VFOA Brazil

Black Women’s Economy

Black Women’s Economies in Salvador Bahia, Brazil, seeks to collect and disseminate narratives of Bahian Black women’s lived experiences in order to provide insight into this community’s significance and the ways these women challenge hegemonic notions of gender, race, religion, and Brazilian national identity. In particular, this project focuses on a specific group called baianas do acarajé. These women work in the streets of Bahia selling acarajé, a fried and steamed bean cake that is considered a sacred food in the Candomblé religion. Dressed in their traditional attire, the baianas do acarajé are also iconic figures of Brazilian national identity. In addition to the baianas do acarajé, this study will also include the narratives of other Black women working in the area as a way to better contextualize the baianas do acarajé’s narratives.

As is the case with much of VFOA’s work, this project’s methodology is profoundly interdisciplinary, employing literary and cultural studies, linguistics, sociology, and anthropology. We believe that interdisciplinarity allows us to better identify and productively address potential gaps in knowledge about this population and others.