Speaking of Flowers is an innovative study of student activism during Brazil's military dictatorship (1964-85) and an examination of the very notion of student activism, which changed dramatically in response to the student protests of 1968. Looking into what made students engage in national political affairs as students, rather than through other means, Victoria Langland traces a gradual, uneven shift in how they constructed, defended, and redefined their right to political participation, from emphasizing class, race, and gender privileges to organizing around other institutional and symbolic forms of political authority.Embodying Cold War political and gendered tensions, Brazil's increasingly violent military government mounted fierce challenges to student political activity just as students were beginning to see themselves as representing an otherwise demobilized civil society. By challenging the students' political legitimacy at a pivotal moment, the dictatorship helped to ignite the student protests that exploded in 1968. In her attentive exploration of the years after 1968, Langland analyzes what the demonstrations of that year meant to later generations of Brazilian students, revealing how student activists mobilized collective memories in their subsequent political struggles.
Victoria Langland is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Davis.
Acknowledgments ix List of Acronyms xvii Introduction. Making and Remembering 1968 in Military Brazil 1 1. Constructing the "House of Democratic Resistance": Authority and Authenticity in University Student Politics, 1808-1955 19 2. Professional Students and Political Polarization: Contested Revolutions, 1956-1967 61 3. From Martyrdom and Militancy to Memory: 1968 in Brazil 107 4. Dark Weather: The Post-'68 Storm, 1969-1973 167 5. Rebuilding the House of Memories, 1974-1985 215 Epilogue 245 Bibliography 291 Index 307