African and African Disapora Studies Department
African and African Disapora Studies Department

Refashioning Blackness Program Announced: Contesting Racism in the Afro-Americas

Mon, January 28, 2013

The 2013 Lozano Long Conference — Refashioning Blackness: Contesting Racism in the Afro-Americas

February 20-22, 2013
The University of Texas at Austin

Convened by the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) and the John L. Warfield Center for African and African-American Studies (WCAAAS)

In recent years there has been an explosion of scholarly work on Afro–Latin America that has moved away from simply demonstrating that racial discrimination exists to analyzing the different ways in which black populations represent their identities, relate to the state, and mobilize politically internally and transnationally. In the United States, meanwhile, the election of the first African American president led many to proclaim the end of race and of black politics. The aim of this conference is to encourage a cutting-edge conversation about the current political and cultural moment in the Afro-Americas. How can scholars and activists engage in anti-racist politics in systems where racial democracy/post-racial ideologies prevail? As governments employ post-racial or multicultural ideologies to stifle the impact of black social movements, new questions are emerging about how racial inequalities can be challenged in the Americas. Embracing blackness, which is often seen as the desirable and logical tactic to counter racism, is an insufficient response, as it can lead to fruitless debates about who is black and how blackness is being conceived and become disconnected from political action. This conference encourages participants to grapple with changing configurations of racial inequalities and racism in the Afro-Americas and the ongoing challenge to topple these hierarchies. We are particularly interested in papers that analyze the ways racial ideologies in Latin America parallel and indeed inform notions of "post-raciality" in the United States.

Conference themes will include, but are not limited to:

  • Black social movements/political mobilization
  • Comparative and transnational approaches to racism and anti-racist politics
  • Cultural production and racism
  • Race and public policy
  • Blackness and national identity

Conference Program (PDF, 86K)


Out of town participants and attendees can find a large selection of hotels in Austin. Visit Google Maps to see a short list of hotels and B&Bs near LLILAS.


This event is free and open to the public. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Keynote Speakers


Luiza Bairros

Luiza Bairros
Igualdade racial é pra valer/Racial Equality Is for Real

Luiza Bairros is the minister and head of the Secretariat for the Promotion of Racial Equality (SEPPIR) in Brazil, a post she has held since 2011. From August 2008 to December 2010, she was head of the Secretariat for the Promotion of Equality of Bahia (SEPROMI), which addressed policies for both gender and racial equality. She graduated in public administration and business administration from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. In 1979 she became an active member of the Unified Black Movement (MNU), and her activism in the women's movement began with the formation in 1981 of the Women's Group of MNU. She was elected in 1991 as the first National Coordinator of MNU, where she remained until 1994. During the same period, she also worked in the then Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare of the State of Bahia, managing programs in support of workers. In 1998, following graduate school at Michigan State University, she became a Research Associate of the Center for Human Resources (CRH), Universidade Federal da Bahia, and founded the Project on Race and Democracy in the Americas, in partnership with the U.S. National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS), an initiative that promotes exchange between Brazilian and African American researchers and graduate students. She also has worked as a consultant to the United Nations in Brazil and has been Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of Salvador (UCSAL).

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates
The U.S. Political Scene and the Emancipation Proclamation 150 Years Later

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor for The Atlantic. Coates has worked for the Village VoiceWashington City Paper, and Time. He has contributed to the New York Times MagazineWashington PostWashington Monthly, and O, among other publications. In 2008 he published the memoir The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood. The book is a vivid portrait of his father, a former Vietnam vet and Black Panther who started his own underground black press, had seven children with four women, and dedicated his life to carrying his sons across the shoals of inner city adolescence. Coates has penned many influential articles, most notably "This Is How We Lost to the White Man," a look at the generational and ideological rifts in the black community; its title is a quote by Bill Cosby. Last year, Coates’s lively Atlanticblog—a lesson in how to thoroughly engage a community of readers—was named by Time as one of the 25 Best in the World. In 2012, Coates was awarded the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis in Journalism. Judge Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker has written, “Coates is one of the most elegant and sharp observers of race in America. He is an upholder of universal values, a brave and compassionate writer who challenges his readers to transcend narrow self-definitions and focus on shared humanity.” Recently appointed as a Martin Luther King Visiting Associate Professor at MIT, Coates works in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies.

