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Estudios Socioterritoriales

On-line version ISSN 1853-4392


FINN, John. Between history and heritage: race beneath the urban landscape. Estudios Socioterritoriales [online]. 2012, vol.12. ISSN 1853-4392.

In this article I aim to deconstruct the disjunction between history and heritage in a Brazilian neighborhood that has evolved from colonial capital to inner-city slum, only to be re-branded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the close of the 20th century. In doing so, though, the struggles of generations have been repackaged as cultural heritage in which the myth of racial democracy is infused into the surfaces of the urban landscape and those who populate it, serving to occlude the contradictions and racial tensions latent within. In the coming pages I problematize the contradictory relationship between history and heritage before turning to the naming of the Pelourinho (San Salvador de Bahia) as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Finally, I explore the way that the conflation of history and heritage actually recreates the distinctly Brazilian myth of racial democracy throughout the urban landscape.

Keywords : Racial democracy; Urban landscape; Heritage; Pelourinho.

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