This dissertation studies the Northeastern region of Brazil by contemplating its interactions with the world around it. It sets out from the assumption that Northeastern regional identity is in constant transformation due to its embeddedness in the world around it. By analyzing a variety of sources from intellectuals, the press, and popular arts, I explore how ideas about the region and its meaning circulated among social groups and changed over time. Through key moments of international interaction, I trace how these sources present changes in the use of the term "Nordeste" in the delineation of the borders of the Northeast, in the meaning of belonging within the Northeast, and in the relationship between the Northeast, the nation, and the world. I demonstrate that what being Northeastern meant was discussed across social classes, depended to a surprising degree on international attention and activity in the region, and was constructed as much through contestation as agreement. In doing so, I argue that regional and national identity, at their very essence, are intertwined, heterogeneous, multivalent, and unfinished projects. The international interactions presented in this dissertation include: the Regionalist Conference of Recife, organized by Gilberto Freyre; an Orson Welles movie on a protest in the form of a two-month voyage by sailboat from Fortaleza to Rio de Janeiro; allegorical representations of the presence of U.S. military bases in the Northeast during World War II; the transformation of the Northeast into a region of "resistance" often represented by the bandit figure; a campaign to bring a World Cup event to Recife and representations of World Cup soccer in art; and local, state, and international beauty pageants that included Northeastern women. Each chapter presents how Northeasterners from several walks of life discuss the meaning of the Northeast in the nation and the world, emphasizing brief moments of consensus in which the Northeast was transformed from a meteorological designation into a place of rustic stoicism, from rustic stoicism to naiveté and abandon, and from abandon to resistance. In the end, the conversation on the region centered on the notions of drought, poverty, inferiority, and potential for rebellion.