this book explores the swift and often tumultuous change that
the Atlantic world underwent in the second half of the twentieth century,
driven by the currents of decolonization, developmentalism, authoritari-
anism, and the cold war. The main focus is on the way a cohort of Brazil-
ians perceived these currents of change, and particularly on what their
perceptions reveal about Brazilian racial thought. In writing this book it
was possible to cover various places and themes only because of the sup-
port of many friends and colleagues in Brazil and the United States, who
shared materials, asked questions, opened doors, and granted me time
for research. And as a book that relies heavily on oral histories, it is also
the fruit of the generosity of many diplomats, intellectuals, artists, activ-
ists, and their relatives, who gave interviews about their experiences relat-
ing to Brazil and Africa.
My interest in Brazilian connections with Africa, and in Brazilian racial
identity, developed in graduate school at Brown University through the
encouragement of Thomas Skidmore and of Anani Dzidzienyo, whose
interest in the African connection and the Afro-Brazilian condition nour-
ished and guided this project from inception to publication.
Anani Dzidzienyo, Jeffrey Lesser, John David Smith, Mark Wilson, and
two anonymous readers from Duke University Press read and commented
on the entire manuscript. I am grateful to Valerie Millholland, my editor
at Duke University Press, as well as Miriam Angress, associate editor, who
have been consistent and thoughtful advocates. Paulina Alberto, George
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