Call for Papers: Representations of Afrolatinidad in Global Perspective Conference

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2018-12-27 01:17Z by Steven

Call for Papers: Representations of Afrolatinidad in Global Perspective Conference

Representations of Afrolatinidad in Global Perspective
University of Pittsburgh
2019-04-11 through 2019-11-13

Conference Convened by the Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latinx Studies Initiative

Contact: Dr. Michele Reid-Vazquez, University of Pittsburgh

Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Juliet Hooker, Professor of Political Science,
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Dr. Nancy Mirabal, Associate Professor of American Studies; Director of the US Latina/o Studies Program
University of Maryland, College Park

The intersections of race, ethnicity, and representation have shaped historical and contemporary articulations of Afrolatinidad. As an expression of multivalent identity, both shared and unique, Afrolatinidad informs the experiences of over 150 million Afro-Latin Americans and millions more within diasporic communities in the United States, Canada, Europe, and beyond. The conference seeks to foster an international dialogue that addresses regional, national, and transnational links among the ways Afro-Latin Americans and Afro-Latinxs create, sustain, and transform meanings surrounding blackness in political, social, and cultural contexts.

This two-day symposium aims to engage multiple depictions of Afro-Latin Americans and Afro-Latinxs – whether self-fashioned or imposed. The varied portrayals in the past and present reflect the ongoing global realities, struggles, vibrancy, and resiliency of Afro-Latin diasporas throughout the Americas and elsewhere. The symposium will feature keynote addresses by Dr. Juliet Hooker, Professor of Political Science at Brown University, and Dr. Nancy Mirabal, Associate Professor of American Studies and Director of the U.S. Latina/o Studies Program at the University of Maryland-College Park. Their work on Afro-descendant politics in Latin America and Afro-Latinx discourses of race, gender, and territoriality, respectively, will spark broader exchanges around Afrolatinidad and representation among presenters and attendees.

We invite submissions that address aspects of Afrolatinidad, particularly through ethnicity/race, gender, history, technology, and expressive culture, such as music, dance and art. We are especially interested in papers that analyze these themes across a variety of conceptual frameworks, including Africana Studies, Anthropology, Caribbean Studies, Cultural Studies, History, Latin American Studies, Latinx Studies, Media Studies, Political Science, and Sociology.

Submissions need not be confined to these topics, but, if possible, please indicate at least two themes that correspond to your proposal.


  • Slavery and Its Legacies in Latin America
  • Politics of Culture/Cultural Expression
  • Visibility and Invisibility
  • Theorizing Afro-Latinidad
  • Race, Gender, and Migration
  • Diaspora, Community, and Technology/Social Media…

For more information, click here.

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Multiracial in the Workplace: A New Kind of Discrimination?

Posted in Census/Demographics, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2016-01-25 22:51Z by Steven

Multiracial in the Workplace: A New Kind of Discrimination?

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC Fall 2015 Speaker Series presents: “Multiracial in the Workplace: A New Kind of Discrimination?”
University of Pittsburgh

Tanya Hernandez, Professor of Law
Fordham University

Welcome by:

Larry Davis, Dean, Donald M. Henderson Professor, and Director
Center for Race and Social Problems, University of Pittsburgh

Introduction by:

Jeffrey Shook, Associate Professor
School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh

Watch the video (01:02:59) here.

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Law is still black & white, not multiracial, Fordham prof says

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-01-25 19:38Z by Steven

Law is still black & white, not multiracial, Fordham prof says

University Times: The Faculty & Staff Newspaper Since 1968
University of Pittsburgh

Marty Levine

Despite the fact that more people are identifying themselves as multiracial on the U.S. census, decisions in discrimination cases involving multiracial defendants still are primarily based on the presence of anti-black prejudice, and there is no need to change civil rights laws.

That was the message of Tanya Hernandez, professor of law at Fordham University, who delivered the final fall Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney lecture in the School of Social Work’s Center on Race and Social Problems last month.

Hernandez, author of “Racial Subordination in Latin America,” spoke on the topic “Multiracial in the Workplace: A New Kind of Discrimination?” She is studying mixed-race identity and discrimination law in the United States in preparation for her next book…

Read the entire article here.

