Between Racism and a Sacred Space: Using TripAdvisor to Explore Brazilians’ Perceptions of the Confederados, the Cemitério do Campo, and the Festa Confederada

Authors: Thomas Craig*, Oklahoma State University, Jordan P. Brasher, Department of Geography, University of Tennessee, Gustavo Ovando, Department of Geography, Oklahoma State University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Tourism Geography, South America
Keywords: Confederados, TripAdvisor, Brazil, commemorative landscapes
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Galerie 4, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Public commemoration of the Confederacy is the source of much recent social conflict in the United States, and ignited calls across the country to remove monuments, memorials, and place names associated with it. But, the display of Confederate-related iconography is not only limited to the United States. Less well known is that many former Confederate soldiers migrated to Latin America, Brazil in particular – the last country in the Western hemisphere to formally abolish chattel slavery in 1888. These immigrants became known as Confederados, and today their descendants remain just outside of São Paulo. The commemorative landscape in the area boasts a number of features and events honoring the Confederados. Most notable among them is the Cemitério do Campo, the site of the original Confederado cemetery and chapel. Confederado descendants annually hold the Festa Confederada at this site, a public celebration of Confederate heritage, including food and music of the American South, battle reenactments, items sold with the Confederate Battle Flag, and period dress (e.g. Confederate uniforms, belle-hoop dresses). The purpose of this study is to consider the ways that Brazilians perceive the Confederados and react to visits to the cemetery and to the festa. We used online TripAdvisor reviews of the cemetery and the nearby Museum of the Immigration to explore visitors’ perceptions of these memory sites and performances. We employed content and discourse analysis to analyze visitors’ comments. Our findings indicate that the cemetery is perceived as (uncontested) sacred space, and the festa reinforces the Lost Cause myth

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