Rodrigues, Raimundo Nina (1862–1906)

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Rodrigues, Raimundo Nina (1862–1906)

Raimundo Nina Rodrigues (b. 4 December 1862; d. 17 July 1906), founder of Afro-Brazilian studies and anthropology. Trained in Bahia as a physician, he began around 1888 to study Brazilian blacks from the perspective of criminological psychiatry. His work diagnosed Afro-Brazilian culture as the manifestation of racial evolutionary backwardness, yet it pioneered the empirical study of that culture.

His most important contribution was O animismo fetichista dos negros bahianos (1896; The Fetishist Animism of Bahian Blacks). This book describes the divinities and rituals of the Candomblé religion and classifies its beliefs as animism, higher on the evolutionary scale than fetishism. Os africanos no Brasil (1932; Africans in Brazil), a posthumous collection of articles, includes studies on the regional origins of African slaves in Brazil and on the history of slavery.

Nina Rodrigues's ethnological research was always an adjunct to his primary interest in criminology. His major work was As raças humanas e a responsabilidade penal no Brasil (1894; Human Races and Criminal Accountability), but he also published on such diverse topics as the diagnoses of wounds and the nature of criminal crowds. Rodrigues trained or influenced many of the next generation of physician-anthropologists, including Afrânio Peixoto and Artur Ramos. His disciples continued the study of Afro-Brazilian culture but repudiated his racial theories.

See alsoSlavery: Brazil .


Afrânio Peixoto, "A vida e a obra de Nina Rodrigues," in Raimundo Nina Rodrigues, As raças humanas e a responsabilidade penal no Brasil, 3d ed. (1938), pp. 11-26, a biographical sketch.

Henrique L. Alves, Nina Rodrigues e o negro no Brasil (1962), critical and biographical essays.

Thomas Skidmore, Black into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought (1974), a general study of racial ideology.

Additional Bibliography

Corrêa, Mariza. As ilusões da liberdade: A Escola Nina Rodrigues e a antropologia no Brasil. Bragança Paulista, Brazil: Instituto Franciscano de Antropologia, Universidade São Francisco, 1998.

                                          Dain Borges

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Rodrigues, Raimundo Nina (1862–1906)

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Rodrigues, Raimundo Nina (1862–1906)