Gina Robinson (KCL) - 2021-22 Students

"Performing and (re-)writing women's narratives in capoeira "

My PhD investigates the experiences of women in capoeira: an Afro-Brazilian martial art, dance, and musical tradition. Believed to have originated among communities of African slaves in colonial Brazil, capoeira is unique from other sports and art forms because men and women perform together, interact, and compete simultaneously. The last 40 years have seen a revolution in the number of female students and teachers practising capoeira both in Brazil and abroad, which is challenging historical male-centred narratives in the art form. My PhD fulfils the need to document, compare and analyse the emerging oral and embodied narratives of Brazilian women who lead capoeira groups in Europe. I am especially interested in the embodiment of brasilidade (‘Brazilianness’) by teachers whose gender does not adhere to a typical image of authority within capoeira, and in Brazilian society in general. This multi sited, cross-cultural study represents an innovative and timely contribution to discussions of creolization, decolonialization, performance, race, and gender theory worldwide. My findings will be of interest to both practitioners and researchers of capoeira and Afro-Brazilian music, culture, and history.

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