David Foster

Four Capitals of Brazil

Dr. David William Foster, Arizona State University
March 21, 2014
(Fri) 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
UNM Continuing Education Auditorium
1634 University Blvd NE (at the intersection with Indian School Rd)

In reality, Brazil has only had three official capitals, each one relating to a distinct phase in its social and cultural history. Salvador de Bahia was the early Portuguese colonial capital. Rio de Janeiro became the capital of colonial Brazil during its most dynamic development in the 19th century, and it remained capital throughout its serving as seat of the Portuguese empire, as capital of the Brazilian empire, and as capital of the Republic of Brazil, until the mid-twentieth century. In 1960, the modernist capital of Brasília, serving what is now a Latin American superpower, is inaugurated, although the transition from Rio to Brasília is not without problems. Alongside these three official capitals, from early in the 20th century, São Paulo emerges as the major industrial center of Latin America and as the financial capital of Brazil and of Latin America as a whole. Today São Paulo, while Rio remains the historical capital of Brazil and the capital of the tourist imaginary of Brazil, serves as the cultural capital of the country.

David William Foster (Ph.D. & MA, University of Washington) is Regents’ Professor of Spanish, Humanities, and Women’s Studies at Arizona State University. He served as Chair of the Department of Languages and Literatures from 1997-2001. His research inter­ests focus on urban culture in Latin America, with emphasis on issues of gender construction and sexual identity, as well as Jewish culture. He has held Fulbright teaching appointments in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. He has also served as an Inter-American Development Bank Professor in Chile. Foster’s most recent books are Urban Photography in Argentina (2007) and São Paulo: Perspectives on the City and Cultural Production (2011). Foster conducted a seminar in 2010 on Brazilian Urban Fiction as part of the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars for College and University Teachers, and in 2007 he conducted a seminar, in Argentina, on Jewish Buenos Aires. Foster is past-President of the Latin American Jewish Studies Association.

Supported by New Mexico Humanities Council, Sandia National Labs & University of New Mexico