By Herbert S. Klein
Janice Perlman wrote the first in-depth account of life in the Brazilian urban slums (favelas), a book hailed as one of the most important works in global urban studies in the past thirty years. Her book The Myth of Marginality: Urban Poverty and Politics in Rio de Janeiro (University of California Press, 1979) won the C. Wright Mills Award. She continued working in the Rio de Janeiro favela with those same residents during the next four decades, concluding her work with a second book entitled Favela: Four Decades of Living on the Edge in Rio de Janeiro (Oxford University Press, 2010) that contained an introduction by former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso. For that book Perlman reinterviewed many longtime favela residents whom she had first met in 1969—as well as their children and grandchildren. The Hoover Archives has acquired these detailed family histories, all of which combine to form an extraordinary oral history of urban poor during the past four decades and will be a major source for scholars examining the changing lifestyles, identity, labor participation, and social mobility of the urban poor in Brazil. The collection consists of 119 manuscript boxes, including several hundred questionnaire responses by the favela residents and their families.