Courtney J. Campbell is associate professor in Latin American history at the University of Birmingham. Her research focuses on themes of cultural identity, globalization, spatial history, race, and gender in Brazil.
The Brazilian Northeast has long been a marginalized region with a complex relationship to national identity. It is often portrayed as impoverished, backward, and rebellious, yet traditional and culturally authentic. Brazil is known for its strong national identity, but national identities do not preclude strong regional identities. In Region Out of Place, Courtney J. Campbell examines how groups within the region have asserted their identity, relevance, and uniqueness through interactions that transcend national borders. From migration to labor mobilization, from wartime dating to beauty pageants, from literacy movements to representations of banditry in film, Campbell explores how the development of regional cultural identity is a modern, internationally embedded conversation that circulated among Brazilians of every social class. Part of a region-based nationalism that reflects the anxiety that conflicting desires for modernity, progress, and cultural authenticity provoked in the twentieth century, this identity was forged by residents who continually stepped out of their expected roles, taking their region’s concerns to an international stage.