Skip to main content

Please note: this event has passed

The King's Brazil Institute invites you to a discussion on 'The life story and intellectual contributions of Luiz Gama' with Bruno Lima. The talk will be chaired by Dr Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos and Ms Natali Moreira.

The life story and intellectual contributions of Luiz Gama, a distinguished black poet and lawyer, assume a paramount significance, particularly owing to his unique status as the sole Brazilian writer who endured a life marked by captivity. Born in Salvador da Bahia to a liberated African mother, Gama's life took a pivotal turn at the age of ten when his father sold him into slavery. He remained enslaved until the age of eighteen when, through his resourcefulness, he secured undeniable proof of his freedom. Following his emancipation, Gama transitioned through various roles, including military service and a successful career as a public notary. Despite lacking formal legal training, he petitioned astutely for the right to practice law, ultimately rising to prominence as one of the nation's most renowned legal practitioners. His remarkable journey spanned poetry, literature, politics, and jurisprudence, where he made substantive and innovative contributions.

Luiz Gama's life and work provide invaluable insights into the interplay and mutual enrichment of diverse fields of knowledge. A central theme of Gama's intellectual pursuits was the concept of race. In a society deeply intertwined with slavery, located in one of the most racially diverse regions of the Atlantic world, race became a fundamental determinant of citizenship. Gama's extensive body of work profoundly explored this subject, contributing to an original understanding of racism in Brazil and significantly influencing early discussions on the concept of 'whiteness' within this context.

About the speaker

Bruno Lima

Bruno Lima

Bruno holds a JD from the State University of Bahia, an LLM from the University of Brasilia, both in Brazil, and a PhD in Legal History from the Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, with a thesis on the legal work of the black abolitionist Luiz Gama (1830-1882). In 2023, Bruno received the Otto Hahn Medal for outstanding PhD thesis funded by the Max Planck Society, and the Walter Kolb Prize for the best dissertation defended at the Goethe University Frankfurt. Currently, he is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Multidisciplinary Theory of Law at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, Germany, and is the editor of the 11 volumes of Luiz Gama’s Complete Works.

At this event

Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos

Director, King's Brazil Institute

Event details

Bush House North East Wing
Bush House North East Wing, 30 Aldwych, WC2B 4BG