Child and Citizen: The Tutelage of Minors, Slavery, and Transition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1871-1900
Kostiw, Nicolette Marie
This dissertation examines the role that children of color played in Brazil’s transition from slavery into the post-emancipation era. I explore the themes of law, family, gender, race, and labor using tutelage legal documents from Rio de Janeiro between 1871 and 1900. Through tutelage documents, I uncover the conflicts over free children of color that developed between their parents and the State. These micro-histories illustrate the intersections between the gradual, elite movement toward emancipation, beginning with the Free Womb Law of 1871, and the continual struggle of former slaves to negotiate their conditional freedoms. I argue that the purpose, structure, and implementation of tutelary guardianship show how Brazilian society shifted from a system of undefined yet accessible rights to one of defined, yet largely inaccessible rights for people of color and their offspring. By contrasting elements of change and continuity within the lives of Afro-Brazilians, this dissertation contributes to historiographical discussions of slavery, citizenship, and inequality within the Brazilian context.