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Grant number: FA-251469-17

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FA-251469-17

Paulina Laura Alberto
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)

The Story of Raúl Grigera (1886-1955) and the African Diaspora in 20th-Century Argentina

A book-length study of race in Argentina centered on narrative accounts of the Afro-Argentine cultural figure Raúl Grigera (1886-1955).

I am applying to the NEH to support full-time writing of my second book. Black Legend uses the case of a famous Afro-Argentine man, the dandy-turned-beggar Raúl Grigera, to tell the untold history of blacks and blackness in Argentina’s long twentieth century. I read the hundreds of published stories about “el negro Raúl” alongside archival records of his life to reveal how exaggerated tales of degraded and disappearing blackness sustained national whiteness in the twentieth century, as well as to craft the first counter-narrative of black presence and self-fashioning for that period. More broadly, by exploring Raúl’s case as a striking example of the role of storytelling in disseminating and reinforcing racial ideologies, the book offers a situated contribution from the humanities to scholarship (mostly in social and medical sciences) on narrative’s uniquely compelling powers and on the implications of narrative persuasion for understanding, and combating, racism and its persistence.

Project fields:
Latin American History; Latin American Studies

Program:
Fellowships for University Teachers

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018