Posted on Jan 24, 1997

Teresa A. Meade, associate professor of history, has published a book, 'Civilizing' Rio: Reform and Resistance in a Brazilian City 1889-1930 (Pennsylvania State
University Press).

A massive urban renewal and public health campaign in the first decades of the 19th century transformed Brazil's capital into a showcase of European architecture and public works. The “civilization” campaign widened streets, modernized the port, and improved sanitation, lighting and public transportation.

But for the majority of Rio's citizens, the laboring poor who were uprooted to live in squalor in the “favelas” outside the city, life became worse. Meade's book
focuses on their plight and their resistance to the renewal.

Meade's book details how Rio grew according to the requirements of international capital, which financed, planned and oversaw the renewal — and how local movements resisted these powerful, distant forces. She also traces the popular rebellion that
continued for more than 20 years after the renovation ended in 1909, illustrating that community protests are the major characteristic of political life in the modern era.