We are delighted to welcome you to a discussion of the book Dealing with the Authoritarian Past in Brazil: from Cardoso to Rousseff by Dr Gisele Iecker de Almeida. The book presents a comprehensive account of what has been done to address the dictatorial past by the Brazilian Federal Executive. It explores discourses about the past formulated by the initiatives implemented.
The mechanisms and processes established in Brazil were introduced over twenty-one years, the same length as the dictatorial period itself. It is impossible to ignore the fact that while the reckoning with the past was well on its way, revisionist and negationist perspectives gained traction in the country and Jair Bolsonaro, an authoritarian figure who frequently expresses a favourable view on torture and the military regime, was elected to lead the nation.
Dr Almeida's book examines texts produced by the past-oriented initiatives with attention to what is said about the past, how their goals are constituted and articulated in their language use and what resulted from their discourses. After careful analysis of the content, realisations and strategies of argumentation in the rhetoric of the past constructed by the Brazilian government’s initiatives, this study shows the pattern in the representations of the past they put forward. One question that permeates the book is the extent to which this representation of the past (cosmopolitan, pro-democracy, anti-human rights abuse) speaks to Brazilians’ perception of themselves and their past—showing that the construction of a shared meaning for the post-1964 regime is still very much a work in progress.
Dr Gisele Iecker de Almeida is a Teacher in Politics / International Relations at Cardiff University. She has a PhD in History from Ghent University, and an MPhil in Contemporary Thought from the University of Barcelona. During her studies, Gisele was a Visiting Researcher at King’s College London’s Brazil Institute and the Politics and International Relations Department of Cardiff University. Her work was awarded the first Hucitec Best International Work About Brazil Award.