Histories without frontiers. The Brazil that Gilberto Freyre created

Marcos Cardão


Gilberto Freyre was an organizer and divulger of ideas and was responsible for the invention of a series of Brazilianisms. Though his work is extensive and multifaceted, Gilberto Freyre is mainly remembered for his book Casa Grande & Senzala, which is still regarded as innovative in terms of its subject, methodology and style and remains a bibliographical reference to understand the history of Brazil. The book Casa Grande & Senzala covers a series of aspects which would become indispensable to describe and imagine Brazil, in addition to being an original study about the general traits of the Portuguese colonization, reflected in the notion that the Portuguese had made a benign colonization in the tropics because of their “psychophysiological predisposition” to miscegenation and the encounter of cultures.In this article, I will examine how Gilberto Freyre established an equivalence between Portuguese history and heritage and Brazilian ways of living. My purpose is to verify how the category of cultural frontier was initially mobilized to imagine the emergence of Brazil – through the transformation of excluding practices into hypotheses of accommodation – and, at a later stage, reutilized to describe the singularity of other cultural areas.


Gilberto Freyre, frontier, nationalism, Lusotropicology

Citation reference:

Marcos Cardão. “Histórias sem fronteiras. O Brasil que Gilberto Freyre criou” Práticas da História, Journal on Theory, Historiography and Uses of the Past, n.º 10 (2020): 45-70.



< Práticas da História, nº 10 (2020)