Black Visual Representation: Sports Celebrities in Brazil

Presentation by Visiting Scholar- Centre for Culture Identity & Education
and the Department of Educational Studies, UBC



Diana Mendes Machado da Silva is a Brazilian historian and researcher affiliated with the Human Rights, Democracy, and Memory Group at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of São Paulo, and with the Afro-Brazilian Studies Center at the University Federal of São Paulo.  She is a Visiting Scholar at both the Centre for Culture, Identity & Education and the Department of Educational Studies.

Title: Black Visual Representation: Sports Celebrities in Brazil

Date: 11th June 2024

Time: 2:00pm to 3:30pm


In person:
Ponderosa Commons North – Oak –  Room 2012



Meeting ID: 642 0065 0027
Passcode: 842639



The phenomenon of transforming black athletes into celebrities was a collective cultural production which extends historically to the age of slavery in the Americas. In Brazilian society, this phenomenon demanded broad social, cultural, and economic arrangements involving individual agents, groups, the State, and, mainly, the press.  This profound social change, which started at the beginning of the 20th century, will be analyzed through an individual soccer player case: Leônidas da Silva, highlighted in the 1938 World Cup. Developed in the PhD with new references outlined during the stint as visiting scholar at UBC, this research highlights the centrality of images of the black population in forming a national Brazilian culture. This research outlines some aspects of the effects of the circulation of these images as their role in securing and soothing dominant whiteness and mitigating marginalization and dehumanization of blackness. And, at the same time, generating pride, happiness, and different kinds of aspiration in the Brazilian black and poor people.