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Latin American Anthropology Seminar Series, hosted by the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)

Doreen J. Gordon, University of the West Indies, Jamaica

Does a Black Middle Class Exist? Transformations in Race, Class and Gender in Contemporary Brazil

This presentation examines the emergence of Black middle classes in contemporary Brazil, after 30 years of Black mobilisation and against the backdrop of deep transformations taking place within the country. It explores the dynamics underlying upward mobility and the diverse modes and experiences of social ascent into the middle classes. Despite the persistent scholarly denial that a Black middle class exists, the author provides a necessary corrective to the idea that money whitens and lays the groundwork for unpacking the gender and class complexities of the Brazilian racial divide. The presentation reveals that Black elites continue to be shaped by the intellectual and political work of Black social movements and cultural organizations precisely because racial violence structures their everyday experiences. The author reminds us that even in a majority Black city and Black country, cultural dominance does not always translate into the eradication of racial inequality or guarantee full access to citizenship.  

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The Latin American Anthropology Seminar Series is convened by Jessica Sklair (QMUL), Denisse Román-Burgos (Aberdeen) and Ainhoa Montoya (CLACS, SAS).

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