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História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos

versão impressa ISSN 0104-5970versão On-line ISSN 1678-4758

Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos v.15  supl.0 Rio de Janeiro  2008 



Marina de Vasconcellos and the social sciences in Rio de Janeiro: a study of the social circles*



Adelia Maria Miglievich Ribeiro

Programa de Pós-graduação em Políticas Sociais Faculdade de Ciências Sociais Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense - R. Salvador Corrêa, 1, apto. 502 - 28035-310 Campos dos Goytacazes RJ - Brasil.




An investigation of the career of one of the 'founding mothers' of the social sciences in Rio de Janeiro, Marina de Vasconcellos, successor of Arthur Ramos, is one way of understanding how anthropology was established in Rio de Janeiro. Conflicts and alliances, continuities and discontinuities, lie behind the pioneering Brazilian Society of Anthropology and Ethnology and, in later years, the Instituto de Ciências Sociais, both at Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia. Marina de Vasconcellos' professional life bore the marks of the clash between different schools of thought regarding anthropology at a time when university courses were being introduced. As a professor, she was committed to educating new professionals, and as Director of Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais in 1968, she was steadfast in the struggle for university autonomy. The study leads to a reflection upon the criteria for success in academia, countering the view that this depends entirely on the publication of books and articles. Though she left no body of work, Marina surely made a decisive contribution to the social sciences in Rio de Janeiro.

Keywords: Marina São Paulo de Vasconcellos (1912-1973); Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia; Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais; history of social sciences; history of anthropology; Brazil.



In "The intersection of social circles" by Georg Simmel, from his well-known work Sociology1, the author notes that in modern societies, individuals belong to a larger number of social circles. The 'social circle' is a metaphor that refers to the sphere or ambit of a specific intersubjective activity, one which concerns family relations, friendships, professional relationships, and so forth. Meanwhile, individuals construct themselves in the intersection of social circles, in their self-determination. Thus, Simmel relates the notion of individualism to the number of social circles each person interacts with. This status can be acquired by the individual as they are not entirely in any one of the circles. Also, a quantitative analysis of social circles is one of the best ways of measuring how modern a society is.

Simmel's concept of interaction or 'sociation'2 is one way of overcoming the reappearance of a dichotomy in the social sciences whose explanatory power is highly questionable: the separation between individual and society. In Simmel's sociology, what matters is to examine the types of relationship (social or sociation forms) between individuals which can be 'routinized'3 or not. Continuities and discontinuities coexist in the establishment of social realities. Simmel observes, for instance, that similar motivations can lead to diverse forms of sociation. Likewise, distinct inclinations or objectives are no barrier to the production of very similar social forms. The sociologist understood the mission of this discipline to be the study of the creation, recreation, formation, transformation, continuity and change of 'social forms', the different ways that men and women act with each other, to each other, against each other, forming society/ies in history.4

Simmel's angle is particularly useful for this review of the formation of the social sciences in Rio de Janeiro, observing issues not addressed in great enough depth by institution-oriented studies or a sole focus on scientific output. Actually, the choice to base any understanding of the dynamics of social forms in shaping a scientific field on specific institutional milestones fails to pick up the more subtle movements at play, such as the alliances and conflicts that have permeated the history of the social sciences in Rio de Janeiro. By investigating the intersecting social forms which did not respect the formal beginning or ending dates of given institutions, I have encountered female intellectuals with an unprecedented presence from the 1930s to 1950s, a time when the social sciences were being founded and established in Rio de Janeiro and when a broadening of social circles provided individuals with a greater number of groups to which they could belong.

The creation and expansion of state institutions and entities, which demanded specific competencies and compensated employees for clearly defined functions, multiplied the number of social circles. In the arenas of culture, science and education, the first tentative steps were taken towards establishing an authority - confirmed through positions - which would pass down the rules for cultural activities.

Despite the limited attention given to women and the scant mention they receive in the memory of Brazilian social sciences5, they did in fact hold positions and engage in significant activities which gave these sciences the shape they have today. I will talk specifically about one such woman and one time in her life, which coincided with the early days of the social sciences in Rio de Janeiro, when very few women could contribute to what would at first glance appear to be an exclusively male domain: the creation of disciplines, laboratories, research, courses and curricula.

Marina São Paulo de Vasconcellos (1912-1973) did not emerge in the history of Brazil's social sciences with work on a specific topic. She did not speak out about a new order for her field, nor was she really a founder of institutions. However, an examination of the history of this area seen through prism of Marina de Vasconcellos' experience6 raises questions about the criteria normally used to classify 'success in the academic world'. Thus, I will analyze the life story of this woman, acknowledging the exceptional nature of her contribution. As one of the 'powers that be', she regulated the access of new members to the scientific community, standardized its daily running, and addressed the main problem of effecting the introduction, continuation and endorsement of the social sciences in the field of science.7

For almost thirty years, Marina worked as a professor, training social scientists within the confines of one institution: Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia at Universidade do Brasil (FNFi/UB). Today, her former students hold leading positions in the area, injecting fresh life into the social sciences through their work either in universities, educating new generations of professionals, or for the State and in civil society in its broadest sense. First, I will portray the young student in her first contact with the discipline under Arthur Ramos. I will then present the work that formed the theoretical backbone of her studies of 'counter-acculturation'. Finally, I analyze her career to identify the effort exerted to consolidate a discipline in the formative years of Universidade do Brasil.


From the anthropology cathedra and the Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia to the board of Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Marina Delamare São Paulo de Vasconcellos was born on March 25, 1912 in Rio de Janeiro, then the capital of Brazil, to Aleixo de Vasconcellos and Dinorah Delamare São Paulo de Vasconcellos. Her father was a physician and researcher who had graduated from Faculdade do Rio de Janeiro. He started his professional life at Faculdade de Medicina e Cirurgia de São Paulo. Upon returning to Rio de Janeiro, he worked at Instituto Oswaldo Cruz under Oswaldo Cruz himself, who, like Carlos Chagas and Fernandes Figueira, dedicated his life to the cause of medicine. He passed a competition to become livre-docente [a qualification which grants its holder the right to lecture in different university disciplines] in microbiology at the Faculdade Nacional de Medicina. He was also one of the founders and professors of microbiology at the Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, at Universidade do Estado da Guanabara.

Aleixo de Vasconcelos combined a profound interest in research with a commitment to making the findings of his studies known. He was a scientist who "doubled" as a professor. This is why he published so many volumes and articles ... . Actually, it is the students who choose their masters. And the students of his time chose Aleixo de Vasconcelos and acclaimed him as the true guide through the field of Medicine. (Cunha, 1966, p.25, 37)

Esteemed by his young students and admired by his colleagues, including Dr. Cumplido de Santana (Faculdade de Ciências Médicas), Dr. Olímpio da Fonseca Filho (Academia Nacional de Medicina), Dr. Mílton Machado (who was responsible for having a hospital in Deodoro district, Rio de Janeiro, named after him), and Dr. Raimundo Moniz de Aragão (his successor at Academia Nacional de Medicina), Dr. Aleixo de Vasconcellos demonstrated to his oldest daughter from an early age that one could spend time with illustrious men whose lives were intimately linked to the fortunes of science and academia in Brazil. Marina and her younger siblings looked up to their father.

Aleixo de Vasconcellos was also Director of the Departamento de Leites e Derivados at Ministério da Agricultura, where he worked with Afrânio Peixoto. He also headed the Microbiology Service at Instituto Central and at the Ehrlich laboratory. As a member of scientific committees and societies, he stood out for his involvement in the American Public Health Association, New York, the International Confederation of Milk, based in Brussels, and the Board of the Sociedade Nacional de Agricultura. He was also President of the Sociedade de Patologia Clínica and member of the Academia Nacional de Medicina, in Carlos Chagas' chair (Cunha, 1966, p.38, 39).

Dona Dinorah, Marina's mother, died during the birth of her second son, who also perished. Marina's childhood education was then entrusted to her paternal grandparents, Aureliano Nóbrega de Vasconcellos and Francisca Vasconcellos, or Granny Chiquinha. The grandfather, originally from Alagoas state, had come to Rio de Janeiro when still young and become a geographical engineer. The Rio-born grandmother was a primary school teacher. They had had five children: Aleixo, Paulo, Vera, Francisca and Nelson, who had died while still at school.

A few years after the death of his first wife, Aleixo de Vasconcellos married an Italian woman, Lina Pianucci Martinelli, with whom he had two children, Carlos and Sylvia. Carlos de Vasconcelos followed in his father's footsteps, training to be a doctor at Johns Hopkins Institute. He was appointed assistant professor in tropical and infectious diseases at the Faculdade Nacional de Medicina at Universidade do Brasil, and lecturer in medical parasitology at the Faculdade de Medicina at Universidade do Estado da Guanabara. His younger sister, Sylvia Vasconcellos de Carvalho, graduated from the National Music School with a gold medal in piano. She auditioned and won a place at Conservatório Nacional de Canto Orfeônico, a conservatoire founded by Heitor Villa Lobos, to train as a teacher. When she married, she gave up her career to dedicate herself full-time to her husband, home, and five children, Elizabeth, Newton, Maria Tereza, Bruno and Marina.

