Ann M. Schneider is a historian of Brazil and a specialist on Cold War–era conflicts and the subsequent transitional justice mechanisms utilized throughout Latin America.
In 1895, forty-seven rebel military officers contested the terms of a law that granted them amnesty but blocked their immediate return to the armed forces. During the century that followed, numerous other Brazilians who similarly faced repercussions for political opposition or outright rebellion subsequently made claims to forms of recompense through amnesty. By 2010, tens of thousands of Brazilians had sought reparations, referred to as amnesty, for repression suffered during the Cold War–era dictatorship. This book examines the evolution of amnesty in Brazil and describes when and how it functioned as an institution synonymous with restitution. Ann M. Schneider is concerned with the politics of conciliation and reflects on this history of Brazil in the context of broader debates about transitional justice. She argues that the adjudication of entitlements granted in amnesty laws marked points of intersection between prevailing and profoundly conservative politics with moments and trends that galvanized the demand for and the expansion of rights, showing that amnesty in Brazil has been both surprisingly democratizing and yet stubbornly undemocratic.