Thinking the Slum of the Planet in Patrícia Galvão’s Industrial Park

Authors: Maxwell Woods*,
Topics: Cultural Geography, Urban Geography, Latin America
Keywords: Slum, Slums, Literary Geography, Brazil, Galvão
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Napoleon, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 41st Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Set near the year of 1932 in São Paulo, Patrícia Galvão’s Industrial Park represents what the novel’s narrator describes as the “proletariat city” of Braz. Yet this categorization of Braz as a proletariat urban space is complicated throughout the novel. Most notably, the neighborhood is also populated by petit-bourgeois and lumpenproletariat residents. The place-based categorization of Braz is further troubled when one of the characters of the novel, Rosinha Lituania, is deported back to her home of Lithuania. Rosinha reflects on her own position within the global processes of capitalism and its significance for her local place-based fidelity to Braz. She comments that “in all of the countries of the threatened capitalist world, there’s a Braz,” but then changes course and concludes “Braz of Brazil. Braz of the whole world.” This paper will reflect on the theoretical consequences of Rosinha’s concluding statement, arguing that her position towards Braz allows us to think of the category of the slum of the planet. In contrast to the narrator’s categorization of Braz as a proletariat city specific to São Paulo, Rosinha reframes Braz as a slum and then expands this singular urban unit to a global scale. Through a reading of the representation of the slum of Braz in Industrial Park, with special attention paid to Rosinha’s final thoughts, this paper argues that the category of the slum of the planet can be defined as the urban territory in which residents are bound to the redemption of their ancestors.

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