Kia Lilly Caldwell draws on twenty years of engagement with activists, issues, and policy initiatives to document how the country’s feminist health movement and black women’s movement have fought for much-needed changes in women’s health. Merging ethnography with a historical analysis of policies and programs, Caldwell offers a close examination of institutional and structural factors that have impacted the quest for gender and racial health equity in Brazil. As she shows, activists have played an essential role in policy development in areas ranging from maternal mortality to female sterilization. Caldwell’s insightful portrait of the public health system also details how its weaknesses contribute to ongoing failures and challenges while also imperiling the advances that have been made.
In Negras in Brazil, Kia Lilly Caldwell examines the life experiences of Afro-Brazilian women whose stories have until now been largely untold. This pathbreaking study analyzes the links between race and gender and broader processes of social, economic, and political exclusion. Drawing on ethnographic research with social movement organizations and thirty-five life history interviews, Caldwell explores the everyday struggles Afro-Brazilian women face in their efforts to achieve equal rights and full citizenship. She also shows how the black women's movement, which has emerged in recent decades, has sought to challenge racial and gender discrimination in Brazil. While proposing a broader view of citizenship that includes domains such as popular culture and the body, Negras in Brazil highlights the continuing relevance of identity politics for members of racially marginalized communities. Providing new insights into black women's social activism and a gendered perspective on Brazilian racial dynamics, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of Latin American Studies, African diaspora studies, women's studies, politics, and cultural anthropology.