Daniel F. Silva is associate professor of Luso-Hispanic Studies, director of Black Studies, and director of the Twilight Project at Middlebury College. He is the author of Anti-Empire: Decolonial Interventions in Lusophone Literatures and Subjectivity and the Reproduction of Imperial Power: Empire’s Individuals. He has edited and coedited multiple anthologies and is coeditor of the Anthem Press book series Anthem Studies in Race, Power, and Society.
Embodying Modernity examines the current boom of fitness culture in Brazil in the context of the white patriarchal notions of race, gender, and sexuality through which fitness practice, commodities, and cultural products traffic. The book traces the imperial meanings and orders of power conveyed through “fit” bodies and their different configurations of muscularity, beauty, strength, and health within mainstream visual media and national and global public spheres. Drawing from a wide range of Brazilian visual media sources including fitness magazines, television programs, film, and social media, Daniel F. Silva theorizes concepts and renderings of modern corporality, its racialized and gendered underpinnings, and its complex relationship to white patriarchal power and capital. This study works to define the ubiquitous parameters of fitness culture and argues that its growth is part of a longer collective nationalist project of modernity tied to whiteness, capitalist ideals, and historical exceptionalism.