Cartography of "Racial Democracy": Race, Affect, and the Production of Abject Subjects among Brazilians and Puerto Ricans in Newark
Monday, April 29, 2013
In this presentation I consider the kinds of affective social entanglements and emotive practices required of US-born Latinos and Latin American migrants as they "learn race" in the US By focusing on the experiences of Brazilian and Puerto Ricans in Newark, I examine the impact of US racial projects on transnational individual's affective worlds and perspectives on the emotional subjectivities of the racialized others they encounter. As demonstrated through ethnographic materials drawn from nearly a decade of fieldwork, Brazilian immigrants and US-born Puerto Ricans in Newark analyze unfamiliar racial situations through quotidian emotional epistemologies that serve as a cartography to navigate otherwise illegible social encounters. Assumptions about affect and its adequate expression guide Brazilian migrants and US Puerto Ricans to developed nuanced interpretations of how one "should feel" when the goal is to create an affective persona that is consistent with Newark's neoliberal aspirations. Informed by transnational racial ideologies of "racial democracy," my interlocutors develop complex social practices around performances of Blackness, understandings of socioeconomic hierarchies, and expectations of belonging on multiple scales, like the neighborhood, nation state, and the market. I am particularly attentive to how engaging in this process of "learning race" renders Brazilians and Puerto Ricans "street therapists" dedicated to observing and correcting "defective" (non-marketable) forms of Blackness, developing appropriate feeling rules, and, hesitantly embracing a neoliberal personhood.
A reception will precede the meeting at 6:00 pm.
Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas
Baruch College, CUNY
Edgar Rivera Colon
This meeting is free, but you will need to register in advance.
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