The JCMRS inaugural issue will be released Summer, 2013

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2013-03-18 03:35Z by Steven

The JCMRS inaugural issue will be released on Summer, 2013

Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies
c/o Department of Sociology
SSMS Room 3005
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California  93106-9430

The Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies (JCMRS) is a peer-reviewed online journal dedicated to developing the field of Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS) through rigorous scholarship. Launched in 2011, it is the first academic journal explicitly focused on Critical Mixed Race Studies.

JCMRS is transracial, transdisciplinary, and transnational in focus and emphasizes the critical analysis of the institutionalization of social, cultural, and political orders based on dominant conceptions and constructions of ‘race.’ JCMRS emphasizes the constructed nature and thus mutability of race and the porosity of racial boundaries in order to critique processes of racialization and social stratification based on race. JCMRS addresses local and global systemic injustices rooted in systems of racialization.

Sponsored by University of California, Santa Barbara’s Sociology Department, JCMRS is hosted on the eScholarship Repository, which is part of the eScholarship initiative of the California Digital Library. JCMRS functions as an open-access forum for critical mixed race studies scholars and will be available without cost to anyone with access to the Internet.

Volume 1, Issue 1, Spring 2013 will include:


  1. “Historical Origins of the One-Drop Racial Rule in the United States”—Winthrop Jordan edited by Paul Spickard
  2. “Retheorizing the Relationship Between New Mestizaje and New Multiraciality as Mixed Race Identity Models”—Jessie Turner
  3. “Critical Mixed Race Studies: New Directions in the Politics of Race and Representation,” Keynote Address presented at the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, November 5, 2010, DePaul UniversityAndrew Jolivétte
  4. “Only the News We Want to Print”—Rainier Spencer
  5. “The Current State of Multiracial Discourse”—Molly McKibbin
  6. “Slimy Subjects and Neoliberal Goods”—Daniel McNeil

Editorial Board

Founding Editors: G. Reginald Daniel, Wei Ming Dariotis, Laura Kina, Maria P. P. Root, and Paul Spickard

Editor-in-Chief: G. Reginald Daniel

Managing Editors: Wei Ming Dariotis and Laura Kina

Editorial Review Board: Stanley R. Bailey, Mary C. Beltrán, David Brunsma, Greg Carter, Kimberly McClain DaCosta, Michele Elam, Camilla Fojas, Peter Fry, Kip Fulbeck, Rudy Guevarra, Velina Hasu Houston, Kevin R. Johnson, Andrew Jolivette, Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain, Laura A. Lewis, Kristen A. Renn, Maria P. P. Root, Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, Gary B. Nash, Kent A. Ono, Rita Simon, Miri Song, Rainier Spencer, Michael Thornton, Peter Wade, France Winddance Twine, Teresa Williams-León, and Naomi Zack

For more information, click here.

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Black and white student ruling in a land of rainbows

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2012-06-09 19:56Z by Steven

Black and white student ruling in a land of rainbows

University World News
Issue 224, 2012-06-03

Chrissie Long

While there appears to be little question that Brazil’s black community has been at a disadvantage regarding degree attainment, a ruling by the country’s top court upholding affirmative action in universities has sparked debate over whether the initiative will have positive outcomes for race relations.

Some say the impasse lies in socio-economics – not in skin colour – and affirmative action will create a dichotomy in a country where none existed previously. Others believe race quotas in universities are essential for equity.

“It is true that darker-coloured Brazilians are underrepresented in the most prestigious universities and courses. Yet people are excluded from excellent schools in Brazil by their poverty, not their race,” said Peter Fry, a British-born anthropologist and professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro…

…Race definitions are alien

Brazil has the largest number of African descendents of all countries outside the continent.

Approximately 45% of Brazil’s 191 million people consider themselves African Brazilian. Most arrived on slave ships between the 16th and 19th centuries and, over the course of the past 500 years, gradually became part of Brazilian society and the Brazilian identity.

The standard definition of ‘black’ and ‘white’ never existed in Brazil like it has in North American or European cultures, says Brazilian historian at Colorado College Professor Peter Blasenheim.

