Latin American Racial Technologies in the 21st Century

Membership, description of activities, contact information

Latin American Racial Technologies through the 21st Century

This working group takes as its starting point the dilemma of contemporary racialization in the Americas as a complex series of practices defined by both regional and national histories of coloniality, and by more recent tendencies tied to patterns of democratization and international human rights movements. Since the 1990s, the increased coordination of anti-racist, feminist, indigenous and related movements in international fora such as the United Nations have worked to challenge established constructions of nationhood, create new institutions tasked with the inclusion of previously excluded categories of people, collect statistics that portray populations as diverse, and add new media representations that challenge prevailing aesthetic and cultural frameworks. Yet colonial legacies and practices defined by historically encoded and visual epistemologies continue to overlay contemporary (and earlier, post-independence) experiences of individual, collective rights and emplaced ontologies, albeit in fragmented or inconsistent ways. The concept of “racial technologies” serves as an approach to thinking through the shifting modalities and actions of race across the Americas and across a range of discursive, historical, and geopolitical locations.
    Our conversations for the coming year will be structured around a series of “keywords.” These are terms that we have identified through our discussions, including: Creolization, Blackness, Raza/Raça, Beauty, and Pigmentation. The keywords are offered as provocations for thinking through race from multidisciplinary perspectives, and for understanding how terminology is deployed across diverse disciplines and regional frameworks. In addition, they are offered as one mode of “racial technology,” a means by which the malleable category of race works as a tool and practice, and through which bodies, histories and identities come to be experienced and known. This “keywords” framework will enable us to attend to discursive differences and points of contact as the language of race shifts between disciplinary and regional spaces.

Susan Antebi, FAS Spanish & Portuguese
Valentina Napolitano, FAS Anthropology
Luisa Schwartzman, UTM Sociology   

Faculty, University of Toronto
Ted Sammons, CLTA, FAS Anthropology
Tamara Walker, FAS History

Faculty outside University of Toronto
Gillian McGillivray, History, York University
Graduate Students, University of Toronto
Nae Hanashiro Avila, Spanish & Portuguese
Roxana Escobar Ñuñez, Geography & Planning
Fernando Calderón Figueroa, Sociology
Tania Ruiz-Chapman, OISE Social Justice Education