Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos’ work provides a strong sense of Ouro Preto’s evolution as an urban core, as well as inside access to the challenges posed by a student population, exclusive events targeting outsiders, and the political landscape of decision-making during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. — The Americas
In a pessimistic exploration of the clash between historic preservation and local community involvement, de Souza Santos (Univ. of Oxford, UK) presents the results of her ethnographic study of the UNESCO World Heritage site Ouro Preto in Brazil. As a Brazilian scholar from another heritage site (Brasília), the author is uniquely qualified to elucidate the difficulties presented when a community in a historically significant (and preserved) area struggles with making that setting more efficient and comfortable for its residents. In the 1930s, the center of Ouro Preto was designated culturally significant, based on the reasoning that earlier political struggles in the mountainside town had been fundamental to the construction of Brazilian nationalism. Missing in that interpretation, however, was any consideration for the daily hardships of slaves (especially in the local mines), or for the town's domination by the colonial upper class. De Souza Santos concludes that by preventing change from occurring without a multilevel political process of approval in the historic core, preservation edicts in fact perpetuate inequality among the city's residents. This well-argued text, supplemented by numerous photographs, has important implications for historians, anthropologists, and preservationists alike. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals.— Choice Reviews
This book’s sustained focus on tensions between governance/management structures and community rights/participation in the definition and use of urban space and heritage in Ouro Preto speaks to current concerns in heritage studies and urban development. The close-grained ethnographic and historically grounded studies are immensely useful in adding real-world critiques to the burgeoning heritage and urban development policy context of not only national, but also international agents, such as UNESCO.— Dr Helle Jørgensen, Lecturer in Cultural Heritage Studies, Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham
By placing questions of national identity, power, and politics at the center of an investigation into urban memory, cultural heritage, and legacies of social injustice in Brazil, this book provides an important contribution to contemporary social science debates. It is innovative in its methodological approach (owing to the author’s ethnographic study of historical memory), as well as how it highlights connections between postcolonial development, the role of the state, and discourses of public participation.
— Jeff Garmany, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne
Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos’ first monograph is a rich and sophisticated ethnography of the politics of memory in Ouro Preto written in an easy, flowing style. Drawing on diverse sources and bodies of literature – from heritage studies and political anthropology to in-depth interviews and ethnographic notes based on participant observation to literature and historical archives – this book is of great interest not only to anthropologists, heritage and urban studies specialists, but also to anyone interested in issues of participative democracy, grassroots politics and inequality in contemporary Brazil.— Katerina Hatzikidi, University of Oxford and Graduate Institute Geneva; Urban History