Marina São Paulo de Vasconcellos studied at the traditional Colégio Jacobina school, then joined the Faculdade de Direito at Universidade do Rio de Janeiro at the age of 20. Whilst still at university, she married a colleague, Antônio Andrade Pacheco, in a civil ceremony. However, her young husband died less than a year later. Marina remarried in 1945 to Isacir Telles Ribeiro, a Captain in the army, though separated from him in the early 1950s.

After her law degree, Marina returned to university in 1936 to study history. She joined one of the first courses at the Universidade do Distrito Federal (UDF) having achieved top marks in the entrance exam. At Universidade do Distrito Federal, which had been created in 1935 by Anísio Teixeira, Marina studied under Arthur Ramos, then professor of Social Psychology, which whom she immediately established a strong bond. At the time, she was a member of the board of Revista da UDF, a journal organized by the students. In 1937, with the introduction of the Estado Novo the activities at all higher education institutions were subject to the rules of a centralizing body, which rejected the innovations brought in by UDF. The young institution, so bold for its day, was closed down in 1939 through decree 1.063. Two months later, the Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras was opened at Universidade do Brasil, which was legally established under the name of Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia, or FNFi by a decree (1.190) passed on April 4, 1939. This faculty housed courses in the social sciences, philosophy, geography and history, natural history, chemistry, physics, mathematics, education, classical languages, neo-Latin languages, and Anglo-Germanic languages. The students enrolled at UDF were transferred directly to Universidade do Brasil, including the 27-year-old Marina de Vasconcellos. A student of history at UDF, she ultimately graduated in history and geography, since the subjects were combined in a single course at FNFi.

Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia, at Universidade do Brasil, was the fourth institution to be established in Brazil. The others were Escola Livre de Sociologia e Política in São Paulo, founded in 1933; Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras at Universidade de São Paulo, dating back to 1934; and UDF, with its short life span (1935-1939). It was also one of the few institutions in the country to educate students in the social sciences, later to be joined by Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro and Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.

Universidade do Brasil was encumbered with the task of training teachers for secondary schools. Its graduates were given automatic access to posts in Rio de Janeiro's schools without having to do any further tests or training. Soon after she graduated, Marina was hired to teach at Colégio Souza Aguiar, then later at Colégio de Aplicação do Rio de Janeiro. She also lectured at the Faculdade de Filosofia at the former Instituto La-Fayette. However, at no time did she break ranks with Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia or her mentor, Arthur Ramos, in her efforts to strengthen the anthropology and ethnography discipline.

FNFi broke new ground in the establishment of the social sciences in Rio de Janeiro, and Marina de Vasconcellos was the first woman to join the teaching staff of its social science courses, and the only woman to head a discipline. The closest professor to Marina was Maria Yedda Linhares, Delgado de Carvalho's deputy in Modern and Contemporary History. There were a few other female professors, mostly in the language courses. In 1950, there were 45 professors at FNFi, both acting and tenured, of whom only four were women, and Marina São Paulo de Vasconcellos was one of them. By 1966, of the total of 38 professors, seven were women (Fávero, 1989, p.124-129).

When UDF closed, Arthur Ramos was appointed to lecture at FNFi as acting professor. Since he joined FNFi, he had approached the Dean with the idea of creating a graduate course in anthropology and ethnography. In a letter to the Dean dated 1939, he proposed a two-year course, the final assignment of which would be an original thesis to be judged by a panel of three professors. The opportunity this course would provide for regular research would make anthropology a self-contained discipline, without which it tended simply to supplement the social science and history and geography courses. Finally, argued the professor, anthropologists had to be trained, not just to become assistant professors, but to rise to the challenge of the nation's scientific development (letter from Arthur Ramos to Leitão da Cunha Esq., Dean of the Universidade do Brasil. Quoted in Barros, 1999, p.47, 48).

Marina de Vasconcellos applied for the graduate course in anthropology and ethnography in 1940. The first year's syllabus included: (a) migration and colonization; (b) types of colonization process; (c) colonization of the New World; (d) special study of Portuguese colonization; (e) colonization and immigration in Brazil; (f) races and European ethnic types in Brazil; (g) races and peoples of Europe; (h) social and cultural studies: the Portuguese continent, the Italian continent, the German continent, the Slav continent, the Baltic continent; (i) races and peoples from other places: the Semite continent, oriental continent etc.; (j) contemporary migration policy in Brazil: classification, identification and registration of foreigners, lodging, Immigration and Colonization Board; (k) the problem of assimilation and acculturation in Brazil; (l) a review of studies into social types; and (m) problems of physical anthropology, adaptation and acclimatization in Brazil. In the second year, a research plan was developed based on the thesis topics put forward by the students, which was accompanied by course suggestions.

The professor attracted a circle of young students and proved to be a conscientious supervisor. He prepared a memorandum for each of his students, which contained the title of their respective theses, suggested courses, and recommendations for the students' research. These included collections and museums to be visited in Rio de Janeiro and further afield, field trips when necessary, groups and communities to be made familiar with, and the gathering of materials in the field. He also required his students to organize a file of bibliographical references throughout their research so that each study would also form a specialized bibliography. In Marina de Vasconcellos' memorandum, Arthur Ramos wrote that the chosen topic was "The uprising of the Malês in Bahia, and its counter-acculturation interpretation", a topic which was later revised, whilst maintaining the main issue of counter-acculturation phenomena in the formation of Brazilian society.

Arthur Ramos' intention to conciliate teaching and research also led him to create an Anthropology Office, which became the cornerstone for the development of research in the area, which included courses in physical anthropology, ethnography, and the ethnography of Brazil.

In Arthur Ramos' efforts to build up the discipline of anthropology and ethnography, he could not have hoped for a more steadfast and efficient assistant than Marina. On January 1, 1941, Marina de Vasconcellos became Arthur Ramos' legal substitute in the discipline. When he went to the USA in September 1940 to lecture at the Louisiana State University and the College of Arts and Sciences, Ramos still oversaw his young disciple from a distance, encouraging her in her tasks. Marina's loyalty, which had started in her student days and would mark her entire career, was more than evident in her work as an assistant professor: "I am looking forward to receiving the professor's plans for next year. Needless to say, my Master finds in me a disciple upon whom he can rely, whatever the occasion. Marina de Vasconcellos" (quoted in Barros, 1999, p.20).

Arthur Ramos continued to prepare the courses, and Marina gave them in his absence. He was kept informed via his assistant's reports and regular contact with the FNFi board about the progress of the courses. When he returned in 1941, the first ever graduate course to be offered as part of a university discipline in anthropology and ethnology in Rio de Janeiro entered its second year.

In 1941 and 1942, two groups of students finished the course. Those who started in 1940 and finished in 1941 included Marina de Vasconcellos, with "Movimentos contra-aculturativos: Palmares"; Maria Dantas de Carvalho, with "Canudos como expressão aculturativa"; Antônio Traverso, with "Pedra Bonita: à luz da História e sua interpretação à luz da Antropologia"; Florinda de Barros Alves Delgado, with "O sincretismo religioso negro-europeu no Brasil"; and Armando José Sampaio de Souza, with "Notas para o estudo das lendas, crendices e superstições portuguesas e seus vestígios no Brasil". The students who joined in 1941 and wrote their theses in 1942 were: Hilgard Sternberg, with "A casa luso-brasileira: estudos de aculturação"; Irene da Silva Melo Carvalho, with "Será o fado um produto da aculturação musical luso-brasileira?"; and Regina Freire Carvalhal, with "A aceitação dos traços africanos no Brasil". These were the first specialists in anthropology to emerge from FNFi, and the first from a university in Rio de Janeiro. There are no records about the continuation of the graduate program, but there are records to show that on June 7, 1941, Arthur Ramos and representatives from a variety of scientific and related associations founded the first Brazilian association dedicated to the scientific treatment of anthropology and its related disciplines: the Sociedade Brasileira de Antropologia e Etnologia (SBAE). Throughout the 1940s, this organization provided an important forum for research by the first graduates from FNFi.









SBAE was structured in such a way as to appeal beyond the limits of the discipline and the FNFi itself. Inspired by the management and running of the large scientific societies in the United States, Arthur Ramos had conceived SBAE as a strategy to bring together specialists in anthropology and related sciences from the widest possible variety of forums. Thus, he invited the following corresponding members: Roger Bastide, Emílio Willens, Donald Pierson, Herbert Baldus, Fernando de Azevedo and Mário de Andrade, representing São Paulo state; Théo Brandão and Bonifácio Silveira, representing Alagoas state; Estácio de Lima and Antônio Osmar Gomes, for Bahia; Luiz Câmara Cascudo, from Rio Grande do Norte; Ademar Vidal, representing Paraíba state; and Dante de Laytano, representing Rio Grande do Sul state, who were jointly responsible for writing the bylaws of SBAE, which were approved in a general meeting on October 11, 1941. Marina was appointed General Secretary, and also took part in the events the society held. In 1942, it organized a symposium under the chairmanship of Dean Raul Leitão da Cunha on The Issue of Acculturation in Brazil, at which Arthur Ramos, Hilgard Sternberg, Marina de Vasconcellos, Irene Silva Melo Carvalho, Antonio Travesso, Maria Dantas de Mendonça, Armando Sampaio de Souza, Florinda Alves Delgado and Regina Carvalhal gave talks (unnumbered document. IFCS/UFRJ archive).

