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The Color of Love: Racial Features, Stigma, and Socialization in Black Brazilian Families

November 23, 2015 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Speaker: Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, The University of South Florida

Description: The Color Of Love reveals the power of racial hierarchies to infiltrate our most intimate relationships. Delving far deeper than previous sociologists have into the black Brazilian experience, Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman examines the relationship between racialization and the emotional life of a family. Based on interviews and a sixteen-month ethnography of ten working-class Brazilian families, this provocative work sheds light on how families simultaneously resist and reproduce racial hierarchies. Examining race and gender, Hordge-Freeman illustrates the privileges of whiteness by revealing how those with “blacker” features often experience material and emotional hardships. From parental ties, to sibling interactions, to extended family and romantic relationships, the chapters chart new territory by revealing the connection between proximity to whiteness and the distribution of affection within families.

Hordge-Freeman also explores how black Brazilian families, particularly mothers, rely on diverse strategies that reproduce, negotiate, and resist racism. She frames efforts to modify racial features as sometimes reflecting internalized racism, and at other times as responding to material and emotional considerations. Contextualizing their strategies within broader narratives of the African diaspora, she examines how Salvador’s inhabitants perceive the history of the slave trade itself in a city that is referred to as the “blackest” in Brazil. She argues that racial hierarchies may orchestrate family relationships in ways that reflect and reproduce racial inequality, but black Brazilian families actively negotiate these hierarchies to assert their citizenship and humanity.

Bio: Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with a joint appointment in the Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean at The University of South Florida, Tampa. She received her B.A. from Cornell University and completed her M.A./Ph.D. in Sociology from Duke University.  Dr. Hordge-Freeman’s first book, The Color of Love: Racial Features, Stigma, and Socialization in Black Brazilian Families, is slated for publication in October 2015 with The University of Texas Press. She has also published her work in the Journal of Marriage & Family and Ethnic and Racial Studies, among other academic venues. Her co-edited volume, Race and the Politics of Knowledge Production: Diaspora and Black Transnational Scholarship in the USA and Brazil, is forthcoming in 2016 with Palgrave.  With funding from a Fulbright Grant (Brazil), Ruth Landes Memorial Fund, and the American Sociological Association, Hordge-Freeman is working on a third book entitled, Second-Class Daughters: Informal Adoption as Modern Slavery in Brazil. Over the next year, Hordge-Freeman will collaborate with researchers in five Brazilian cities to examine the experiences of women who live in slave-like conditions in their “adoptive” families.
Passionate about teaching, Hordge-Freeman launched the USF in Salvador, Brazil program, which she later converted into an award-winning global service-learning program established in collaboration with The Instituto Cultural Steve Biko and Brazil Cultural in Bahia. In 2014, she was recognized with USF’s Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award and she was the inaugural recipient of the USF Outstanding Community-Engaged Teaching Award. Hordge-Freeman’s accomplishments as a junior faculty member have been recognized at the international level (Certificate of Recognition, State Secretariat for Justice, Human Rights, and Citizenship of the Amazonas, Brazil) and the national level (Finalist, Lynton Award for the Scholarship of
Engagement for Early Career Faculty). She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA).


November 23, 2015
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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420W 118th Street
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