The Interview to Dr. Williams

Sean T. Healy

Ovidio Vasquez

LACS 270



Response to Dr. Erica Williams Interview


On March 31st, Dr. Erica Williams came to our class for a question and answer session that shed light on some questions we had about her book Sex Tourism in Bahia. Her book emphasized the commodification of sex and how tourism exploits this ideology in particular from foreign tourists. Her story focuses on the sex tourism industry in Bahia, a province in northern Brazil that is experiencing rapidly growing development, in part because of its beautiful beaches. Williams’s book highlights the sex workers in the area by providing first hand accounts of how the sex tourism industry operates on a day-to-day basis and their relationship with foreigners. Our job was to read one chapter in Dr. Williams’s book (in addition to the introduction and conclusion) and come up with viable questions that we had from that particular chapter. We chose to read and ask questions on Chapter 1.

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Interview with Erica Williams-Lauren and Jazmin

Interview with Dr. Williams

Lauren Arsenault

Jazmin Reyes

When it comes to prostitutes and their clients, the dynamics of a relationship are not very straight forward. The clients benefit because they receive sexual services and companionship, while the prostitutes can sometimes receive luxurious gifts and affection. The question of exploitation comes up when reviewing the client-prostitute relationship. Who is exploiting who? Are they equally exploiting each other? Should outsiders judge this type of relationship? Continue reading

Maggie McLeod, Liam Buckley, and Victor Tapia Poma

Chapter Five analyzes Aprosba’s operation mechanisms as well as its state, regional and transnational networks. Dr. Williams gives a detailed explanation on how Aprosba operates under the eyes of the Brazilian Government. Additionally, she also critiques existing feminist literature on prostitution, for example how the word “prostitute” only refers to female sex workers when in reality the sex worker can include children, males, and transgenders. Or how words such as “puta” have a derogatory connotation when referring to prostitutes. Williams argues that this ingrained attitude has contributed to prostitutes in Brazil being as second class citizens and their rights have not been recognized. Continue reading

Dr. Williams Interview

Alejandra Lara – Interview

Sex tourism in Bahia, by Erica Williams covers the nexus among racism, commodification, and eroticization. Dr. Williams, became involved with sex workers in Brazil in an attempt to conduct research about sex tourism in the area. The book wanted to provide us with the different perceptions, different actors in the business had. Despite being an interesting topic, the book offered a narrow and very simply insight into this business.

By focusing in chapter four, Dr. Williams interviewed a “young white heterosexual male sex tourist from New York City.” (4) The American argued that sex in Brazil was something he wanted to experience due to the idea of it, the idea of Brazilian women, and how “easy” it was to obtain sex because of his race. Continue reading

Write Up About Erica Williams Interview – Jill and Abood 

On March 31, Erica Williams, an associate professor of anthropology and sociology at Spellman college, came into our class to discuss her book Sex Tourism in Bahia. In order to prepare for this class, we read Chapter three of Williams’ book which was entitled “Working-Class Kings in Paradise Coming to Terms with Sex Tourism.”

In this chapter, Williams first refutes the popular notion that sex tourists are primarily from the upper class—she shares that in Bahia, many sex tourists are from the middle class. Williams then discusses the ambiguity of sex tourism in Bahia. She believes that sex tourism is classified by both implicit and implicit sexual encounters.  Continue reading

Erica Williams

Last Thursday Professor Erica Williams was present to discuss her book Sex Tourism in Bahia, an investigative work exploring the taboos of sex tourism in Brazil. Professor Erica Williams gave a short summary regarding the contents of her book and then let the class share questions. What was really interesting in our discussion was the range of questions explored and the subsequent analysis of sex tourism’s current state in world affairs. In addition we discussed the role of race in sex tourism and the prevalence of the Afro-Brazilian ethnicity in sex related institutions. Sex Tourism in Bahia is an unabashed look into the world of race, socio-economic status, and globalization. Continue reading

Luke and Tristan Dr. Williams Report

Having read the introduction and fourth chapter of Sex Tourism in Bahia in preparation for Erica Williams’ visit to our class, we already had a firm grasp on a number of the fundamental premises of the book prior to her arrival. For example, we were aware that Brazil had surpassed Thailand as the world’s number one destination for sex tourism, and we understood how the legalization of sex work in Brazil was contributing to its booming sex tourism industry. However, as we considered what we wanted to discuss during Dr. Williams’ visit, we arrived at the conclusion that the most intriguing parts of her narrative were the sections that dealt with the complicated racial and socioeconomic dynamics of Brazilian sex tourism, and how the structures of capitalism are connected with them. Continue reading

Emily & Daniela: Sex Tourism in Bahia Discussion Report

Report on the Sexualization of the Brazilian Identity

           Race. This single word connotes a plethora of images and meanings. While much progress is taking place around the world in regards to race and its resulting implications, differences between races still exist in a sort of “racial hierarchy”. This “racial hierarchy” is seen throughout the world in different forms. Erica William’s book titled Sex Tourism in Bahia explores one specific usage of this term. Chapter Two, Racial Hierarchies of Desire and the Specter of Sex Tourism, focuses on the “racial hierarchy” of women involved in an active or passive form in sex tourism in Bahia. On one end of the spectrum, are the white woman, which is still often considered the “standard of beauty” in Brazil (Williams, p. 45). On the other end of the spectrum are the African/Black women, who are often considered the “standard of sensuality” (Williams, p. 45). Mulatas fall somewhere in the middle, but are considered the ultimate and “national erotic icon” (Williams, p. 48).  A mulata is believed to embody “the male sexual fantasy of uniting the white woman’s respectability with the black woman’s stereotypical lubricity and powerlessness”, essentially possessing the best of both worlds (Williams, p. 48). Continue reading

Comments on Interview with Dr. Erica Williams


The interview with Dr. Erica Williams was overall conducted in a passive tone/mood. Considering the topic of the book dealt with sexual matters in Brazil, I expected more action during the discussion. The questions made by my classmates and myself were challenging and provoking. However, the answers delivered by Dr. Williams somehow always avoided any controversy. She showed constant professionalism over the matter, but lacked some spice at the moment of stating an argument to support the questions we made. I found a lot of trouble reading the book because I found some testimonies and arguments a bit out of focus and even rude. Continue reading