At SBAE, young assistants like Marina de Vasconcellos and students had their first chance to hear discussions on the concept of culture and acculturation and on the importance of black studies in Brazil. On August 12, 1942, Marina gave a talk on the subject of her final assignment for the graduate course: "Movimentos contra-aculturativos no Brasil: Palmares", in which she addressed three aspects which comprise the concept of acculturation - acceptance, adaptation, and reaction - analyzing the causes behind the formation of the Palmares quilombo. She drew parallels between the quilombo dwellers in Africa and their counterparts in Brazil as concerning their material culture (housing, clothing, food, weapons, utensils and trade) and spiritual culture (family structure, social organization, religion and language). The talk was commented on by Professor Hélio Vianna and discussed by Arthur Ramos, Costa Pinto and Mário Barata (Minutes of SBAE of Aug. 12, 1942. Quoted in Azeredo, 1986, p.149).

On August 14, 1946, Marina de Vasconcellos gave a new presentation at SBAE. Continuing her investigation of acculturation and counter-acculturation, she turned her attention to "A etnia alemã no Brasil". In the paper, Marina brings together some general notions about what was called the 'mobility of peoples' - the movement of individuals in social space - in which immigration is a byproduct of the process. She notes that when immigrants settle in a very different social environment, they find themselves forced to adapt to the new living conditions. This causes them to lose their 'endemic culture'. She analyzes the more explicit causes of immigration, expulsion and attraction, highlighting motivations of an economic, political and religious nature for expulsion. However, as both causes complement each other, she adds that attraction is the expectation of establishing a new life in a place capable of offering better living conditions. She also talks about the pros and cons of the high immigration rates in several countries where this was the case as of 1918. There is an increase in poverty, criminality, illiteracy, contagious diseases, and core groups emerge which are alien to the nation's existing social structure. These factors are counterbalanced by the process of populating the country, the cultivation of the land, economic progress, and ethnic formation. Marina also emphasizes the importance of the research to support migration policymaking as of 1921, which did not limit itself to researchers from a single country, but sought to form an 'international entity of study and conciliation', encouraging true cooperation between nations. In her lecture, she proposed that discussions be held to contrast the immigrant's culture and that of the nation which receives them, focusing on the formation of the German colonies in Brazil. Marina analyzed the assimilation of the language, religion, and family organization. Finally, she highlighted the importance of a positive acculturation process for there to be equally positive results for the work of colonies in Brazil. The lecture was commented on by Gavião Gonzaga, Roberto Simmonard and Nilton Campos.

The process of making the teaching of anthropology and the training of researchers a routine activity meant that courses and syllabuses had to be planned, budgets prepared, students supervised, lectures given, contact maintained with other scientific institutions, and agreements set up with government institutions to foster the development of the student body. It was with this intent that the discipline collaborated on a set of studies commissioned by the Departamento Nacional de Imigração. On May 26, 1947, Arthur Ramos sent San Tiago Dantas, Director of FNFi, a report on the activities requested by the Director of the National Departamento de Imigração, explaining the contribution made by the anthropology and ethnography discipline to the study of the first immigrants on Ilha das Flores. He said he had put together a team of students to carry out the research, comprising Paulo Carvalho Netto, Alexandre Lissovsky, Gilberto Alves da Silva, Olga de Queiroz Combacau, Sol Garson, Sulamita de Farias Brito e Castro, Waldir da Cunha, Elvia Roque Steffan, Charlotte Wescler, and Magnólia F. de Medeiros. They would be coordinated by himself and his assistant, Marina de Vasconcellos, under the supervision of trained instructors Sara Colcher and Elza Barbosa Chaves Pinto. They conducted physical anthropology studies, which included gathering descriptive anthropometric data. They examined a total of 763 men, women and children, with an abstention rate of 10%, comprising infants in their first months of life and individuals who skipped the exam. The study, which lasted one week, from Monday, May 19 to Friday, May 23, examined 150 people a day from 9am to 4pm. Arthur Ramos further explained to the Director of FNFi that other groups would subsequently be studied, until 5000 immigrants had been included. Finally, he asked San Tiago Dantas for the research to be continued, for 10,000 anthropometric forms to be printed, according to the attached model, and for ten steel files to be procured for the aforementioned forms (Doc 9 - May 29, 1947 - IFCS/UFRJ archive).

In 1947, while Marina was assistant professor under Arthur Ramos, the anthropology discipline had a significant breakthrough. Though sociology and economics had been and continued to be the central core of the course since the curriculum introduced in 1939, anthropology was no longer to be given in a single course in the final year, but in two mandatory disciplines: anthropology in one year and ethnography in the other. Also, the curriculum now had an optional discipline - something that had not existed before - the Ethnography of Brazil and the Tupi language. Additionally, as of 1947, there was clearly a growing interest in teaching research methodology applied to anthropology, sociology and economics.

Upon the invitation of Unesco, Arthur Ramos went to Paris in 1949 with a view to consolidating the new direction of his research. He wanted to "organize in Brazil an investigation into contact between races or ethnic groups with the aim of determining the economic, social, political, cultural and psychological factors which foster or hamper the existence of harmonious relationships between races and ethnic groups" (Unesco, 1950, quoted in Maio, 1998, p.18). The presence of Ramos at Unesco from August to October 1949 represented a particularly significant moment for Brazil's social sciences, which owe much to his efforts. At the 5th General Conference of Unesco in June 1950, approval was given for Arthur Ramos' brainchild: a study into race relations in Brazil, representing a qualitative leap for the development of research in the social sciences.

Unfortunately, on October 31, 1949, Arthur Ramos suffered a fatal heart attack before he ever had the chance to witness the fruits of his effort. His death reignited discussions about who would succeed him in anthropology and ethnography. One person keen to take over the post was Heloísa Alberto Torres, whose curriculum vitae states she was a professor in the Departamento de Antropologia e Etnografia at the Museu Nacional, Universidade do Brasil, a position which she had gained after a public competition; a contracted professor of social anthropology at the former Universidade do Distrito Federal; Director of Museu Nacional; representative of Brazil at many international congresses; member of many Brazilian and foreign anthropology institutes; author of works, and organizer of exhibitions of scientific research, mostly concerning anthropology.

Self-taught, Heloísa Alberto Torres contacted the board of the Universidade do Brasil, requesting that her qualifications be accepted as the equivalent of livre-docente, which would make her eligible to apply for the post as acting professor and later for the competition which would appoint a tenured professor. Her request was successful, and Dean Pedro Calmon issued a report which cleared the way for her candidature.

However, the Dean's decision clashed head on with the decision made by the FNFi board, which immediately reacted against the eligibility of Heloísa Alberto Torres as a candidate. This could be interpreted as a dispute between the modernization of the university, which now had selection criteria based on academic qualifications, and the tradition of hiring self-taught scholars, who were still a majority at FNFi, even after higher education courses became available. Eventually, those that defended the need for applicants to hold a degree won. Pedro Calmon was forced to backtrack on his decision, sending the Faculty Director, Professor Carneiro Leão, the following letter:

For the attention of the Director of FNFi, Dear Sir, Further to the process by which Sra. Heloísa Alberto Torres applied to have her qualifications deemed eligible for the teaching of Anthropology, I must clarify that, in view of the appeal filed by the department committee at this Faculty, there was a error in the decision handed down by this office, as is clear to see, either by the request by the illustrious professor herself, or by the conclusion of the report approved by the university board. The error was swiftly noted by the very author of the report, to whom I have again submitted the process. I would therefore request that you inform your esteemed colleagues that no title of livre-docente has been granted, except insofar as a recognition of merit, as demanded by the terms of the request - Please accept my most sincere salutations (Letter from Pedro Calmon, Dean, to the Director of Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia, Carneiro Leão. Nov. 21, 1949. IFCS/UFRJ archive).

Without Marina and Heloísa Alberto Torres actually coming head-to-head in the quest for influence in the field of anthropology with Arthur Ramos, Marina nonetheless emerged as the winner, while Heloísa was defeated. Marina held a bachelor's degree and teaching certificate in Geography and History from FNFi, at the Universidade do Brasil. She was also a professor at the Faculdade de Filosofia at Instituto La-Fayette, Assistant Professor of History of the Middle Ages, in 1942, and of the Teaching of Geography and History in 1945. She had been appointed teacher of General History and the History of Brazil at Colégio de Aplicação school after sitting a competition for which 111 graduates in geography and history had applied, gaining ninth place. She had done a course in Museums and Librarianship, but the highlight of her résumé was clearly the two-year graduate course in anthropology and ethnography at Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia. Additionally, Marina had been granted permission to work as an assistant professor at FNFi and had a letter of recommendation from Professor Arthur Ramos for her to run the anthropology and ethnography disciplines at FNFi/UB during his period of absence in Europe.

