Campus: CSU Long Beach -- December 17, 2001

Associate Professor of History at Cal State Long Beach Awarded $40,000 Research Fellowship from The National Endowment for the Humanities

James Green, an associate professor of history at California State University, Long Beach, has been awarded a $40,000 research fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a project that will look at the history of Brazil's capital city of Rio de Janeiro during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Titled "The Crossroads of Sin and the Collision of Cultures: Pleasure and Popular Entertainment in Rio de Janeiro," the project will examine the role of public space in the shaping of both popular and elite culture, entertainment and leisure activities in that nation's largest city. The downtown region of Rio, popularly referred to as the "Crossroads of Sin," generated national theater, stage stars and was known for its night life from high-class prostitution to the latest in European imports.

Green, who lived in Brazil for about 10 years and has been doing research related to the country for about 25 years, will study the significant economic, political, social and cultural changes that took place in Rio de Janeiro between 1860 and1920.

"Historians who have done studies on Brazil's history have focused on the late 1880s--when slavery was abolished in 1888 and the monarchy was overthrown in 1889 and a new Republican government was established," Green pointed out. "So, they have looked at the political, economic and social economic transformation that took place after these societal changes."

The history professor noted that there are no comprehensive and integrative urban social histories of 19th or early 20th century Rio de Janeiro that look at the relationship and interaction among different social groups and classes. So, focusing on the city's downtown area, he will take a look at the tensions in the social fabric that developed because of the overlapping occupation of the site by members of Brazilian bourgeois society, working-class men and women, Bohemians, rogue figures and prostitutes.

"By examining a broader time period, 1860 to 1920, I will be able to analyze changes in public sociability, entertainment and leisure before and after the end of slavery and the end of the Empire, which were the result of a variety of factors," Green said. "This work should shed new light on our overall understanding of urban life in Brazil and Latin America in the crucial period of modernity and nation building."

The project is slated to begin in fall 2002 and will include a six-month research visit to Rio de Janeiro. Green plans to examine booking records for the police precinct that had jurisdiction over the downtown entertainment areas of the city; court cases relating to public decency, vagrancy, brawling and drunkenness; an extensive collection of maps and images of the area from the 1860s to the 1930s.

Green also noted the involvement of the CSULB Geography Department, which is helping to develop a computer program with a mapping system of Rio de Janeiro's downtown area. Using a map he found from the 1860s, the department will help plot who lived where and each building's use be it brothel, bar, theater or night club.

Green earned his bachelor's degree at Earlham College in Indiana, his master's degree at Cal State Los Angeles and his Ph.D. at the University of California at Los Angeles.


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