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“Japanese in the Samba”: Japanese Brazilian Musical Citizenship, Racial Consciousness, and Transnational Migration

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2013-09-15 17:41Z by Steven

“Japanese in the Samba”: Japanese Brazilian Musical Citizenship, Racial Consciousness, and Transnational Migration

University of Pittsburgh
213 pages

Shanna Lorenz, Assistant Professor of Music
Occidental College, Los Angeles, California

Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

his doctoral dissertation is an ethnographic study of musical culture among Japanese Brazilians in São Paulo, Brazil. Specifically, the study explores how the musical culture of this community has changed in recent years as a result of the dekasegui movement, the migration of hundreds of thousands of Japanese Brazilians who have traveled to Japan since 1990 in search of work. In order to explore these questions, I conducted fieldwork between May and November of 2003 on three musical groups, Zhen Brasil, Ton Ton Mi, and Wadaiko Sho, each of which have found different ways to invoke, contest, and reinvent their Brazilian and Japanese musical heritages. By exploring these groups’ musical practices, texts, dance, costumes, and discourses of self-definition, this study offers insight into shifts in the ethnic self-definition and racial consciousness of the Japanese Brazilian community that have taken place as the result of face-to-face contact between Japanese Brazilians and Japanese under the conditions of contiguous globalization. This study contributes to our current understandings of the impact of circular forms of migration on the musical culture and ethnic identity of diasporic communities in the contemporary world.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Cuban Color Classification and Identity Negotiation: Old Terms in a New World

Posted in Anthropology, Caribbean/Latin America, Dissertations, Media Archive, United States on 2013-09-14 20:40Z by Steven

Cuban Color Classification and Identity Negotiation: Old Terms in a New World

University of Pittsburgh
246 pages

Shawn Alfonso Wells

Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of The University of Pittsburgh in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

This thesis analyzes how the Cuban Revolution’s transnational discourse on blackness positively affected social attitudes, allowing color identity to be negotiated using color classification terms previously devalued.

In the Caribbean and Latin America, most systems of social stratification based on color privilege “whiteness” both socially and culturally; therefore, individuals negotiate their identities with whiteness as the core element to be expressed. This dissertation examines how this paradigm has been overturned in Cuba so that “blackness” is now the featured aspect of identity. This is due in part to the popular response to the government’s rhetoric which engages in an international political discourse of national identity designed to situate Cuba contextually in opposition to the United States in the global politics of color. This shift has occurred in a dialectic environment of continued negative essentialized images of Blacks although blackness itself is now en vogue. The dialogue that exists between state and popular forms of racial categorization serves to recontextualize the meanings of “blackness” and the values attached to it so that color classification terms which indicate blackness are assumed with facility in identity negotiation.

In the past, the concepts of whitening and mestizaje (race mixture) were employed by the state with the goal of whitening the Cuban population so that Cuba would be perceived as a majority white country. Since the 1959 Revolution, however, the state has publicly claimed that Cuba is an Afro-Latin nation. This pronouncement has resulted in brown/mestizo/mulatto and not white as being the national ideal. The symbolic use of mestizaje in Cuban society and the fluidity inherent in the color classification system leaves space for manipulation from both ends of the color spectrum and permits Cubans from disparate groups to come together under a shared sense of identity. The ideology of the state and the popular perceptions of the symbolism that the mulatto represents were mediated by a color continuum, which in turn was used both by the state and the populace to construct, negotiate, maintain, and manipulate color identities. This study demonstrates that although color classification was not targeted by the government as an agent to convey blackness, it nevertheless does, and the shift in how identity is negotiated using racial categories can be viewed as the response of the populace to the state’s otherwise silent dialogue on “race” and identity.


  • Introduction: Mulatas del Caribe
  • Chapter One: The problem of race
    • Problematizing Race
    • Field Setting
    • Conducting Fieldwork in Cuba
    • Methodology
  • Chapter Two: Historical Context of Color Classification in Latin America and the Caribbean
    • History of racial/color categorization in Cuba
    • The Era of Conquest and Colonization
    • The Plantation Era
      • Color classes
      • Pigmentocracy/Whitening
    • The Era of Capitalism
    • The Era of Socialism and Castro
  • Chapter Three: Terms of Classification
    • Settings
      • The Census
      • The Carnet
      • The Medical Establishment
    • Cognitive Categories of Color Classification
    • Features of Classification
    • Constructing Identity
      • Blancos
      • Mestizos, Mulatos and Mestizaje
      • Negros
      • Chinos
  • Chapter Four: The social significance of classification
    • Contested classifications
    • Stereotypes and Social Status
    • Shifts in meaning and preference of terms
  • Chapter Five: Mulatizaje and Cubanidad
    • Mestizaje, Mulattoization and Cubanidad
      • The typical Cuban
    • Claiming Identity and Negotiating Mulatizaje
      • Extended Case Study #1
      • Case study #2
      • Case study #3
      • Case study #4
      • Case study #5
      • Case study #6
      • Case study #7
      • Case study #8
      • Case study #9
      • Case study #10
      • Case study #11
  • Conclusions
  • Appendices
    • Appendix A: Glosses of Color Terms.
    • Appendix B: Census Enumeration of Writs of Freedom
    • Appendix C: Racial Categories of 1827 and 1841 Censuses
    • Appendix D: Census with Conflicting Terminology
  • Bibliography


