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Inventing Muslims as the Other in Nineteenth-century Brazil

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By delving into the endless game of narration and by taking culture as a meaningful practice, this paper seeks to uncover key elements of mediation in order to consider and interpret the lifestyles, beliefs and power struggles shared in the context of what Homi Bhabha calls ‘cultural differences’. The analysis of an Iraqi leader’s travel report of a trip to Brazil in 1865 questions the hegemonic narratives around cultural-political disputes sparked by African slaves in 1835 in the Brazilian state of Bahia. By pondering distance and proximity in a movement fraught with interwoven cultures and processes of inventing the other, this article highlights a scenario of relationships and power use that stresses the symptoms and markers of difference, and unveils the ways in which nineteenth-century Brazil invented the Muslim as ‘the other’.

Affiliations: 1: Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, E-mail:


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