Practicing the Future: Brazilian Youth, Educational Aspiration, and Collective Justice

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Student Research Reports, Summer 2018

(Photo courtesy of Alice Taylor.)
IFCS of the UFRJ, outside of the +Nos CPV classroom at night. (Photo courtesy of Alice Taylor.)

Education and the Black Feminist Movement in Brazil
By Alice Taylor

The Tinker grant was instrumental in advancing my doctoral dissertation research. During the summer of 2018, I traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I conducted over 30 hours of participant observation in 8 college preparation courses (pré-vestibular comunitârio) in various parts of Rio de Janeiro, and carried out multi-sited ethnographic research in dozens of events and meetings with youth, educators, and community leaders. I conducted over 20 pilot interviews and began reviewing archives. Several national and local events (i.e., the death of Marielle Franco, political shifts) and fieldwork itself motivated me to shift my research from it's previous focus, though there is a great deal of continuity with the original objectives of studying youth agency, resistance, aspirations, and educational implications of youth subjectivities within challenging political times. After proposing a field site in the north/northeast, I decided to focus more on Rio as I had lived in Rio for 7 years prior to beginning my PhD and therefore could better navigate fieldwork there; it is also the best site in which to conduct the project of my focus. In total, I have conducted over 10 years of work in international settings, mostly in Latin America. For others conducting research in early stages, my main recommendation would be to stay open to listening and observing what is happening in the field. While we can arrive with a notion of project in mind, it is an incredible opportunity to watch this shift with what we learn and about how the "field" and participants guide this research and our doctoral work. I used the findings to present in LASA (just before going to Brazil), in 2018, and in the American Anthropological Association conference - a panel on Brazil and (Un)doing Democracy with James Holston and other Brazilianist anthropologists. Importantly, the preliminary research I conducted through the Tinker grant enabled me to write 3 dissertation fieldwork grants this fall. Without preliminary research, I would not have a dissertation project that I believe is meaningful and that has developed over time.

(Photo courtesy of Alice Taylor.)
EducAfro community meeting (with the co-founder and mother of Marielle Franco) and a coordinator who ran for local office, (Photo courtesy of Alice Taylor.)

(Photo courtesy of Alice Taylor.)
A classroom in Maré, a favela of Rio's North Zone, where Marielle was a student and coordinator (stencil of her silhouette is in this whiteboard). (Photo courtesy of Alice Taylor.)

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