Due to generations of mixed-race marriages, Brazilians have always considered themselves more of a rainbow, where racial distinctions blur, making skin colour a complicated issue…

Race quotas in universities

Reginald Daniel, a professor of sociology at the University of California – Santa Barbara, reports that this variation in skin colour has already complicated the quota system in Brazil’s universities.

According to a January article in The Economist, two identical twins applied to the Universidade de Brasilia (UnB): one was classified as black, the other as white.

Daniel said UnB began requiring that photographs be reviewed by a commission after situations in which students who appeared white claimed African descent. When this became controversial, UnB began using interviews instead of photographs.

Rio de Janeiro State University, which was one of the first institutions of higher education to adopt a quota system, relied on self-classification but removed ‘pardo’, or brown, from the options so that students either had to select white ‘branco’ or black, ‘negro’…

Read the entire article here.

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Room for Debate: Brazil’s Racial Identity Challenge

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2012-03-30 17:09Z by Steven

Room for Debate: Brazil’s Racial Identity Challenge

The New York Times

Jerry Dávila, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor of Brazilian History
University of Illinois

Peter Fry, Anthropolgist

Melissa Nobles, Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Micol Seigel, Associate Professor of African-American and African Diaspora Studies
Indiana University

Yvonne Maggie, Professor of Cultural Anthropology
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Antonio Sérgio Alfredo Guimarães, Professor of Sociology
University of São Paulo, Brazil

João Jorge Santos Rodrigues, Lawyer and President
Olodum (cultural group that aims to combat racism in Brazil)

Marcelo Paixão, Professor of Economics and Sociology
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

As Rio de Janeiro prepares to host the 2016 Olympics and celebrate its newfound economic prowess as a player on the world stage, the connection between poverty and racial discrimination in Brazil is coming under scrutiny. Would Brazil benefit from U.S.-style affirmative action to counter its history of slavery? What are the challenges of implementing such programs?

Note from Steven F. Riley: See also: Stanley R. Bailey, “Unmixing for Race Making in Brazil,” American Journal of Sociology, Volume 114, Number 3 (November 2008): 577–614.

What Brazil Does Well (Dávila)

In the United States and Brazil, Jim Crow’s shadow has yielded divergent understandings of the nature of racial inequality and the role of race-conscious policies. In the U.S., placing “separate but equal” in the rearview mirror feeds legal challenges to affirmative action.

But in Brazil, the distance from Jim Crow shapes a growing recognition that racial discrimination and inequality are not legacies and are not just the fruit of segregation. To the contrary, they have a stubbornly viral ability to reproduce and renew themselves…

…These Brazilian policies are not meant to redress legacies of racism: instead, they recognize and counteract ongoing inequalities. Brazil, in turn, has drawn a lesson from the U.S. history with affirmative action: policies that promote inclusion are insufficient without policies that reduce exclusion.

Race Is Too Hard to Identify (Fry)

Racial quotas in universities are polemical. For a start, they can hardly be called “U.S. style” since they would be unconstitutional in the United States. Furthermore, unlike the U.S., the majority of Brazilians do not classify themselves neatly into blacks and whites. In Brazil, therefore, eligibility for racial quotas is always a problem…

Quotas Are Working in Brazil (Nobles)

In 2004, when state and federal universities began implementing affirmative action policies, Brazil closed one chapter of its history and began another.

Brazil’s once dominant “myth of racial democracy,” made the contemplation, let alone implementation, of such policies impossible for most of the 20th century. Unlike the United States, Brazil’s post-slavery experience had not included deeply entrenched legal and social barriers. Nor had it included rigid racial identifications. Affirmative action policies were not needed, or so the reasoning went…

…Today, debate turns on arguments about merit and racial identity. Some hold that the quota system violates meritocracy. But basing university admissions solely on high-stakes standardized tests, which significantly advantage test preparation, seems a dubious way of determining merit. Others argue that Brazil’s system of racial classification is too fluid and ambiguous: the problem of “who is black?”…

Brazil Sets an Example to Follow (Seigel)

