VFOA Brazil

Black Women’s Economy

Black Women’s Economies in Salvador Bahia, Brazil seeks to collect, compile, and disseminate narratives of Bahia’s black women’s lives to provide insight into the significance of this community that challenges many of the hegemonic notions of gender, race, religion, and national identity that have dominated Brazilian history. In particular, this project will focus mainly on a specific subgroup of black bahianas working in Salvador Bahia, the baianas do acarajé.  These women work in the streets of Bahia selling a specific type of food, the acarajé, a fried and steamed bean cake characteristic of the Candomble religion. The acarajé is considered a sacred food by the baianas do acarajé. In turn, the baianas do acarajé, dressed in their traditional attire, are seen in Brazil as well as in the rest of the world as iconic figures of Brazilian national identity. Despite having the baianas do acarajé as the main focus of research, the study will also deal with other working black women in the area, to help contextualize the  baianas do acarajé’s narratives

In terms of methodology, this project is profoundly interdisciplinary, employing the language approaches, and values of literary and cultural studies, sociology, and anthropology. This choice is intended to allow the study to better identify and productively address the lacunae in knowledge about this population.