the later use of force by the state as well as of the constitution of public (in)security policies that primarily victimize black, indigenous, and dissident bodies, even their very existence. As one of the ideological mechanisms of the business-military regime, the myth of racial democracy mobilized long-standing processes of dehumanization that inscribed racist logics and practices in the operations led by public (in)security forces during and after the dictatorship. The goal is to trace some of these continuities that can be exemplified in the recent episode of torture known as the “case of the red room” that occurred in 2018. In so doing, this presentation follows a path different from that laid out by state and federal Truth Commissions in Brazil. Far from being one factor of many, to be registered and redressed, the category of race is not only built into but also encompasses the wider field of oppression and domination that delimit the choices guiding the current model of transitional justice model being carried out in Brazil.
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Thula Pires is the mother of Dandara, Ekéjì de Ọ̀ṣọ́ọ̀si and a dancer. She is Associate Professor (Professora-Adunta) of Constitutional Law at PUC-Rio, where she also coordinates the “Interdisciplinary Center for Afro-descendant Reflection and Memory” (NIREMA) as well as the law and race research group, “Direito em Pretuguês: Grupo de Pesquisa em Estudos Ladino-Amefricanos e Afrodiaspóricos”. Visiting Researcher at the African Gender Institute, University of Cape Town, supported by CAPES/PRINT 2020. She is also an affiliate of Criola (Organization of Black Women), member of the General Assembly of Amnesty International in Brazil, and board member of the Climate and Society Institute.
This speaker series is presented by the Illinois Global Institute in partnership with Center for African Studies, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, Center for Global Studies, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, European Union Center, Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies, and Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program. This series is made possible by the Chancellor’s 2021-2022 Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program and is co-sponsored by the Humanities Research Institute and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Each speaker will bring a regional focus with themes bearing on transitional justice, including policing, reparations, gender justice, economic inequality/justice, educational reform, and the role of youth. These events will be hosted via Zoom.