Alex Da Costa

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Dr. Alexandre Da Costa is a co-organizer of this workshop and Assistant Professor of Theoretical, Cultural, and International Studies in Education in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. He has a background in interdisciplinary sociology and cultural studies as well as a decade of research on racial and cultural politics in Brazil that has focused on cultural production, social movements and state policy. His work on Afro-Brazilians is deeply attentive to the historical role of culture in Brazilian identity and state development projects. Dr. Da Costa’s book entitled, Reimagining Black Difference and Politics in Brazil: From Racial Democracy to Multiculturalism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) is on the cultural activism and anti-racism of black social movements and their struggles for educational reforms. The book examines diverse cultural practices and forms of community organizing, including protests during carnival celebrations, hip hip, dance performance, and activist workshops, which all aim to advance the cause of equality for black Brazilians. Dr. Da Costa has also published articles on these and related topics in diverse academic journals.

Abstract:

The work of anti-racist activism in the Brazilian pluricultural state

This paper examines the difficulties and possibilities of anti-racist activist work at a time where race-based policies and the politics of inclusion have become characteristic of Brazil’s ‘post-neoliberal’ state project. Racial post-neoliberalism presents uneven forms of racial and cultural recognition and material distribution alongside the persistence of anti-black and anti-indigenous racism, dispossession, and violence. This paper asks: how do we understand this particular formation and the ways in which activism, race, and culture become simultaneously a resource for state projects, but not fully captured by such projects? In what ways is such activist work more than reformist in its practice and in what creative ways do those doing this work negotiate incorporation into emergent forms of racial rule? The goal of the paper is not to evaluate whether Black Brazilian activist work through the state is ‘effective’ or not. Rather, the goal is to learn from what counts as creativity in the interventions of those who constantly confront and stay with the challenge of fostering transformative politics that address white supremacy.

Talk Date: April 29, 10-12pm  Panel V (closed): Resilience and Generative Politics 

Venue: Education Centre North 4th Floor Lounge