Guest Speakers


Aline Helg

Aline Helg
Crisscrossing Afro-Latin American History: A Reflection on Space and Time

Aline Helg is Professor of History at the Université de Genève in Switzerland. Between 1989 and 2003, she taught in the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin as an Assistant, then Associate Professor. Her books include Liberty and Equality in Caribbean Colombia, 1770–1835 (2004) and Our Rightful Share: The Afro-Cuban Struggle for Equality, 1886–1912 (1995), both winners of prizes from the American Historical Association, and La educación en Colombia, 1918–1957: Una historia social, económica y política(1987; reprinted 2001). She is coeditor (with Claude Auroi) of Latin America 1810–2010: Dreams and Legacies (2012) and also has published numerous articles and book chapters on Afro–Latin America, Cuba, Colombia, comparative race relations in the Americas, black mobilization, independence, and racial ideas in Latin America. Dr. Helg is currently completing a book provisionally titled Routes to Freedom: Slaves’ Self-Liberation in the Americas, 1492–1830.

Claudia Mosquera

Claudia Mosquera
Noticias del racismo en Colombia: Resistencias epistémicas y conflictor armado/News of Racism in Colombia: Epistemic Resistance and Armed Conflict

Claudia Mosquera Rosero-Labbé is Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work and a researcher in the Center for Social Studies at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá, lecturer in Latin American Studies at the Université de Paris III, and a doctoral candidate at the Université Laval in Canada. She was founder of the Programa de Iniciativas para la Paz y la Convivencia–PIUPC and is Director of Research on Racial Equality, Cultural Difference, Environmental Conflicts and Racisms in the Black Americas (IDCARAN).  Her coedited publications include Debates sobre ciudadanía y políticas raciales(2010); Acciones afirmativas y ciudadanía diferenciada étnico-racial negra, afrocolombiana, raizal y palenquera(2009); Escenarios post-Durban para pueblos, y personas negras, afrocolombianas, raizales y palenqueras (2009); and Afro-reparaciones: Memorias de la esclavitud y justicia reparativa para negros, afrocolombianos y raizales (2007). Her research includes racial equality, discrimination, inclusion and public policy, in Colombia. 

Featured Photographer

Tony Gleaton

Tony Gleaton

Tony Gleaton first pursued his interest in photography in 1974, eventually traveling to New York where he aspired to become a fashion photographer. In 1980 he left New York, hitchhiking throughout the American West doing odd jobs and photographing cowboys, concentrating on Native American ranch hands and black rodeo riders. In the process, he was introduced to Mexican rodeo and began traveling to and from Mexico with a group of charros from Los Angeles. Sharing an apartment with a stunt man from Churubusco Studios in Mexico City from 1982–1988, he began a seven-year period of extensive travels in Mexico. In Guerrero and Oaxaca, he initiated his best-known project, Africa's Legacy in Mexico, photographs of the descendants of African slaves brought to New Spain in the 1500–1700s. Africa's Legacywas eventually exhibited by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in the U.S. and toured in Mexico and Cuba through the Mexican National Council of Art. From 1992–1996, Tony expanded his project to include Central and South America. He traveled over 50,000 miles on the ground in 16 countries to complete Tengo Casi 500 Años: Africa's Legacy in Mexico, Central & South America.

