Glendon Campus
York University
2275 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M4N 3M6
Jeffrey Lesser,"'Kidnapping the Consul': Militant Ethnics andEthnic Militancy in Brazil”


Where: York Hall Room 247, on the Glendon Campus of York University, 2275 Bayview Avenue, Toronto

When: Friday, October 18 2013, 10:30am - 12:00pm

The Brazilian Left in the Post-WWII period used a language and ideology of class struggle. Thus, in spite of the large numbers ofJapanese-Brazilians, Arab-Brazilians or Jewish-Braziliansin extreme leftist political activity, we find no Brazilian versions of the Black Panthers, the Jewish Defense League or the I Wor Kuan. That class permeated the surface discourse of the left should not lead us to diminish the importance of ethnic factors. Indeed, normative Brazilian ideas about race and ethnicity, and challenges to those dominant notions, were expressed on a daily basis, even at the most extreme ends of the political spectrum. This presentation examines the ethnic dimensions of membership in the armed struggle against Brazil's military dictatorship, focusing on the role of Brazilian Nikkei, and especially Shizuo Ozawa (Mario the Jap), one of the most famous guerillas of the period.

Jeffrey Lesser, Chair, History Department, Emory University, is the author of Immigration, Ethnicity, and National Identity in Brazil (Cambridge University Press, 2012); A Discontented Diaspora: Japanese-Brazilians and the Meanings of Ethnic Militacy (Duke University Press, 2007);  Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil (Duke University Press, 1999), and Welcoming the Undesirables: Brazil and the Jewish Question(University of California Press, 1994), among other works.

Published on October 9, 2013