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4 - An Afro-Brazilian Landscape

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 May 2021

Case Watkins
Affiliation:
James Madison University, Virginia
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Summary

Blending colonial archives and travelers’ accounts with ethnography, landscape observations, and geospatial analysis, this chapter reconstructs the historical-geographical and political-ecological development of Bahia’s palm oil landscapes. After examining the biogeographical dimensions of Bahia’s Atlantic coasts, it lays out the agroecological contexts that welcomed and established the African oil palm. It then situates those changing landscapes within geographies of resistance—socioecological strategies of survival and fulfillment that remain embedded in the contemporary region. Emerging from transatlantic assemblages of biota, knowledge, and environments, Bahia’s palm oil landscapes coalesced to create and sustain novel cultures, ecologies, and economies. While Afro-descendants emerge as principal agents in its development, humans cooperated within biodiverse socioecological networks, leveraging their environmental knowledges to help establish and proliferate Bahia’s Afro-Brazilian landscape. These relationships amplify our comprehension of the African diaspora and the Atlantic World by revealing multispecies collaborations and landscapes of resistance in the colonial Americas.

Type
Chapter
Information
Palm Oil Diaspora
Afro-Brazilian Landscapes and Economies on Bahia's Dendê Coast
, pp. 97 - 135
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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