Appropriation and paralysis. The construction of Brazil and her inhabitants in Portuguese eye witness reports 1500-1595
Part I discusses theory and method in relation to the topic, presents the texts to be analyzed and the method of analysis. The second part describes the native Americans (Indians) in relation to the colonial project - how they are described in Portuguese texts, letters, reports (by Pêro Vaz de Caminha, Pêro Lopes de Sousa, Pêro de Magalhães de Gândavo, Gabriel Soares de Sousa, Manuel da Nóbrega, José de Anchieta, Fernão Cardim, Francisco Soares). The representation of native Americans in the reports shows the intentions of their authors, the results they wanted to achieve from readers of the texts. If the aim of a missionary was to get more troops from the king for protection, the native Americans were described as dangerous, cannibals, etc. If the aim was to influence more fellow monks to come to America, Brazil was described as a kind of paradise, the indigenous population as friendly, etc. Many of the textual representations were essentialist: native Americans were described "as they were" - their "nature" was fix. Pinheiro analyzes this discourse on otherness e.g. by contrasting descriptions of people vs. descriptions of natural environment. She contemplates on the construction of alterity, the effects of this scientific endeavor, and the systematization of alterity, i.e., its utilization for purposes of the constructors - mission (spreading of the oikoumene), power, legitimation, and ethnography becoming self-determining and following its own rules.
Keywords: native Americans, Indians in Brazil, colonialism in Brazil, mission in Brazil, discovery of Brazil, essentialism, alterity, otherness