However, any personalization of the conflict would ultimately strip it of its real meaning: the establishment of the scientific field and its new standards. One could also argue that the Board had other plans for the discipline, seeking to bar any influence from the anthropology developed at the Museu Nacional and give precedence to the continuation of Arthur Ramos's work, now in the hands of his former assistant and professor at his institution, Marina de Vasconcellos. The victory of an 'insider' over an 'outsider' was an important moment in the burgeoning autonomy of an intellectual group which was struggling for recognition. Marina de Vasconcellos did indeed attain the cherished position, replacing Arthur Ramos. On June 6, 1950, she did a test to be a professor of the discipline, and was appointed acting professor of anthropology and ethnography.

In the test, Marina presented the thesis "Alguns movimentos contra-aculturativos do Nordeste". In line with her formative theoretical concerns, she focused on the religious movements of Pedra Bonita, Canudos and Juazeiro do Norte, topics developed in the graduate course she had done under the tutorship of Arthur Ramos. In the preface to her thesis, Marina states that:

No anthropological interpretation in Brazil of these social facts (counter-acculturation movements) seems to have been made, except by master Arthur Ramos in his now classic works. Undoubtedly, there are various historical studies of the topic, socio-economic interpretations, and geographical investigations. But an analysis that takes 'culture' as a fundamental element for explaining the reactions has not yet been attempted. Our aim is therefore to study these movements, seeking explanations in the human personality that is projected into the cultural scenario and which is influenced by it, comprising one of the most recent chapters of anthropological study, "personality and culture", in which one sees that the individual is not just the physiological element plus the hereditary element, but a synthesis of them both, added to his powerful psycho-social contribution (Vasconcellos, 1949, p.1, 2).

According to Marina Vasconcellos, 'counter-acculturation' is a survival strategy for groups that are struggling against the standards imposed by a culture. The results of this struggle, which are totally unpredictable, may appear illogical if observed superficially, but a quest for the origins of the facts can explain them. Choosing the Northeast of Brazil as her locus of observation and analysis, Marina understood the region to represent a specific setting for counter-acculturation reactions, and considered the circumstances at Pedra Bonita, Canudos and Juazeiro do Norte exemplary.

Her 53-page typewritten thesis is split into four chapters. In the first, "A região do Nordeste", she characterizes the environment where the three counter-acculturation movements took place. She refers to the drought as a constituent part of the 'psychology of the northeastern people', who live under the stark threat of starvation and poverty. This is where Marina de Vasconcellos situated the sertanejo.

In chapter 2, entitled "O homem do Nordeste", the author turned to the study of the typical man of the region - the sertanejo, or "mamluk, a tough [character] used to the work that best fits the cultural patterns of his origins: cattle raising". She tells of their taste in music and dance. She describes the simplicity, contemplation and bravery of the northeastern culture, qualities which grew in this region "marked by tragedy under the greatest taskmaster, drought" (Castro, quoted in Vasconcellos, 1949, p.13). She also highlights the fine set of traditions - popular sayings, prayers, verses, superstitions - and speaks of the 'sertanejo narrator'. She seeks to understand the cangaço culture and pseudo-religious fanaticism as reactions against injustice. One is expressed outwardly through violence, while the other is through mysticism and fanaticism.

But there are no clear-cut lines between the bandit and the fanatic. The former, in defending his viewpoints, can rally his comrades, and he becomes the cangaceiro, head of the band, ready to do whatever violence he deems necessary and justifiable. One cannot even say that the most celebrated of the cangaceiros does not partake in great mysticism under a variety of guises, praying before committing a crime, bearing medals with effigies of saints beside amulets, and automatically accepting as a divine entity any individual who appears to have certain virtues (Vasconcellos, 1949, p.18).

In chapter 3, Marina sketches a brief historical review of the movements in Pedra Bonita, Canudos and Juazeiro do Norte, before making an anthropological interpretation of them in chapter 4. The newness of her work is the very topic she chose to study, which owed much to the pioneering studies of Arthur Ramos, to which she added the possibility of relentless resistance - counter-acculturation - on the part of a group against the impositions of the dominant culture.

In Brazil, one of the fundamental works on the topic is Os sertões by Euclides da Cunha, published in 1902. After this, many people researched the topic, some insisting on preserving the local cultures, others regarding the local or national cultures as backward, or comparing them to the cultural standards of developed nations (Villas Bôas, jul. 1998). Sociological thinking about Brazil is replete with examples of this duality which Marina de Vasconcellos addressed in her formative studies and expressed in her thesis for the exam to become a professor.

Once she had defended her thesis and done the teaching and practical exams, the Examination Board presented their report to the University Board. It states that the applicant, Marina São Paulo de Vasconcellos, had been approved, with the following grades:



All the members of the panel, with the exception of Thales de Azevedo, the 'external' examiner, professor at the Universidade da Bahia, gave her a high grade in her oral examination. In the teaching test, Marina seemed to show an equally acceptable performance and the examiners' grades were quite consistent. However, in the practical test, her grades were not good. Apart from the 9 given by Professor Hamilton Nogueira, there was a 5 from Thales de Azevedo, while Josué de Castro and Nilton Campos both gave her 7 and Djacir Menezes gave her 7.5. In the overall average per examiner, Thales de Azevedo gave her 7, while the others gave her an average of between 8 and 8.6.

The title of livre-docente gave Marina de Vasconcellos access to the anthropology discipline. She was appointed acting professor on November 25, 1950 in a decree signed by Dean Deolindo Couto (unnumbered document, Marina de Vasconcellos File, IFCS/UFRJ archive). A new stage in Marina de Vasconcellos' career was unfolding: she was the first female professor in the social sciences and one of the first at FNFi.8

Marina never did a competition to become a tenured professor, remaining an acting professor to the end. As far as the students were concerned, this was a detail, and when they knew about it they did not see it as important. In practice, Marina was the professor of anthropology and ethnography. It is not clear why she remained as an acting professor. At the Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia, there were frequent controversies surrounding the competitions for hiring new faculty members. I sought a possible explanation from my interviewees, some of whom mentioned that the FNFi policy was to keep someone from within the institution in the job, rather than opening up to the risk of competition from outside candidates. However valid these observations may be, they still fail to provide a satisfactory explanation.

Marina held down the position of professor at FNFi, subsequently renamed the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, or UFRJ, from 1950 to 1968. Though she left few writings, her influence on the education of young social scientists throughout her 28 years at FNFi (including when she was an assistant professor) cannot be doubted. It is also possible to discern in her career a theoretical concern with the 'development of the nation's culture'. In academia, she developed a specific topic: the study of counter-acculturation movements, which she inherited from her master, Arthur Ramos. Albeit from a different angle, the topic which Marina scrutinized is still an object of study in anthropology and sociology. It has to do with the civilizing process and the fate of national or local cultures.

Engaged in the campaign for the autonomy and standing of anthropology as a social science, she wrote a paper in 1953 entitled "Relações da antropologia com a psicologia social", presented at the 1st Conference on Psychology in Curitiba between December 1 and 8 of the same year.9 In the paper, she showed that anthropology, which originated in studies into anatomy, had developed through studies of paleontology to ultimately discover its specific purpose: the investigation of the cultural manifestations of peoples. The contributions of Tylor, despite his evolutionism, Malinowski, with his concept of 'function of cultural characteristics', and the problems arising from 'cultural diffusion' all helped define the scope of anthropology. The area helped build up respect for the self-determination of peoples. It was not supposed to compete to "establish a true standard of governmental conduct for the benefit of all peoples", but to collaborate with governments with each piece of applied research "to identify the origins of the features of the culture under study, its development, the transformations caused by contact or invention, so that institutional standards are established without the destructive violation of the traditions of peoples ... so that their cultural forms and functions are not broken" (Vasconcellos, 1953, p.5, 6).

In the same paper, Marina observes how the knowledge supplied by anthropology can supplement the knowledge supplied by social psychology, especially in the observation of man in social groupings which follow a variety of cultural patterns. "obviously, man cannot be observed except through his socio-cultural contexts, and any separation between man and society would be absurdly false" (Vasconcellos, 1953, p.7). Aware of the relationship between personality and culture, Marina de Vasconcellos marked her time as professor with the theoretical contributions of Franz Boas, Ruth Benedict and Ralph Linton, envisaging the role of anthropology and other social sciences to be to "form a common basis for the comprehension, interpretation and improvement of men in their socio-cultural environments. And the ultimate goal is, without doubt, universal social balance, the basis for a single, true brotherhood of man" (p.8). In her time, therefore, Marina made anthropology a concrete option for anyone seeking a place in the social sciences.

Marina continued her efforts to establish anthropology as an autonomous discipline, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, when the appeal of sociology and political science became stronger in response to the national and international climate and the belief in the possibility for structural change in political and social institutions. Though sociology and political science exerted an undeniable attraction in those decades, anthropology still represented a feasible alternative for some students, especially, according to statements given by some former students of Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais, or IFCS for the quality of its courses.

