Black Women Slaves Who Nourished A Nation: Artistic Renderings of Wet Nurses in Brazil

by Kimberly Cleveland


"This book is a remarkable accomplishment. It grows out of Kimberly Cleveland’s depth of knowledge not only of Brazilian art history but, equally, her considerable and nuanced understanding of the complexities of racial and class relationships; medical, social, and economic histories; as well as the poignant, intimate, and often tragic stories of black wet nurses in Brazilian urban society and their roles within the white, elite power structures. It is a moving and noteworthy text." —Edward J. Sullivan, Helen Gould Sheppard Professor of the History of Art, New York University

"There is no book dedicated to the visual representations of African and Afro-Brazilian wet nurses in Brazil. Given the original theme and focus, as well as the artworks and images selected, this book will benefit scholars in different areas—those who study the history of slavery of Africans and the impact on their descendants, Latin American and Brazilian cultures, and art history in general." —Roberto Conduru, Endowed Distinguished Professor of Art History, Southern Methodist University

"Kimberly Cleveland examines a wide range of imagery—including paintings, photographs, and sculptures from the colonial period up to contemporary art—and situates these works in a detailed historical context, informed by primary sources that are not easily accessible to a non-Portuguese-speaking audience. These include medical theses, writings by abolitionists, literature (poetry and novels), and newspaper advertisements, to name just a few. Although the imagery examined in this text was largely produced by and for a male audience, the use of so many primary sources allows us to understand the perspectives of women. This study provides a detailed examination of the images combined with the interesting biographies of various artists as well as a rich analysis of historical and cultural contexts. Beautifully written, Black Women Slaves Who Nourished A Nation is compelling, clear, and easy to read. This book would be especially valuable to art historians and historians whose work focuses on Brazil. It would also be interesting and accessible to graduate and undergraduate students in history and art history." —Heather Shirey, Associate Professor of Art History and Director of Graduate Studies, University of St. Thomas


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