What is the color of the holy spirit? Pentecostalism and black identity in Brazil

John Burdick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


For the past twenty years, the organized black consciousness movement in Brazil has argued that Protestant Christianity is a highly assimilationist religion that pushes black converts to abandon their racial identity and seek incorporation into dominant white culture. The present study, based on a year of ethnographic fieldwork in Rio de Janeiro, challenges this view. By analyzing how Pentecostal churches address the issues of appearance, color, courtship, and womanhood, this research note argues that although evangelical Christianity involves a variety of beliefs that are incompatible with a strong ethnic identity, this religion also includes a range of ideas and practices that nourish rather than corrode black identity. The essay concludes by exploring the historic potential of several churches that have made the intersection of faith and race an explicit part of their agenda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-131
Number of pages23
JournalLatin American Research Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Anthropology
  • General
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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