Patrícia C. Letro de Brito
My interest in the history of slavery began during my undergraduate degree in History at the Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, in Minas Gerais, Brazil. My BA dissertation was dedicated to the study of maroon settlements in the colonial period and it aimed at understanding their historical connections with contemporary maroon communities, which had their traditional territories recognized by Brazil’s 1988 Constitution. After a period of training and work as a researcher in the Laboratory of Archaeology at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, I studied for a master’s degree in Archaeology at the Museu Nacional/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, which I concluded in 2014. My MA dissertation looked at nineteenth-century glass beads recovered from archaeological excavations held in Rio de Janeiro’s Valongo Wharf, the largest port of disembarkation of African captives in the Americas. The main purpose of this research was to examine what the glass beads could tell us about the participation of enslaved African people in the wide transatlantic trade networks, as well as their role as active consumers in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Currently, I am a PhD student at the Graduate Program in Anthropology at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. My research now offers a deeper analysis into glass beads, by further addressing the different roles these artifacts had in the construction of African-diasporic subjectivities in rural and urban contexts between the 18th and 19th centuries in the broader area of the state of Rio de Janeiro.