Faculty Book: Amy Chazkel

Amy Chazkel

Laws of Chance: Brazil’s Clandestine Lottery and the Making of Urban Public Life (Duke University Press, 2011)

The lottery called the jogo do bicho, or “animal game,” because its cards feature animal pictures, originated as a raffle at a zoo in Rio de Janeiro in 1892 and grew to become a cultural phenomenon all over Brazil, where it remains popular today. Analyzing the game’s popularity, its persistence despite bouts of state repression, and its sociocultural meanings, Chazkel unearths a rich history of urban public life in the decades after the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the establishment of the Brazilian republic in 1889. She contends that the jogo do bicho was a precursor to the massive informal economies that developed later and shows how ticket sellers, corrupt police, and lenient judges worked out a system of everyday justice that would characterize public life in Brazil throughout the twentieth century. Amy Chazkel (Assoc. Prof., Queens) is on the doctoral faculty in history.

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Submitted on: APR 25, 2011

Category: Faculty Books | History