Affirmative action programs in Brazil are widespread and growing. Based on state legal victories beginning in 2000 and directed to expand further by the far-reaching federal Racial Equality Statute passed in 2010, all but three of Brazil’s 26 states now have reparative quota systems. The widespread objection that Brazilian racial categories were too fluid to define “black” for policy purposes has not panned out. Candidates define their racial identity themselves; apparently the disincentives to proclaiming black identity in a society still shot through with racist presumptions are enough to stave off the flood of sneaky white candidates who opponents claimed would jam the system. Plus, Brazilian affirmative action is not solely racial; it is class-based as well, and implemented in intelligent ways. In most states, quota candidates’ families must meet a salary limit, and an equal number of slots are set aside for children who have attended Brazil’s challenged public school system as for black students. Since most families poor enough to meet the income ceiling will have sent their kids to public schools, this means most students who meet the income requirement can apply, regardless of color…

Looking to the U.S. Has Been a Mistake (Maggie)

The history of racial relations in Brazil, which is completely different from the American case, leads me to believe that no, Brazil would not benefit from U.S.-style affirmative action.

In Brazil, there was no legislation dividing the population into “races,” nor prohibiting marriage between people of different “races,” in the post-abolition period; we’ve had no “one drop of blood” rule. The result is a national society based on the idea of mixture. U.S. affirmative action seeks to unite and make equal what had been separated by law. To implement this in Brazil, we would have to create legal identities based on the opposition between whites and blacks or African descendents.

Step in the Right Direction (Guimarães)

Brazil has already implemented some important affirmative action programs in higher education, and the balance is overall positive. Some 71 universities — with free tuition, linked to the federal system of higher education — as well as different state universities now have some kind of preferential system of entrance benefiting disadvantaged students (those coming from public high schools, those self-declared “pretos,” or blacks; “pardos,” or browns; “indigenous”; or those with low incomes).

The best thing is that those policies were taken one by one by different university boards trying to adapt the principles of social or racial justice to their regional reality. Available data on the school performance of those students show that they are doing pretty well and are not putting any kind of stress on the system. The real stress comes more from the huge expansion of slots than from the admission system.

Symbolically those policies are important in showing that being black (preto or pardo) in Brazil today is no longer a source of shame but rather one of pride. Descent from Africa is openly assumed and socially recognized. The policies also demonstrate that publicly financed universities must care for the quality of the education they offer without degrading the fairness of their admission when it becomes biased by class, race or color…

Read the entire debate here.

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Color, Race, and Genomic Ancestry in Brazil: Dialogues between Anthropology and Genetics

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2011-12-03 18:13Z by Steven

Color, Race, and Genomic Ancestry in Brazil: Dialogues between Anthropology and Genetics

Current Anthropology
Volume 50, Number 6 (2009)
pages 787-819
DOI: 10.1086/644532

Ricardo Ventura Santos, Professor of Biological Anthropology and Public Health
Oswaldo Cruz Foundation
also Associate professor of Anthropology
National Museum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Peter H. Fry, Professor
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Departamento de Antropologia
Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais/UFRJ, Largo de São Francisco de Paula 1

Simone Monteiro, Senior Researcher
Oswaldo Cruz Institute

Marcos Chor Maio, Senior Researcher
House of Oswaldo Cruz
Oswaldo Cruz Foundation

José Carlos Rodrigues, Professor
Fluminense Federal University
also Associate Professor
Catholic University

Luciana Bastos-Rodrigues
Department of Biochemistry and Immunology at the Institute of Biological Sciences
Federal University of Minas Gerais

Sérgio D. J. Pena, Professor of Biochemistry and Immunology
Institute of Biological Sciences
Federal University of Minas Gerais

In the contemporary world, “race” narratives are so multifaceted that at times, different views of the concept appear mutually incompatible. In recent decades biologists, especially geneticists, have repeatedly stated that the notion of race does not apply to the human species. On the other hand, social scientists claim that race is highly significant in cultural, historical, and socioeconomic terms because it molds everyday social relations and because it is a powerful motivator for social and political movements based on race differences. In this paper we present the results of an interdisciplinary research project incorporating approaches from genetics and anthropology. Our objective is to explore the interface between information about biology/genetics and perceptions about color/race in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We argue that the data and interpretation of our research resonate far beyond the local level, stimulating discussion about methodological, theoretical, and political issues of wider national and international relevance. Topics addressed include the complex terminology of color/race classification in Brazil, perceptions about ancestry in the context of ideologies of Brazilian national identity, and the relationship between genetic information about the Brazilian population and a sociopolitical agenda that turns on questions of race and racism.

Read the entire article here.

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