  • Table 1: Chronological Table of Data Collection Techniques
  • Table 2: Census Terms.
  • Table 3: Formal Labels on Documents
  • Table 4: Descriptive Color Terms
  • Table 5: Cognitive Map of Terminology
  • Table 6: Labels of Pilesorting Groups.
  • Table 7: Percentages of Informants Employing Particular Classification Terms
  • Table 8: Johnson’s Hierarchial Clustering.
  • Table 9: Color Continuum.
  • Table 10: Informal Descriptors
  • Table 11: Common Descriptors for Hair Texture
  • Table 12: Common Descriptors for Facial Features.
  • Table 13: Common Modifying Descriptors
  • Table 14: Common Compound Terms
  • Table 15: Descriptive Labels

Read the entire dissertation here.

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“Not Tainted by the Past”: Re-Constructions and Negotiations of Coloured Identities Among University Coloured Students in Post- Apartheid South Africa

Posted in Africa, Campus Life, Dissertations, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2013-09-14 15:31Z by Steven

“Not Tainted by the Past”: Re-Constructions and Negotiations of Coloured Identities Among University Coloured Students in Post- Apartheid South Africa

University of Pittsburgh
152 pages

Sardana Nikolaeva

The South African coloured identity is a profoundly complex construction that, on the one hand, is interpreted as an ambiguous and ‘in-between’ identity and, on the other hand, its own ambiguity and complexity provides multiple means and strategies of production and articulation within various contexts. This dissertation seeks to examine a production of multiple discourses by post-apartheid coloured youth in order to re-construct and negotiate their identities moving through various social contexts of everyday experiences within diverse university settings. Similarly to other minority and marginalized youth, coloured students produce various discourses and practices as the medium of counter-hegemonic formation and negotiation of their minoritized and marginalized identities. In this sense, coloured students implement produced discourses and practices as instrumental agency to create resistance and challenge the dominant discourses on their marginalized and minoritized identities, simultaneously determining alternate characteristics for the same identities. Turning to the current conceptualizations of coloured identities as heterogeneous, non-static and highly contextual, I analyze two dominant discourses produced by the coloured students: coloured as an ethnic/hybrid cultural identity and an adoption of an inclusive South African national identity, simultaneously rejecting coloured identity as a product of the apartheid social engineering. Additionally, integrating an ecological approach and ecology model of identity development, created and utilized by Renn (1998, 2004) in her work that explores how multiracial students construct their identities in the context of higher education, I develop an ecology model of coloured students’ identity development and present the data to determine what factors and opportunities, provided by microsystems, mesosystem, exosystems and macrosystem of identity development, are significant and how they influence coloured students’ identities production, development and negotiation in and out of the university environments. The dissertation analysis on coloured identities builds on nine months of ethnographic fieldwork in the Western Cape, South Africa, including limited participant observation and semi-structured interviews with the undergraduate and graduate coloured students of the University of the Western Cape and University of Stellenbosch, the Western Cape, South Africa.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Not Tainted by the Past: Re-conceptualization and Politics of Coloured Identities among University Coloured Student Activists in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Posted in Africa, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, South Africa on 2012-03-12 02:46Z by Steven

Not Tainted by the Past: Re-conceptualization and Politics of Coloured Identities among University Coloured Student Activists in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Achieving Sustainable Development in Africa
International Conference at the University of Pittsburgh
2012-03-29 through 2012-03-30

Sardana Nikolaeva
School of Education
University of Pittsburgh

The colonial apartheid South Africa, its hierarchical racial classification and its consequences have garnered a lot of interest from scholars in a number of disciplines. Coloured identities, previously shaped as a single racialized categorical identity of a diverse group of “mixed race” people by the particular racist discourse of colonial and apartheid South Africa, currently needs to be re-conceptualized as heterogeneous and constructed by complex networks of relations and practices in specific historical, social, and political contexts. This research project examines how coloured students’ identities are formulated, contested and negotiated within a specific student activism context in a post-apartheid higher education terrain. In this sense, involvement in student activities of undergraduate and graduate students, who self-identify as of coloured identities, is interpreted as a productive resource and a site of identity articulation, contestation, and negotiation, evolving around locally embedded social, economic, cultural, and political issues. I firmly believe that there is a need of research of post-apartheid youth identity politics, particularly among coloured youth, one of the most disenfranchised, discriminated, and socio-politically-, economically-, and culturally-marginalized groups in South Africa. On a broader level, the research findings might shed light on the specifics of the minority group politics (coloured/colouredness politics) within post-1994 South Africa as a multi-racial and multi-ethnic state.

For more information, click here.

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