Immigration, Ethnicity, and National Identity in Brazil, 1808 to the Present examines the immigration to Brazil of millions of Europeans, Asians and Middle Easterners beginning in the nineteenth century. Jeffrey Lesser analyzes how these newcomers and their descendants adapted to their new country and how national identity was formed as they became Brazilians along with their children and grandchildren. Lesser argues that immigration cannot be divorced from broader patterns of Brazilian race relations, as most immigrants settled in the decades surrounding the final abolition of slavery in 1888 and their experiences were deeply conditioned by ideas of race and ethnicity formed long before their arrival. This broad exploration of the relationships between immigration, ethnicity and nation allows for analysis of one of the most vexing areas of Brazilian study: identity.
Jeffrey Lesser is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Latin American History and Chair of the History Department at Emory University, Atlanta. He is the author of A Discontented Diaspora: Japanese-Brazilians and the Meanings of Ethnic Militancy, 1960-1980 (2007), which received an honorable mention for the Roberto Reis Prize from the Brazilian Studies Association; Negotiating National Identity: Minorities, Immigrants, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil (1999), winner of the Best Book Prize from the Brazil section of the Latin American Studies Association; and Welcoming the Undesirables: Brazil and the Jewish Question (1994), which won the Best Book Prize from the New England Council on Latin American Studies.
1. Creating Brazilians; 2. From Central Europe and Asia: immigration schemes, 1822-70; 3. Mass migrations, 1880-1920; 4. The creation of Euro-Brazilian identities; 5. How Arabs became Jews, 1880-1940; 6. Asianizing Brazil: new immigrants and new identities, 1900-55; 7. Epilogue: the song remains the same.