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Abstract

In Brazil, the 2016 coup against Dilma Rousseff and the Worker’s Party (PT), and the subsequent jailing of former PT President Luis Ignacio da Silva (Lula), laid the groundwork for the 2018 election of ultra-conservative Jair Bolsonaro. In the perfect storm leading up to the coup, the conservative elite drew on deep-seated misogynist discourses to oust Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s progressive first woman president, and the Worker’s Party she represented. Imprisoning Lula and preventing him from running solidified the effects of the coup and opened the field to the right wing. In this article, we track the roots of the elite’s 2016 power grab back to colonization and through various stages of Brazil’s political history. Tracing the contours of women’s movements alongside this history of domination reveals both the configurations of feminist agendas in Brazil and transformations of power. We draw on our experiences as scholars and activists to argue that Brazil’s current crisis has created an opportunity for solidarity that has drawn academic and activist feminists closer. Namely, amidst this crisis, we see a coming together of various women’s movements including Afro-Brazilian women, peasant women, indigenous women, and student groups. The unity among movements is made evident through the 2017 Women’s Worlds March for Rights, which the authors of this paper organized and attended, as well as #EleNão and 8M. In post-coup Brazil and throughout Latin America, women have been the face of the resistance to an encroaching fascism; this battle will require sustained opposition and continued deepening of solidarities.

Note on the Author

Cara Knaub Snyder is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Latin American Studies Center at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her PhD in July 2019 from the Department of Women's Studies, also at UMD. From 2011 - 2013 Snyder taught at the Instituto Federal do Sertão Pernambucano and at the Universidade Federal do Vale do São Francisco in Brazil. She also participated in the 13th Women's World Congress in Florianopolis and is part of an edited volume (forthcoming) to emerge from that Congress, titled Transnational Feminist Itineraries. Snyder's research explores political shifts in Brazil (1996 - 2019) through the athletic activism of women and LGBT futebolistas. E-mail address: csnyder3@umd.edu

Cristina Scheibe Wolff is Full Professor of History Department of Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil. She is PhD in Social History (USP, 1998) and was visiting researcher at Université Rennes 2 (2005 and 2018), University of Maryland (2011) and University of Massachusetts/Amherst (2017). She is one of the editors of Revista Estudos Feministas (www.scielo.br/ref ) and was the main organizer of 13th Womens Worlds Congress (august 2017, Florianopolis, Brazil). Her recent research focuses in gender, feminisms and women in the resistance to Dictatorships in South America (1960-1985) and in the political use of emotions in this context. She is the author of a book on Amazonian women’s history and edited several books, chapters and articles about gender, feminisms and dictatorships in Southern Cone of America. E-mail address cristina.wolff@ufsc.br

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