The idea for Culture Wars in Brazil took off in the fall of 1987, deep in
the bowels of Princeton’s Firestone Library, where I and a few other
intrepid souls braved Peter T. Johnson’s Latin American Studies research
methods course. My interest in Brazilian cultural history took root in the
briefest of assignments on the primary source of my choice, a suicide letter
written by Brazilian dictator-populist Getúlio Vargas in 1954. My fascina-
tion with Brazilian culture under Vargas has not since abated. I thank Peter
and Ben Ross Schneider for mentoring me through the early stages of my
work on the Vargas era. I also thank John Wirth, the late Fred Bowser, and
the late Karin Van den Dool for shepherding this project through graduate
school at Stanford. Fred and Karin are greatly missed.
This book took its present form in 1997, when I returned to Brazil as
a Fulbright Junior Scholar. I am forever indebted to the Fulbright Com-
mission, which has played an instrumental role in my intellectual and pro-
fessional development. I am equally grateful for the institutional support
extended by the Museu Histórico Nacional, the Centro de Pesquisa e Docu-
mentação da História Contemporânea do Brasil/Fundação Getúlio Var-
gas, and the Programa de Pós-Gradução em História Social at the Insti-
tuto de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.
All three institutions lent much-appreciated support throughout my field
Back in the United States, the Department of History at the University
of California, San Diego, and the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
Program for Minorities supported a year of writing in 1998. The sunsets
over La Jolla brightened many an afternoon spent writing. Dain Borges
merits a special word of thanks for his generous support and incisive com-
ments during my stay at ucsd.
Many colleagues at the University of Maryland have been behind this
project since I arrived at College Park in 1994. I am most grateful for their
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