When interviewed, these former students all recalled that Dona Marina's lessons would start at 7am on the dot, and that she would not admit students who were more than 15 minutes late. They also remember the strictness and fairness of the grades she gave. Additionally, there was the Anthropology Office, where the lessons were given, an asset inherited from Arthur Ramos in the old building of FNFi, which was well positioned and furnished in such a way to be suitable for the practical activities required by the subject.

In the large room, with its bookshelves and huge showcases, one with a skeleton, another with a human body with the organs exposed, a large collection of strange objects and plaster busts representing the ethnicities of the world. Collections of indigenous objects, statues of afro representations, maps and files also made the environment more stately. (Barros, 1999, p.9)

The rituals for the routinization of charisma were shown to be important in maintaining the new order. The institutional status of anthropology as a discipline was still fragile, requiring constant vigilance. Marina gave the function an air of importance and prestige, which was needed for this new discipline to be sanctioned in the university environment. She sowed the seeds of a well-formed group that could take forth the activities in the area. She seems to have been fully aware that she was responsible for educating the next generation of professionals for the university. Her devotion to the task of grooming those who would one day stand in her shoes was noted with admiration by her select group of assistants:

Marina was a woman who imposed herself. She did everything very responsibly. Actually, I must admit it was even a bit awkward, because the assistant would be giving the lecture and she would stay there in the classroom, sometimes sitting down, sometimes standing up. I didn't see that as keeping tabs; I saw it as her responsibility to make sure that the course was being given well. She was responsible for the discipline. The course had to be given well.

In 1958, Instituto de Ciências Sociais, or ICS was founded. Initially, Marina was a board member and then was elected chairwoman in 1965. Based in Marquês de Olinda street, Botafogo district, the institution was concrete proof of the Universidade do Brasil's intent to carry forth its commitment to educate researchers in the social sciences. The faculties which had courses in this area - Faculdade Nacional de Direito, Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia, Faculdade de Ciências Econômicas and Museu Nacional - each nominated representatives to sit on the ICS board, which proposed a new organization for research activities separate from the university field. Run by a committee with a chairperson elected by his/her peers for a set term of office, the ICS represented a major reform of the traditional university structure, far before the organized reform came about.

The founders of the ICS were: Evaristo de Moraes Filho and Lineu de Albuquerque Mello (Faculdade Nacional de Direito); Darcy Ribeiro and Victor Nunes Leal (FNFi); Luiz de Castro Faria (Museu Nacional), Luiz de Aguiar Costa Pinto and Themístocles Brandão Cavalcanti (Faculdade de Ciências Econômicas) and Marina de Vasconcellos. At different times between 1958 and 1967, its executive committee included not only these figures but also Roberto Cardoso de Oliveira, Jorge Kingston, José Nunes Guimarães, Antonio Garcia Miranda Neto, José Pereira de Souza and Maria Stella Amorim. Tomás Pompeu Accioly Borges and Manuel Diegues Júnior served as program directors, while the institution's researchers were Maurício Vinha de Queiroz, Luciano Martins, Carlos Dória Seabra Soares, Íon Seabra de Freitas, José Antonio Pessoa de Carneiro, Nilda Águeda Martinez Pita, Maria Stella Amorium and Vera Werneck (Almeida, 1989, p.50).

The ICS offered full-time research posts with grants for students to begin their careers as research assistants, and for discussing texts suggested by professors, many of which were translated by the researchers themselves. The ICS also gave courses in research methods for undergraduates. Some of the students who received grants from the ICS were Alba Zaluar, Marilena Barboza, Gilberto Velho and Yvonne Maggie, as well as Wellington Moreira Franco and Stepahnie Wilberg from Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro.

In the 1960s, the projects that Marina had developed since the 1950s became more feasible. Thus, on October 26, 1962, Marina submitted a research proposal for the anthropology discipline for 1963 to Eremildo Vianna, Director of the FNFi, which included the study of acculturation processes as a consequence of the installation of Companhia Nacional de Álcalis, in Arraial do Cabo in a study entitled "Mudanças sócio-econômicas em Arraial do Cabo". In 1963, a research group was formally created within the anthropology discipline. On October 26 of the same year, Marina sent Eremildo Vianna a research proposal for the following year, which would investigate a fishing colony under threat of extinction in Itaguaí and Barra de Guaratiba, both in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

When democratic political rule was overthrown in Brazil, this had an impact on the theoretical orientation of the social sciences and the topics it covered, whilst also affecting the fate of social scientists themselves and their respective institutions. The political changes sent shockwaves through FNFi, and Marina São Paulo de Vasconcellos' career is illustrative of this. FNFi had become a respected forum for debate in Rio de Janeiro's intellectual scene. Some of its members were activists from the Communist Party (PC), which 'split' in 1962 into the Partido Comunista Brasileiro (PCB), which defended innovation, and the Partido Comunista do Brasil (PC do B), which stood for orthodox Marxist policies. Also, FNFi had students from the JUC movement (Juventude Universitária Católica) as well as activists from the AP (Ação Popular).

Many of the interviewees refer to the mystique of the FNFi, meaning the profound attraction it exerted over its students, like a catalyst of multiple actions, especially for those initiated by the student movement. However, they also tell of a certain disenchantment following the initial euphoria. The crackdown on student protest movements was quick to follow the military coup in 1964. It was officially instated in law 4.464 of November 9, 1964, written by the Minister for Education, Flávio Suplicy de Lacerda, under the Castelo Branco administration. This legislation abolished the independence and representativeness of the student movement and brought all student entities under the ambit of the Ministério de Educação e Cultura. Meanwhile, ordinance 2 published on October 27, 1965, shut down the União Nacional dos Estudantes (UNE) and replaced it with the Diretório Nacional dos Estudantes, while all state unions would give way to State Departments.

The university reform was intended to receive approval by the end of January 1967. With the new legislation, there were no more independent disciplines, and departments were designated the smallest units within the university system. On February 21, 1967, Marina was elected head of the Departamento de Ciências Sociais. When the changes arising from the university reform did away with the old system, the former FNFi was broken up and the social sciences course was transferred to the Department of the same name at the recently created Instituto de Ciências Sociais on Marquês de Olinda street, in Botafogo district. Finally, decree 60.455 of April 13, 1967 restructured UFRJ and wiped out all the institutions exclusively devoted to research. While IFCS was being created, however, the activities of the ICS were maintained, with Marina, according to the depositions, always making sure there was no shortage of the basic resources needed to continue the research.

On January 3, 1968, Marina was elected unanimously by her colleagues to be the first IFCS faculty representative on the University Board. On February 2, she was appointed temporary Director of the institution, replacing Djacir Menezes.

Marina was not affiliated to any left-wing party or organization. However, her humanist ideals led her to staunchly defend the institution she directed and work to assure the physical and moral integrity of its members. She stood against any kind of extremism and disagreed with many of the protests led by the students, but knew how to protect them from repression within the university walls. Showing solidarity even when her views were different, she herself and the leadership she exerted went uncontested, according to the interviewees. The struggle to assure the physical and moral integrity of her colleagues and students made her a woman who, at an exceptional time in Brazilian society, became a key figure in the history of the defense of university autonomy. "Policemen would come in and she would stand up to them. She made an alliance with the students, a strategy to stop the police getting into the Institute. Students sometimes slept overnight at the Institute to escape repression. She was the 'mother' of the students in those days. If it wasn't for Dona Marina, things would have been much tougher ..." (interview with Maria Stella Amorim, March 17, 1999).

On December 13, 1968, the most drastic of all ordinances was passed (Instutional Act nº5 - AI-5), which, among other things, decreed the closure of Congress, intervention in states and municipalities, and the suspension of habeas corpus for "political crimes, crimes against national security, economic and social order, and the popular economy". On January 15, Marina had a meeting with Dean Moniz de Aragão - who knew both her and her father, who had passed away in 1961 - where she tendered her resignation from the position of Director for health reasons; it was accepted. She continued in the post until official notification of the change was published in the Diário Oficial government bulletin on February 12, when Professor Eduardo Prado de Mendonça took over. At a meeting of the Faculty Board, she spoke her last words:

In the belief that this meeting is the last one I will have the honor of chairing, I would like to thank all my colleagues who, throughout my office, during difficult, extremely bitter times, have supported my leadership. I also thank the President of the Diretório Acadêmico, as representative of the student body, for the consideration and support manifested and ask that my thanks be passed on to the students of this Institute" (minutes of the 17th Meeting of the Faculty Board, IFCS/UFRJ, on Feb. 12, 1969. IFCS/UFRJ archive).

On April 28, a new blacklist was published in the Diário Oficial da União containing the name of Marina and 24 other professors from UFRJ.10 The police surrounded the Institute and Marina did not even have time to remove her personal belongings from the Anthropology Office.

On June 13, 1969, when Nelson Rockfeller visited Brazil, representing President Nixon, the military government had a number of people both linked and not linked to intellectual opposition movements arrested, in fear of protests. One of these was Marina São Paulo de Vasconcellos, who was held for six days in São Judas Tadeu women's prison on Relação street, downtown, where she was eventually found thanks to a search instigated by her former students in which one of them appealed to a relative who held a high military rank.

