College of Liberal Arts

Talk Examines Politics of Ethnic Census Categories

Wednesday Apr 25, 2012 12:00 PM | Sid Richardson Hall (SRH) Hackett Room, 1.313

The Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies presents a talk by Victor Armony, Spring 2012 Canada–U.S. Fulbright Visiting Chair in Policy Studies, titled "‘What is Your Color or Race? The Politics of Ethnic Census Categories in Latin America”

The basic challenges faced by public institutions in recognizing and accommodating the identities of minority (or subaltern majority) groups are now common to most countries in the Americas. Cultural and ethnic diversity has become an important aspect of policy-making and public debate; complex issues such as immigration and naturalization reform, the application of antidiscrimination norms, the implementation and assessment of affirmative action, curriculum guidelines for education, language use and bilingualism, religious freedom and secularism, etc. require facing the question of “who are we and who are them?” This talk will focus on the ways in which several countries in Latin America seek to identify the ethnic “Other” through a very particular institutional process, the construction of census categories. To what extent does naming the “Other” in official discourse become a controversial political and legal issue?

Victor Armony, Spring 2012 Canada–U.S. Fulbright Visiting Chair in Policy Studies, is professor of sociology and director of the Observatory of the Americas at the University of Quebec at Montreal. He is the former editor in chief of the Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. His interests include Latin America, immigration, diversity, inequality and Latinos in Canada. He currently holds a 3-year grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to study the Latin American population in Canada.

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