My research asks how ideologies of race and nation have shaped citizenship in Latin American societies since independence. I am particularly interested in the ways that competing definitions of race and nation, enunciated by political and intellectual elites as well as by people of color, produced different multi-racial societies and different ideas about the meanings of racial inclusiveness across Latin America. More broadly, I am interested in the ways that ideas of the racialized nation have historically constituted a point of convergence and trans-national discussion for Latin American intellectuals, as well as a point of entry for historical studies of the idea of Latin America itself.
My book, Terms of Inclusion, charts the changing terms through which black intellectuals in Brazil defined their multi-racial nation, and their own citizenship within it, between 1920 and 1980. The book draws upon on the understudied writings of black intellectuals themselves-specifically, Brazil's rich imprensa negra or black press. It explores the various ways that these intellectuals used metaphors of the racialized nation like "racial fraternity" and "racial democracy" (generally understood as oppressive dominant discourses) to argue for their inclusion in the nation, and for their rights to racial and cultural distinctiveness. My new project turns to Argentina, exploring recent transformations in the ways Argentines imagine and narrate their collective racial and ethnic pasts through history and historiography, political discourse and journalism, theatrical performances, and above all, historical fiction.
Recent and Selected Publications
"Of Sentiment, Science, and Myth: Changing Metaphors of Racial Inclusion in Twentieth-Century Brazil.” Social History (37:3, August 2012).
"Para africano ver: Intercâmbios africano-baianos na reinvenção da democracia racial, 1961-63." Afro-Ásia, 44 (April 2012).
Terms of Inclusion: Black Intellectuals in Twentieth-Century Brazil. (University of North Carolina Press, 2011). Winner of the 2012 Roberto Reis Prize in Brazilian Studies.
“When Rio was Black: Soul Music, National Culture, and the Politics of Racial Comparison in 1970s Brazil.” Hispanic American Historical Review, 89:1 (February 2009).
“Para Africano Ver: African-Bahian Exchanges in the Reinvention of Brazil’s Racial Democracy, 1961-63.” Luso-Brazilian Review 45:1 (June 2008).
“The Problems of Measuring Race and Ethnicity,” with Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof. LASA Forum, Summer 2007.
Recent undergraduate courses taught:
Portuguese 301, Readings in Luso-Brazilian Culture: The Multi-Ethnic Roots of Brazilian Popular Culture: From Margins to Center
Spanish 430: Writing Race and Nation in Modern Latin America
Portuguese 473: The Literature of Race in Brazil: Afro-Brazilian Perspectives on Brazil's Racial Democracy