Afro-Brazilian identity in the Rio De Janeiro Carnaval samba enredo: Angola as an alternative to nagô narratives
do Monte, Karyna
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This thesis proposes the samba enredo, a complex narrative composed by Rio de Janeiro samba schools for the annual Carnaval parade, as a vital primary source for understanding the construction of Afro-Brazilian identity in contemporary Brazilian society. Next, I provide an analysis of one specific samba enredo presented by the samba school Unidos da Vila Isabel in the 2012 Rio Carnaval, which portrays the cultural link between Angola and Brazil. I argue that the narrative Vila Isabel constructs is a thoughtful, albeit incomplete, alternative to the more common link drawn between Yoruba culture and Afro-Brazil. Furthermore, I ascertain that this samba enredo, and the academic sources used to compose it, lack a clear definition of the religious dimension of Angolan heritage in Afro-Brazilian culture because they place Central African conversions to Catholicism in the context of slavery and do not cite the impact that Catholicism makes in Angola before the context of slavery and the Diaspora encounter in colonial Brazil.