Forbidden to set foot in the university, stripped of her civil and political rights, and cut off from her peers as she was not a member of any 'left-wing' movement, Marina's health quickly failed. In 1973, she was hospitalized with cerebral aneurysm. Despite the help she received from a handful of relatives and former students, she died in Hospital dos Servidores Públicos on February 12, 1973.


Final considerations

As of the 1930s, and especially in the 1940s and 1950s, when Marina São Paulo de Vasconcellos started to lecture in anthropology at Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia at Universidade do Brasil, the social sciences, comprising sociology, anthropology and political science, were starting to take shape as a field of knowledge with its own routine activities centered around teaching and the production of knowledge. It was at this time that paid professors and researchers became the first professionals of the area. Parallel to this, a significant set of publications was produced, proving the importance of research in the social sciences (Villas Bôas, 1992).

If she did not publish books or stand out as an intellectual, according to some of her contemporaries, it is worth comparing her with some of the most celebrated professors of the time, and discover whether the production of books made them underestimate the importance of classroom activities. For Marina, who joined FNFi in the late 1930s, the classroom was never secondary. It is therefore important to weigh up the different criteria of intellectual merit if they fail to take into account one important function of the professor, which is to educate their students.

Marina taught generations of anthropologists, sociologists and political scientists. She helped encourage research in anthropology and ethnography. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, she was instrumental in founding Instituto de Ciências Sociais, the first Institute of its kind, inside Universidade do Brasil, and was the first Director of the current Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.

The daily struggle to assure a place for anthropology in the university arena was not an easy task, as we have seen. Indeed, this is why many areas of knowledge have never managed to become a fixture in university curricula, such as the aforementioned study of folklore (Vilhena, 1997). In this sense, Arthur Ramos was successful in his quest to establish the science he had embraced, and his right hand woman, Marina, played a part in this feat.

Marina experienced her struggles, achievements and defeats in a male world. In it, she built her career and aligned herself with great men. Many of Marina's activities convey her loyalty to the memory of Arthur Ramos and their mutual dream of a discipline of anthropology. If the great men partly explain her preeminence in the area, they are also one reason why she had so many struggles and had to make choices which were not always gainful.

Marina de Vasconcellos' place was the university. Through its mechanisms, she could 'pull the threads' that went back to the experiments at the Sociedade Brasileira de Antropologia e Etnologia, founded by Arthur Ramos, heir and critic of Nina Rodrigues. A study of Marina's career also brings to light the process of introducing routine to the newly founded Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia, at Universidade do Brasil, by underlining the importance of the discipline, as well as the pros and cons of institutionalized research. By following Marina, we also come to the ICS and its fundamental role in awakening individual careers and proposing new topics for the social sciences. Finally, Marina's web of influence reveals the founding of the IFCS and the struggle to preserve it against the attacks of the military regime.

Simmel's viscerally sociological view of seeing society from the perspective of distance and proximity, the subtle play of distinctions between being closer or further away (Cohn, out. 1998), also helped me reveal and highlight the moment when Heloísa Alberto Torres and Marina São Paulo de Vasconcellos crossed paths in the process of finding a replacement for Arthur Ramos, which constituted a 'happening' that ultimately redefined the mutual roles of the protagonists and even that of anthropology in Rio de Janeiro.

In effect, the construction of new circles implies building new hierarchies which do not reproduce the hierarchies of old circles, but are different 'rearrangements' in the new circles. Heloísa and Marina had their lives 'rearranged', then, through the conflict they were involved in. As a consequence, the nature of the social sciences shifted as its constituent parts took on new social roles and created new circles, coming closer to or distancing themselves in their incessant interactions.

Marina experienced the 'burgeoning' of social sciences in Rio de Janeiro. With a degree in law from the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, she later became a student of history and geography at UDF. Transferred to FNFi, at the Universidade do Brasil, she finished her degree and then joined the graduate program in anthropology and ethnography under the tutorship of Arthur Ramos, in 1940 and 1941. It was at FNFi that her whole career took shape. She did a competition to lecture in anthropology and ethnography, gaining the post of acting professor, which she held for 16 years. When the university reform abolished independent disciplines (cátedras) in 1967 and created the position of professor titular as the highest academic position, the former professors (the catedráticos) and acting professors took on this position, including Marina.

This Simmel-inspired analysis of the circles in the social sciences in Rio de Janeiro based on Marina's career is complemented by an understanding of the formation of the field of science as a process in which continuity outweighs any emphasis on supposed 'sudden breaks'. Even the institutional ruptures in the history of the social sciences in Rio de Janeiro did not break down the intricate network of social circles amongst the city's social scientists, which assured the continuation and future prosperity of the field.

As Arthur Ramos's successor, Marina was central to the continuation and transmission of this legacy. Responsible for training new professionals, providing a suitable learning environment, adding new players to the scene, and maintaining standards of performance in intellectual activities by allocating means and compensations, she created a routine which assured an environment conducive to intellectual exchange. By recommending specific texts to her students, awakening in them the desire to pursue the activity further, and formulating and reiterating the rules needed to ensure the homogenization of the group, Marina also created new intellectual circles. As Simmel would see it, from relationship to relationship, Marina created a 'world of relationships', passing the baton to a new generation of social scientists. Her story was a cornerstone for many careers in the social sciences in Rio de Janeiro today, and these people are now educating tomorrow's social scientists.

Marina built up a career and reached its top, both at Museu Nacional and at IFCS. She married twice, widowed the first time and separated the second; she never had children. Certainly, it is not within the scope of this study to set out whether women who are successful in their chosen career choose this or that kind of personal life. This was never the point of the investigation, nor would the chosen methodology help draw any conclusions on the matter. It was not a working hypothesis. However, it does matter that in her field, Marina exerted an influence that was rare for women of her time, yet very little is written or heard about her. This alone is enough to justify her name as a central theme for reconstructing the circles of social scientists in Rio de Janeiro.

Gilberto Velho (1994) notes that in the societies in which individualistic ideologies predominate, the notion of the biography is paramount. The course of individuals takes on a crucial meaning as a constituent part of society. The memory of individuals has social significance. Their personal experiences, wishes, disappointments, frustrations and achievements are what distinguish them as 'individuals'. Similarly, once interpreted and contextualized, these individual lives may relate to the experiences of groups, generations and institutions. A life project, as Velho (p.101) sees it, is behavior organized to attain specific ends; specific, though not explicit at the outset. They become clear with time, and with the process of evaluating the life project through recourse to memory and biography. These resources make use of hindsight to reconstitute events. One of the most interesting and controversial questions, according to the author, is to what extent an individual's particularly singular involvement in a lifestyle or world view implies a commitment that could be significant for setting boundaries and establishing social identities.

Marina de Vasconcellos, the first woman to be a professor in a social science course, has had her career examined here. It has shown her to be a successful woman, if not for her written output, then for the importance of her role in training new generations of professionals, building up an academic routine, and running the first Institute for training social scientists at a public university in Rio de Janeiro.

In Intelectuais e classes dirigentes no Brasil (1979), Sergio Miceli notes that the first representatives of Brazil's intelligentsia came from wealthy families, some in material decline. They harnessed their knowledge and personal relations to take on positions in the expanding Brazilian state. They were responsible for policies to innovate, protect and preserve education and culture. Sociologically speaking, being an 'important figure' presupposed representing the values of an intellectual and political ruling class which, in those days, was engaged in building the nation. Entry to that world meant, according to Miceli, in Poder, sexo e letras na República Velha (1977), the capacity to utilize the capital of social relations and worthiness - education of offspring choice of higher education courses, marriage, appointment to public positions - to occupy high status positions, which were increasing in number in that context.

Marina made use of her own 'good relations'. She certainly came from the ruling classes. This study does not shy away from the fact that the world of culture and university at her time were for the privileged few. The men and few women who entered it owed this primarily to the status of their respective families and the alliances that they were able to build up in the intellectual field.11

However, if society only exists as a process, movement or mobility, then the beginnings Marina faced, albeit in tiny happenings, account for what is today the successful institutionalization of Brazil's social sciences. It is a matter of applying the principle of infinitely multiple, virtually invisible effects, which establish synchronic and diachronic nexuses which themselves form a society. In this case, Marina can rightfully be given the title of 'founding mother' and is also responsible for the surprising growth of the social sciences seen today in the country.12

It is the relationships established between individuals that make society exist. The same applies when one attempts to explain the consolidation of the social sciences. Alliances and conflicts are part of the 'game' which makes society possible. It is most extraordinary to think of the eternal lifeblood of social interactions, with their ever changing allies and opponents. This is the very condition of social dynamics and such is also the task of sociology: to minutely investigate apparently insignificant social relations and shed light on them.



