Estetica della razza. Continuità e rotture in Brasile

Livio Sansone


In Latin America the physical appearance of the various groups in the population, both native and of foreign origin, has never left unaffected the scores of foreign travelers or sojourners  that made it to this part of the world between 1500 and 1800:  they experienced it as either seducing or repulsive. In this region physical appearance and, more generally, someone´s look have effectively heavily determined someone´s position in a social pyramid where being white – or been seen as such – was associated to its top. This aesthetic past has influenced the way today´s notions of beauty, ugliness, whiteness, blackness are constructed as an aesthetic phenomena in which the category of race takes a key role. After giving an overview of the racial aesthetics of the past this article focuses on Brazil and expands on how this bears on the contemporary process of semantic transformation - from liability to asset -  and promotion of the tangible and intangible cultures associated with the native population and the population of African descent.

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