Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Of interest to: Students
Primary Theme: Race
Secondary Theme: Identity and Equity
Colonial encounters and long processes of immigration have fostered diverse forms of racial subjectivities throughout the Americas (Canclini 1995; Hoetink 1967; Mignolo 2005). In fact, the region is often characterized by its racial and cultural hybridity (Bhabha 1994) and diaspora (Hall 2014) as expressed through individual identities, cultural productions and national discourses. However, multiracial societies have also been fraught with social stratifications and political tensions centering on the issue of race, ultimately calling into question nationalist discourses of racial harmony and mixture (Alba and Nee 1997; Géliga-Vargas et al. 2009; Godreau 2016; Khan 2004; Telles 2004; Williams 1991).
Contemporaneously, identity politics and racialized discourses have come to the forefront due to processes such as globalization and neoliberalism. From the emergence of discourses around Afro-Latinidad (Anderson 2005; Caldwell 2007; Flores 2002; Sansone 1997), #blacklivesmatter (Bonilla and Rosa 2015), challenges to dominant notions of creolization (Khan 2001 and 2015; McNeal 2011; Puri 2004), and social movements contesting Latin America’s multiculturalist politics (Hooker 2005), scholars have shown a renewed interest in studying racialized discourses and their effects on political outcomes and civic societies.
This session highlights fraught negotiations of identity as asserted and contested through spatial revitalization, religious conversion, cultural embracement, street dances, and sonic-somatic sensations. By emphasizing the movement of racial ideas beyond traditional borders, space and time, we consider a range of questions pertinent to multicultural societies, including what constitutes authenticity, processes of displacement, transference of political ideas, forms of resistance and community building. As more scholarship considers the impacts of racial discourses on political outcomes (Telles and Garcia 2013), this panel seeks to draw attention to the variety of ways in which globalized identities are being forged along racial lines in the “other” Americas (specifically, Puerto Rico, Guyana and its diaspora, Brazil and African American street subculture). Ultimately, we emphasize that rearticulations and negotiations of racial identities in “other Americas” are central to understanding globalized scripts of identity and their socio-political implications.