Lecture: Tianna S. Paschel (African American Studies and Sociology, University of California–Berkeley) — "Rethinking Black Mobilization in Latin America"
Black mobilization in Latin America has long been cast as a story of absence, either because of the presumed lack of salience of race in the everyday realities of Latin Americans, or because of false consciousness. Part of this characterization came from explicit and implicit comparisons with other racially stratified countries, namely the United States and South Africa. Indeed, reading black mobilization in Latin America through a U.S. Civil Rights or anti-apartheid movement lens has arguably created a specific benchmark for what counts as substantial black mobilization, just as it may have also narrowed the wide range of activities that we might include under that category. Recent work, including my own, has shifted the conversation away from asking if race is politicized in Latin American, to how it has been politicized both in the contemporary moment and historically. In this presentation, I draw on my own fieldwork over the last decade as well as the growing literature in this area, to examine the nature and outcomes of black mobilization in 20th century Latin America. I argue that despite national differences, there are a surprising number of convergences across the region that point to transnational circuits of activists, ideological frameworks and funding in specific periods. I also suggest that while black movements across the region have made important symbolic and material gains over the last decades, these gains have acted as catalysts for the rise of reactionary movements and the receding of Latin America’s so-called pink tide. I end by discussing how we might use theories of racialization to better understand the rise and dynamics of right wing populism in a number Latin American countries today.
Co-sponsored by the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies