Raised in a conservative Christian household, Amanda Caroline was out of touch with her Afro-Brazilian roots. But after studying abroad in Salvador Bahia, Brazil, Caroline found her passion in martial arts.
Caroline, a Ph.D. student in African and African diaspora studies, practices capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art “played” by two capoeiristas who are surrounded by people singing and playing music in a circle, or “roda.” Although capoeira is referred to as a “jogo,” or game, it was historically created as an illicit art by black slaves in Brazil.
“Capoeira has a lot of historical significance for black people in Brazil,” Caroline said. “Because of its history, it was created as a disguise of warfare but also a communal space for community and spirituality. All these things combined make a very powerful art.”