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Space, Race, and Inequality in Alcântara, Brazil

February 15, 2018 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


The Brazil Research Seminar Series invites you to its discussion titled,“Space, Race, and Inequality in Alcântara, Brazil” with Sean T. Mitchell, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rutgers University, Newark.

Sean is a cultural anthropologist. His ethnographically-based work focuses on the politics of inequality, particularly in Brazil. His work also touches on science and technology studies; race and ethnicity; war and violence; governance and citizenship; social movements; and the politics of expertise.

The discussion will be based on the contents of the speaker’s just launched book, “Constellations of Inequality: Space, Race, and Utopia in Brazil” (U. Chicago Press 2017). The book is an ethnographic study of the three-and-a-half-decade-old strife surrounding Brazil’s spaceport. The site stands at the center of competing projects of social and material transformation, each aimed at redressing inequality, though on very different scales, and in very different ways. The spaceport was conceived as part of a project to make Brazil a world technomilitary power. It is today populated by two Brazilian space programs and by differing projects for a space program that might confront global political and economic inequalities. Another project is concerned not with international inequalities, but Brazil’s internal inequalities of class and race. Mobilizing as escaped-slave descendants (quilombolas), villagers (and their allies) aim to resist the expansion of the spaceport and to win the villagers rights of wellbeing and citizenship long denied them. Through this case, “Constellations of Inequality” analyses Brazil’s changing politics of inequality and advances an ethnographic approach to understanding the relationships between inequality and politics at multiple scales.


February 15, 2018
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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