Poets, Desiree

Desiree Poets
Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
Race and Ethnicity in Urban Territoriality: Brazil’s Quilombos and Indigenous Communities
Research Supervisor:
Dr Mustapha K. Pasha, Dr Lucy Taylor
Supervising school:
Department of International Politics,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My work is concerned with the political and theoretical implications of social categorisations and self-identification in Brazilian quilombos and urban indigenous groups. The roles of blackness, indigeneity, race and ethnicity are explored in their political claims and projects, aiming to make a theoretical contribution to a better understanding of these concepts.

The fieldwork will be ethnographic, taking place mostly in the urban areas of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The aim is to combine both the contemporary empirical reality with a genealogical, historical narrative. This approach would allow for an account of the temporal and geographical continuities and discontinuities of these categories. This genealogy dates back to the beginning of discourses on Empire and difference, culminating in the reality observed today. Contextualising and historicising these categorisations in this way in combination with ethnography will allow for new insights into the lived experiences of indigenous and black peoples in Brazil. This includes how they relate to each other as well as to the wider Brazilian nation. In turn, it will enable an account of their positions not just in relation to whiteness. Instead, the aim is to expose how conceptualisations of indigeneity affect those on blackness and vice-versa.