Reformulación de la Negritud: Disputas contra el Racismo en las AfroAméricas

20-23 de febrero, 2013
The University of Texas at Austin

Organizado por el Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) y el John L. Warfield Center for African and African-American Studies (WCAAAS)

En los últimos años ha habido un fuerte auge de trabajos académicos sobre Afro-Latinoamerica, los que más allá de simplemente demostrar que la discriminación racial existe, han analizado las diferentes formas en que las poblaciones negras representan su identidad, se relacionan con el estado, y se movilizan políticamente a nivel nacional y transnacional . Al mismo tiempo en los Estados Unidos, la elección del primer presidente afroamericano ha llevado a muchos a proclamar el fin de las cuestiones raciales y de la política negra. El objetivo de esta conferencia es promover una conversación vanguardista sobre el actual momento político y cultural en las Afro-Américas. ¿Cómo pueden académicos y activistas participar en políticas antirracistas en sistemas donde la democracia racial y las ideologías post-raciales prevalecen? A medida que los gobiernos emplean ideologías post-raciales y multiculturales para sofocar el impacto de los movimientos sociales negros, surgen nuevas preguntas sobre cómo se pueden enfrentar las desigualdades raciales en las Américas. Adoptar la negritud, lo que a menudo puede ser visto como una táctica deseable y lógica para luchar contra el racismo, se convierte entonces en una respuesta insuficiente, ya que puede dar lugar a debates estériles sobre quién es negro y cómo lo negro se conceptualiza, que terminan desconectandos de la acción política.

Esta conferencia busca animar a los participantes a lidiar con configuraciones cambiantes de desigualdad racial y racismo en las Afro-Américas y a ocuparse con el desafío continuo de como derribar estas jerarquías. Estamos particularmente interesados en trabajos que analizan la forma en que las ideologías raciales en América Latina se convierten en la contraparte y, de hecho llegan a nutrir nociones de "post-racialidad" en los Estados Unidos.

Los temas principales de la conferencia incluyen, pero no se limitan a:

  • Movimientos sociales negros/movilización política
  • Enfoques comparativos y transnacionales sobre el racismo y la política de lucha contra el racismo
  • La producción cultural y el racismo
  • La raza y la política pública
  • La negritud y la identidad nacional

Remodelando a Negritude e Contestando o Racismo nas Americas Negras

de 20 a 22 de fevereiro de 2013
The University of Texas at Austin

Organização: Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) e John L. Warfield Center for African and African-American Studies (WCAAAS)

Chamada de trabalho

Nos últimos anos tem havido uma explosão de trabalhos acadêmicos sobre a Afro-América Latina. Tais trabalhos têm ido além da constatação da existência da discriminação racial e analisado as diferentes representações identitárias das populações negras, suas relações com o estado e suas mobilizações políticas locais e transnacionais. Nos Estados Unidos, enquanto isso, a eleição do primeiro presidente Afro-Americano levou muitos a proclamarem o fim do racism e do ativismo politico negro. O objetivo desta conferência é fomentar novos diálogos sobre o momento racial contemporâneo nas Afro-Américas. Como pesquisadores/as e ativistas podem se engajar na luta anti-racista em sistemas nos quais persistem a ideologia da democracia racial e do pós-raça?

À medida em que os governos empregam as ideologias do pós-raça ou do multiculturalismo para minar as bases dos movimentos sociais negros, surgem novas questões sobre como enfrentar as desigualdades raciais nas Américas. Assumir a categoria negritude—o que é visto como uma tática desejável e lógica contra o racismo—representa uma resposta limitada, uma vez que pode levar a debates improdutivos sobre quem é negro e como a negritude deve ser concebida em tal contexto.  Além disso, a categoria negritude acaba sendo desconectada da ação política. A conferência incentiva os participantes a se engajarem nas discussões sobre as transformações nas configurações das desigualdades raciais e do racismo nas Afro-Américas, bem como os desafios atuais para enfrentar as herarquias produzidas por tais práticas. Estamos particularmente interessados em papers que analisem as maneiras pelas quais as ideologias raciais na América Latina caminham lado-a-lado e informam as noções de “pós-racialidade” no contexto político dos Estados Unidos.

Os temas da conferências incluem, embora não sejão limitados a:

  • Movimento social negro/mobilização política
  • Perspectivas comparativas transnacionais sobre o racism e políticas anti-racistas
  • Produção cultural e racismo
  • Raça e políticas públicas
  • Negritude e identidade nacional
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