De Micheli, David: Travel Grant - 2017-2018

College of Arts and Sciences
Project Title: 
Racial Change, Education Reform, and Political Identity Formation in Brazil
Project Abstract: 
Brazil has long been known for fluid racial boundaries and myths of racial harmony, yet despite this Brazilians of ambiguous classification have long self-classified in lighter racial categories when possible. Since the early 2000s, however, this trend has reversed itself, with Brazilians increasingly self-classifying as members of nonwhite racial groups. This dissertation leverages longitudinal and subnational variation in shifting patterns of racial identification to understand why Brazilians increasingly identify as nonwhite. Drawing on fieldwork in two Brazilian cities, I argue that these trends are driven by federal reforms in the domain of education. These reforms have expanded access to and the quality of public education, incorporating marginal sectors of the population into functional society, granting many access to information for the first time, and exposing them to the extent of racialized inequalities in society. I will use this grant to travel to Brazil in 2018 and finalize plans for an original quantitative survey that will test this argument.