Studies on Racialized Relations

Authored by: Peter Wade

Routledge Handbook of Afro-Latin American Studies

Print publication date:  November  2022
Online publication date:  November  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367691431
eBook ISBN: 9781003159247
Adobe ISBN:


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The chapter begins by defining racialization as a process linked to racism, understood as historically changing structures and practices for the unequal distribution of power and resources between categories of people located in processes of colonial domination (principally European) and defined in terms of criteria that, with variations across time and place, combine ideas about ancestry, bodies, and behavior. The chapter then outlines the processes in which the key racialized categories of Latin American societies emerged and changed ‒ negro, indio, blanco/branco and various proliferating types of mestizos ‒ and the changing relations that existed between these categories, with a focus on Afro-Latin American peoples. An historical overview will trace these processes for the colonial and post-colonial periods, dividing the latter into two: (a) nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth centuries, covering processes of early nation-building ‒ often centred on ideas of mestizaje (mixture), eugenics and claims to racial democracy or tolerance; (b) mid-twentieth century to the present, covering the strengthening of black and indigenous political mobilizations, multiculturalist reform, and anti-racism. Also included is the emergence of other important racialized categories such as chino and turco (and in Brazil, nikkei, or the census colour category, amarelo).

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