Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture Series

2019 Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture


Dr. José Juan Pérez Meléndez

The Intimate Enemy: Conservatives and Social War in Modern Brazil

Brazil is well-known for samba, soccer and its sheer, alluring tropicality. Lesser known is the long history of conservative modernization that gave rise to these mirages of social stability and inclusion. Since its independence in 1822, powerful interest groups have negotiated their stay in power, making the case for their right to own the state by villainizing special classes of Brazilian people. The country’s old motto of “Order and Progress” masks how successive conservative elites invented themselves as guarantors of order by scapegoating indigenous groups, slave-descended peasants, students, the urban poor and LGBTQ advocates as the antagonists of progress. How do powerful political elites construct public enemies? And how do these intimate enemies in their midst serve to legitimate forms of conservative political power? The social war unleashed by conservative modernizing elites has varied considerably over time, but the script has remained consistent: those in power are wardens of the people, while at any time the people themselves can become enemies of the state.

Professor José Juan Pérez Meléndez is a historian of Latin America and the Atlantic who specializes on nineteenth-century Brazil. His research centers on political, business and migratory dynamics that have shaped governmental mechanisms of population control and transport in the Americas. Before arriving at Davis, Professor Pérez Meléndez completed a postdoctoral stay as a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. He is currently writing Peopling for Profit: Colonization and the Brazilian Empire, 1808-1878, a book that charts the formation of early migration policy in Brazil in counterpoint to global processes.

Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture
Wednesday, October 16, 7:30PM
Warwick Center
The lecture is free and open to the public

Guests please park in lot E, lot M, or lot A

Panel to follow the Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture
October 17, 2019
James Hall Auditorium 
601 S. College Rd., Wilmington, NC 28403
The day after the Department of History's annual Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture, UNCW will present a panel discussion featuring renowned scholars and legal professionals who will provide a commentary on the themes raised in Dr. José Juan Pérez Meléndez's lecture and raise additional points from their own unique perspectives.  Free and open to the public.  All UNCW students and faculty are welcome to attend.
Sherman Emerging Scholar Panelists:  Sherman Emerging Scholar Dr. José Juan Pérez Meléndez (UC Davis), Dr. Dain Borges (University of Chicago), Dr. Barbara Weinstein (NYU), Dr. Hal Langfur (SUNY Buffalo)

Moderator: Dr. Jarrod Tanny (UNCW)

Guests please park in lot M