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Scientific Objectives

Brazil’s role in the contemporary world is now widely recognised. This “emergent” economy, faced with one of the planet’s greatest ecological challenges, is also a rich political laboratory for democracy, struggles against poverty and racial discrimination – even if the social disparities and violence engendered by the latter remain part of the country’s everyday life. Nor should one ignore the place of this immense territory in the processes of colonisation that launched Europe’s maritime empires in their assault of the American continent from the sixteenth century onward. Here, the “first contact” took on singular dimensions. Successive forms of land occupation and organisation of slave labour (Amerindian or African) left traces that remain indelible to this day. Now more than ever, there is an pressing need to become better acquainted with this exceptional territory and the multiple international ensembles to which it is linked, where numerous paradigms of modernity and postmodernity have been forged. The journal Brésil(s). Sciences humaines et sociales is devoted to this task.

The choice of title and use of the plural indicate our desire to broaden the debate: this immense country cannot be envisaged in the singular. Brazil is composed of multiple societies and social groups, whose continual interactions have helped redesign an extremely dynamic national reality. Since its origins, the country has been read from the diverse viewpoints of the conflicting empires who, in varying capacities, laid claim to it, and the construction of its identity has been a long, complex process, which was relatively different from that of its neighbours. Since abolition and decolonisation, the hopes that were founded on the country’s social “models” have largely overflowed its borders. It is towards a better understanding of this often singular complexity that the journal wishes to contribute.

Certainly, Brazilian research and international Brazilianist research have attended to this task for many years. Both have achieved the critical mass and maturity needed to play a prominent role in global debate and inter-university exchanges. Brazil offers an impressive panorama of extremely high quality humanities and social science journals. However, the greater part of this production continues to be in Portuguese or, in the international literature, in English. It is necessary to bring Francophone audiences into contact with these underexplored elements in the comprehension of a territory that has, since its earliest history, been situated on a world scale.

Open to all the social sciences and humanities, Brésil(s) aims not only to convey the progress of each of their constituent disciplines, but also to serve as a meeting point for their debates. This is the case for most of the topics addressed, in which anthropologists, economists, historians, literary critics, and sociologists engage in dialogue about the questions posed to them. In addition, the journal aims to act as a platform for international Brazilianist research, and hopes to facilitate the addition of new perspectives, exchanges of commentaries, and confrontations. Such interchanges are reinforced by a series of events linked to our editorial calendar. The publication of each new edition is accompanied by an international meeting (a workshop, symposium, or colloquium) and, through our monthly “Midi de Brésil(s)” seminar, we give one well-known Brazilianist the chance to interact with an even broader public, by transmitting the conference online through the Audiovisual Research Archives website of the Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme.

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