One rarely has the opportunity to witness academic excellence on the level embodied by the renowned Brazilian historian Thomas E. Skidmore. Since his migration from nineteenth-century German history to twentieth-century Brazilian history while a young instructor at Harvard University, Professor Skidmore has inspired a generation of scholars of Brazil and Latin America with characteristically meticulous research, deep insight, and great humor. As Brazilian and Latin American history enter a new phase of expansion and diversification, it seems appropriate to revisit the contributions of a historian who has been fundamental to the process by which these disciplines were forged in the United States and beyond. A critical reflection on the relationship of some of Skidmore's classic works to the present ought to accompany this process to examine what, vis-à-vis the current historiography, they have inspired, neglected, and presaged. The following essay will consider nearly four decades of Skidmore's historical work on Brazil through an analysis of four texts emblematic of the trajectory of his intellectual career: Politics in Brazil, 1930-1964: An Experiment in Democracy (1967), The Politics of Military Rule in Brazil, 1964-1985 (1988), Black into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought (1974), and Brazil: Five Centuries of Change (1999).
Copyright © 2012-2013 Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe.
Editores: Ori Preuss; Nahuel Ribke
Instituto Sverdlin de Historia y Cultura de América Latina, Escuela de Historia
Universidad de Tel Aviv, Ramat Aviv,
P.O.B. 39040 (69978), Israel.
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