MARA LOVEMAN. Ethnoracial Classification and the State in 21st-Century Latin America

Monday, November 19, 2012 - 2:00pm
Blumer Room - 402 Barrows Hall

Over the last two decades, there has been a dramatic shift in the way Latin American states classify their populations on censuses. Abandoning color-blind approaches, states have adopted census questions that register the presence of indigenous and afro-descendent individuals within national populations. What explains the rise and spread of official ethnoracial classification in 21st-century Latin America? Historical research on national censuses conducted by nineteen Latin American states across nearly two centuries reveals that the recent embrace of official ethnoracial classification in the region is not without precedent. Drawing on lessons from the 19th century rise of racial data collection in Latin America, and its 20th century decline, this talk will explain the re-emergence of official ethnoracial classification in Latin America in the 21st century. Analyzing recent census reforms in comparative and historical perspective yields new insight into the general questions of when and why states engage in ethnoracial classification of their populations.

Mara Loveman is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is a comparative-historical and political sociologist with broad interests in ethnoracial politics, nationalism, and the state. She is also a Latin Americanist who studies inequality and the politics of development in the region. Her research has appeared in leading journals, including American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and Social Science Research, among others. She recently completed her first book, National Colors: Racial Classification and the State in Latin America.  Mara earned her PhD in Sociology from UCLA and her BA in Political Economy of Industrial Societies, Latin American Studies, and Spanish and Portuguese from UC Berkeley.