* This article is based on my doctoral thesis, Heloísa Alberto Torres e Marina São Paulo de Vasconcellos: entrelaçamento de círculos e formação das ciências sociais na cidade do Rio de Janeiro, defended in 2000 at PGSA/IFCS/UFRJ, supervised by Glaucia Villas Bôas, to whom I owe the considerations reexamined here. I also thank Nara Azevedo for her encouragement. And finally, I dedicate this to my students. The thesis would not exist without the IFCS/UFRJ archive, which I visited while I was doing my doctorate. Under constant threat of closure in view of a general lack of awareness of the value of its contents about the history of the IFCS and its origins, as well as on the sciences and their protagonists since FNFi was created, the archive was staunchly defended at the time by its former Director, Yvonne Maggie. Today, Jessie Jane Vieira de Sousa and Glaucia Villas Bôas, respectively Director and Vice Director of IFCS, are equally engaged in the struggle to maintain the archive and also to have it used by more researchers as it was by me. I again thank Elizabeth Carvalho for introducing me to her mother, Sylvia Vasconcellos de Carvalho, whose intelligent comments helped me answer a number of queries about her sister, Marina de Vasconcellos, and whose family photos I was able to reproduce in my thesis.

1 The book by Georg Simmel entitled Soziologie: Untersuchungen über die Formen der Vergesellschaftung (1908) was translated to Spanish under the title Sociologia: estúdios sobre las formas de socialización" (1939). Some important chapters can be read in English in On individuality and social forms (1971) and in the collected works edited by Kurt Wolff, The sociology of Georg Simmel (1950). Simmel's book is also available in French under the title Sociologie: études sur les formes de la socialization (1999).

2 The best translation of Vergesellschaftung seems to be 'sociation', adopting the translation of American disciples of Simmel, as explained by Evaristo de Moraes Filho (1983); this prevents any confusion of the concept with socialization, sociability or association, which have different meanings. 'Sociation' is a synonym of 'social form', i.e. a unit where individuals pursue their interests, urges, inclinations, goals, interests etc. Some examples of 'sociation' are: domination and subordination; competition; imitation; division of labor; formation of parties; representation; isolation; cooperation; centralization; and decentralization. Simmel sees it as necessary to identify the pure forms of 'sociation', to study them in their historical development so as to affirm the procedure in question as a specific object of study by sociology (cf. Simmel, 1939).

3 In volumes 1 and 2 of Economia e sociedade (1944, 1991), Max Weber asks how a social order can exist and have its authority sanctioned in the presence of other equally innovative initiatives. Here, one can see the special attention the sociologist gives to the idea of the routiniztion of charisma. While he identifies charisma as an element which hails in the new, he relates the continuation of the new - i.e. a definitive break with the old - to the establishment of a staff capable of safeguarding the continuation of the predicted future. Weber sees the routinization of charisma not as a loss of the qualities of the new, but as an assurance of its permanence. Charisma is the opposite of routine, in that it is personal, untransferable and extra-quotidian. It is paradoxical, then, that routine is the only known means of making the changes effected by charisma continue. The routinization of charisma presupposes its adaptation to the idea of calculation, the provision of needs, the rationality of actions, observance of certain rules, lasting practice and regularity in the transmission of certain knowledge.

4 Without discriminating between macro and micro social formations, Simmel is keen to investigate multiple topics, such as monetary economics, the division of labor, coquetry, prostitution, fashion, secrets, friendship, and others. Evaristo de Moraes Filho (1983, p.59, 60) records the passage which sums up the author's perceptions about the object of study of sociology: "Society exists wherever several individuals interact ... This unit or 'sociation' (Vergesellschaftung) may contain different levels depending on the nature and intimacy of the interaction - from a quick meeting to going out to visit relatives; from relationships with no predefined time limit to belonging to the same State; from a fleeting union in a hotel to the strict union of a medieval institution".

5 On reconstructing the female lineages of anthropology, Mariza Corrêa (1997b) observes that none of Franz Boas's students in the USA or Malinowski's in the UK attained the same academic reputation as their masters. Margaret Mead's popularity was used against her, for instance. Though Ruth Benedict presided over the American Association of Anthropology in 1947 and 1948, she was only made a 'full professor' after 26 years as a faculty member, just two months before she died. Thus, the genealogy of anthropology still blithely treats women as secondary figures within the institutional scenario of the discipline. In the UK, though the smaller number of anthropologists makes the female lineage stand out, this does not mean it was any easier for them. In France, there is a resounding silence about any possible female lineage in the anthropological literature. However, the movement is great enough to warrant recent research devoted to recounting the pioneering presence of women in the sciences. Mariza Corrêa is also author of the first article published on Heloísa Alberto Torres (1997a). In Destinos mistos: os críticos do grupo Clima em São Paulo (1940-1968), Heloísa Pontes (1998) studies Antonio Candido's peers, noting that the women were the poets and storytellers of the group, while the men devoted their efforts to cultural criticism, the core work of the journal. Of all the women in the Clima group, Gilda Mello e Souza (née Moraes Rocha), a graduate from the Faculdade de Filosofia in 1939, was the only one who managed to balance her domestic chores with a university career. As Pontes notes, the Mello e Souzas were the exception that proved the rule: the Clima group gave rise to many a loving encounter, but few were the couples who pursued parallel careers.

6 Simmel introduces the concept of 'lived experience' (Erlebnis) to take account of the "impression society has on a subject". This leads us to state that besides understanding reciprocal interrelations (Welchselbeziehugen) between individuals, it is important to comprehend how these actions are perceived by each social agent (Rammsted, Dahmme, 1998, p.216, 217).

7 Luís Rodolfo Vilhena (1997) analyzes the project of Brazil's folklorists between 1947 and 1964. His aim is to show how folklore, which social scientists regarded as an archaic asset, remnants from the past, gained great force during this period of change and schisms. It was in the 1950s that the first institutions were created to preserve folklore, considered one of the most important fonts of Brazilian culture. Even so, the efforts of the folklorists to make their area of knowledge an academic discipline failed, unlike anthropology, which became one of the core topics of the social sciences institutionalized at universities.

8 Until the end of 1950, the only female professors at FNFi were Aida Gracia Bianchini (Italian Language and Literature), Madeleine Sophie Manuel (French Language and Literature) and Melisa Stodart Hull (Philosophy) (Fávero, 1989, p.124,125).

9 I wish to thank Professor Luitgarde Cavalcanti Barros for the copy of the text she gave me from her personal collection.

10 The professors from IFCS blacklisted by AI-5 were: Marina São Paulo de Vasconcellos (social sciences), Álvaro Vieira Pinto (philosophy), Eulália Lobo (history), Evaristo de Moraes Filho (social sciences); Guy José de Hollanda (history). Hugo Weiss (history); José Américo Pessanha (philosophy). Manoel Maurício de Albuquerque (history); Maria Yedda Linahres (history); Miriam Limoeiro Cardoso (social sciences); Moema Toscano (social sciences) (Fávero, 1989b, p.65).

11 There were some university intellectuals who were not from the ruling classes, though they were an exception. Florestan Fernandes's career in São Paulo is well known. In Rio, Guerreiro Ramos, who also faced racial discrimination, built up an intellectually laudable career, albeit outside the confines of Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia, where he had hoped to be a professor.

12 In 1991, there were 13,655 undergraduates and 78 institutions in most of Brazil's states, while in 1992 there were graduate students at 21 centers of teaching and research. Though there are no statistical records, estimates based on Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) data would suggest there must be some 300 people with doctorates, some from foreign institutions. In this area in Brazil, which includes sociology, anthropology and political science, there are currently around 13,000 undergraduates and some 500 doctors at centers of post-graduate study. Thus, an average of 250 masters degrees and 50 doctorates are awarded each year in Brazil. Additionally, the social sciences hold top place in research grants from CNPq amongst the humanities and social sciences, outnumbering grants for psychologists, economists and scholars of social communication (Werneck Vianna, Carvalho, Melo, 1994).



ABREU, Alzira. As ciências sociais no Rio de Janeiro: o CBPE/Inep. Rio de Janeiro: Centro de Pesquisa e Documentação de História Contemporânea do Brasil/Fundação Getulio Vargas. (mimeo). 1989.         [ Links ]

ALMEIDA, Maria Hermínia Tavares. Castelos na areia: dilemas da institucionalização das ciências sociais no Rio de Janeiro (1930-1964). In: Miceli, Sérgio (Org.). História das ciências sociais no Brasil. v.1. São Paulo: Vértice; Idesp. p.188-216. 1989.         [ Links ]

AZEREDO, Paulo Roberto. Antropólogos e pioneiros: a história da Sociedade Brasileira de Antropologia e Etnologia. São Paulo: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas/Universidade de São Paulo. (Série Antropologia, 9). 1994.         [ Links ]

BARROS, Luitgarde. Arthur Ramos e as dinâmicas sociais de seu tempo. Maceió: Edufal. 1999.         [ Links ]

COHN, Gabriel. As diferenças finas: de Simmel a Luhmann. Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais, São Paulo, v.13, n.38, p.53-62. out. 1998.         [ Links ]

CORRÊA, Mariza. Dona Heloísa e a pesquisa de campo. Revista de Antropologia, São Paulo, v.40, n.1, p.11-54. 1997a.         [ Links ]

CORRÊA, Mariza. O espartilho de minha avó: linhagens femininas na antropologia. Horizontes Antropológicos, Porto Alegre, v.3, n.7. p.70-96. 1997b.         [ Links ]

CUNHA, Ciro Vieira da. Aleixo de Vasconcellos: notas bio-bibliográficas. Rio de Janeiro: Olímpica. 1966.         [ Links ]

