History Ph.D. Candidate Travis Knoll has been recognized by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) for his new documentary tracing the incredible campaign of Catholic-inspired Black movement activists in Rio de Janeiro's urban periphery to expand education access to Brazil's political minorities. This campaign changed Brazilian society's discussion of race in the process. SSRC recently spotlighted Knoll’s work in its newsletter.
Written and produced by one of Brazil's most prominent Black journalists and edited by one of Rio's leading community rappers, the film covers a wide range of issues from pre-college prep courses, to Black aesthetics and self-esteem, to police violence. At its core the film argues for the revolutionary potential of social mobility when combined with grassroots political consciousness-raising and wrestles with the difficulties of sustained activism in the face of institutional racism and an increasingly reactionary political environment in Brazil.
Travis conducted fieldwork in 2018 with a SSRC International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF), which funded the documentary. He published on progressive Brazilian religious movements in the Social Science Research Council's Immanent Frame blog in May.
Travis Knoll is a 2018 IDRF fellow and a PhD candidate at Duke University whose research examines racial justice policy and religious civil society organizations. His most recent project, The Book Revolution, is an IDRF-funded documentary on a Catholic-inspired Black activist campaign to expand education access in Brazil. His writing was featured in the The Immanent Frame in May.