The project funded by the Research Funds of the University of Helsinki (2014–2016)

The project examines Brazilian indigenous and Afro-Brazilian people’s ways of engaging with the world from the perspective of forging new subject positions. People from indigenous and Afro-American backgrounds are becoming ever more active in their political engagement, designing new education systems, taking new positions in academia, and creating novel religious intersubjectivity. Global interactions, technologies, and new state policies have been important factors in these processes. The project focuses on agency constructions in a variety of social, cultural, economic, and political contexts and the ideas of imagined (home)places and spaces based on ethnicity, philosophy, and religion as they affect power relations and notions of creating the future. We stress a ‘not-yet’ consciousness, modes of attention to the fact that something has still to happen or become. Both human and non-human subjects are included in the analysis of agency and relations. Our research sites in Brazil include Arawak-speaking indigenous populations in the states of Acre and Amazonas; São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro metropolitan areas, where the devotees of Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion are the primary focus of attention; and Bahia that brings transnational capoeira Angola participants into the picture of Afro-Brazilian experience.