FÁVERO, Maria de Lourdes (Org.) Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia. 5v. Rio de Janeiro: Faculdade de Educação/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. 1989.         [ Links ]

MAIO, Marcos Chor. A história do projeto Unesco: estudos raciais e ciências sociais no Brasil. Tese (Doutorado) - Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro/Universidade Gama Filho, Rio de Janeiro. 1998.         [ Links ]

MICELI, Sergio. Intelectuais e classes dirigentes no Brasil - 1920-1945. São Paulo: Difel. 1979.         [ Links ]

MICELI, Sergio. Poder, sexo e letras na República Velha. São Paulo: Perspectiva. 1977.         [ Links ]

MIGLIEVICH Ribeiro, Adelia Maria. Heloísa Alberto Torres, Arthur Ramos e Marina de Vasconcellos na FNFi: conflitos e institucionalização das ciências sociais na cidade do Rio de Janeiro. In: Porto, Maria Stela Grossi; Dwyer, Tom (Org.). Sociologia em transformação: pesquisa social do século XXI. Porto Alegre: Tomo Editorial. p.87-109. 2006.         [ Links ]

MORAES Filho, Evaristo de (Org.). Simmel: sociologia. São Paulo: Ática. (Grandes Cientistas Sociais, 34). 1983.         [ Links ]

OLIVEIRA, Lucia Lippi. As ciências sociais no Rio de Janeiro. In: Miceli, Sérgio (Org.). História das ciências sociais no Brasil. v.2. São Paulo: Sumaré. p.233-307. 1995.         [ Links ]

PONTES, Heloísa. Destinos mistos: os críticos do grupo Clima em São Paulo: 1940-1968. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras. 1998.         [ Links ]

RAMMSTED, Otthein; DAHMME, Heinz-Jürgen. A modernidade atemporal dos clássicos da sociologia: reflexões sobre Durkheim, Tönnies, Weber e, especialmente, Simmel. In: Souza, Jessé; Oëlze, Berthold (Org.). Simmel e a modernidade. Brasília: Ed. UnB. p.191-219. 1998.         [ Links ]

SIMMEL, Georg. Sociologia: estúdios sobre las formas de socialización. Buenos Aires: Espasa-Calpe. 1939.         [ Links ]

Unesco. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Unesco and its programme: the race question. Paris: Unesco. 1950.         [ Links ]

VASCONCELLOS, Marina São Paulo de. Alguns movimentos contra-aculturativos do Nordeste. Tese (Livre Docência de Antropologia e Etnografia) - Faculdade Nacional de Filosofia, Universidade do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro. 1949.         [ Links ]

VELHO, Gilberto. Projeto e metamorfose: antropologia das sociedades complexas. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar. 1994.         [ Links ]

VILHENA, Luís Rodolfo. Projeto e missão: o movimento folclórico brasileiro (1947-1964). Rio de Janeiro: Funarte. 1997.         [ Links ]

VILLAS BÔAS, Glaucia Kruse. Iluminista e romântico: o tempo passado em Os Sertões de Euclides da Cunha. História, Ciências, Saúde - Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro, v.5, supl., p.149-161. jul. 1998.         [ Links ]

VILLAS BÔAS, Glaucia Kruse. A vocação das ciências sociais (1945-1964): um estudo da sua produção em livro. Tese (Doutorado) - Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo. 1992.         [ Links ]

WEBER, Max. Os tipos de dominação. In: Weber, Max. Economia e sociedade. v.1. Brasília: Ed. UnB. p.139-167. 1991.         [ Links ]

WEBER, Max. La dominación carismática y su transformación. In: Weber, Max. Economia y sociedad. v.2. México: Fondo de Cultura Econômica. p.118-141. 1944.         [ Links ]

WERNECK VIANNA, Luiz; CARVALHO, Maria Alice Rezende de; MELO, Manuel Palácios Cunha e. Cientistas sociais e vida pública: o estudante de graduação em ciências sociais. Dados, Rio de Janeiro, v. 37, n. 3. 1994.         [ Links ]




Pasta Arthur Ramos: pedido de licença para a Unesco; autorização assinada por Pedro Calmon; telegrama informando o falecimento de Arthur Ramos; programas de cursos de Antropologia Física, Etnografia e Etnografia do Brasil; Sociedade Brasileira de Antropologia e Etnologia (atividades, correspondências); planos de aula e de pesquisa da cátedra de Antropologia e Etnografia de Arthur Ramos;

Pasta Marina São Paulo de Vasconcellos: certidão de nascimento e filiação; declaração do curso de Direito da Universidade do Rio de Janeiro; Boletim de Marina no curso de História da UDF;

Correspondências administrativas;Títulos de Marina de Vasconcellos para inscrição no concurso de livre-docência em antropologia e etnografia;

Curriculum Vitae de Marina apresentado para inscrição no concurso de livre-docente;

Processo 15.569/49 - autorizando a inscrição no concurso de livre-docente a Heloísa Alberto Torres;

Processo 14.670/49 - autorizando equivalência dos títulos de Heloísa aos requisitos do concurso de livre-docente;

Certidão de revisão do processo 14.670/49 - desautorização para o concurso;

Despachos da reitoria; Recursos Jurídicos - concurso para a cátedra de Antropologia;Resultado oficial do concurso de Marina de Vasconcellos como catedrática interina;

Nomeação de Marina de Vasconcellos como catedrática interina, 25.11.1950;

Planos de pesquisa;

Ata de eleição de Marina como chefe do Departamento de Ciências Sociais; nomeação como professora titular; atas das sessões ordinárias do ICS; atas da comissão de criação do IFCS; regimento do IFCS de 27.11.1967; atas da congregação do IFCS.

Biblioteca do Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Vasconcellos, Marina São Paulo de. Alguns movimentos contra-aculturativos do Nordeste. Tese (Docência Livre) - Cadeira de Antropologia e Etnografia da FNFi/UB. Rio de Janeiro, 1949. Exemplar datilografado.         [ Links ]

Biblioteca Nacional

Revista da UDF - exemplar único.         [ Links ]

Arquivo Público do Estado do Rio de Janeiro

Documentos de Marina de Vasconcellos no Dops.

Arquivo privado (da professora Luitgarde Cavalcanti)

Vasconcellos, Marina São Paulo de. O elemento alemão no Brasil. s.d.         [ Links ]

Vasconcellos, Marina São Paulo de. Relações da antropologia com a psicologia social. Congresso de Psicologia, 1, Curitiba, 1 a 8 dez. 1953.         [ Links ]





Arthur Ramos file: application for leave for UNESCO; authorization signed by Pedro Calmon; telegram with the news of Arthur Ramos's death; syllabuses for the Physical Anthropology, Ethnography and Ethnography of Brazil courses; Brazilian Society of Anthropology and Ethnology (activities, correspondence); Arthur Ramos' lesson plans and research plans for the anthropology and ethnography discipline;

Marina São Paulo de Vasconcellos file: birth certificate; declaration from the Law course at Universidade do Rio de Janeiro; report card from the History course at UDF;

Administrative correspondence;

Marina de Vasconcellos's qualifications for her application for the competition to become a professor in anthropology and ethnography (livre-docente);

Marina's résumé, submitted as part of the application for the competition to become a professor in anthropology and ethnography (livre-docente);

Process 15.569/49 - authorizing Heloísa Alberto Torres's participation in the competition to be a professor (livre-docente);

Process 14.670/49 - allowing Heloísa's qualifications to be regarded as equivalent to the application criteria for the competition to be a professor (livre-docente);

Certificate of process review 14.670/49 - cancellation of authorization to compete;

Letters from the dean;

Legal appeals - competition for the anthropology discipline;

Official result of Marina de Vasconcellos's examination to become acting professor;

Appointment of Marina de Vasconcellos as acting professor, November 25, 1950;

Research plans;

Minutes of the election which instated Marina as head of the Departamento de Ciências Sociais; appointment as full professor; minutes of ordinary sessions of the ICS; minutes of the committee to create IFCS; bylaws of the IFCS of November 27, 1967; minutes of the IFCS board.

Biblioteca do Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais

Vasconcellos, Marina São Paulo de. "Alguns movimentos contra-aculturativos do Nordeste". Thesis for the competition concurso à Docência Livre da Cadeira de Antropologia e Etnografia da FNFi/UB. Rio de Janeiro, 1949. Typewritten copy.

Biblioteca Nacional

Revista da UDF - sole copy.

Arquivo Público do Estado do Rio de Janeiro

Documents on Marina de Vasconcellos at Departamento de Orden Política e Social.

Private collection (owned by Prof. Luitgarde Cavalcanti)

Vasconcellos, Marina São Paulo de. O elemento alemão no Brasil. s.d.

Vasconcellos, Marina São Paulo de. Relações da antropologia com a psicologia social. Congresso de Psicologia, 1, Curitiba, 1 a 8 dez. 1953.


Interview with Maria Stella Amorim. 17 mar. 1999.



Submitted in July 2007.
Approved in October 2007.



English translation by Rebecca Atkinson.

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