New Publication by Postdoctoral Fellow Jaira Harrington

October 8, 2015

AJC Postdoctoral Fellow in Politics and International Affairs Jaira Harrington has a new publication in the Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies Journal, a blind, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal with a focus on ethnicity, race relations and indigenous peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Her article “A Place of Their Own: Black Feminist Leadership and Economic and Educational Justice in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil” is available with a journal subscription.

Perceptions of gendered, black inferiority have a long history in Brazilian society and politics. Even when taking class into account, the forms of oppression that stifle conversations on racism and sexism – racial democracy and machismo – are often viewed as distinct in social movements that singly address race, gender, class, or sexuality. As shown in previous research, black women occupy a unique political space that illuminates the intersectional reality of all these experiences. Despite the abundant research on recent political gains for Afro-Brazilians in terms of economic and education access, there has yet to be a study that fleshes out the contributions of black feminist leadership to these specific advancements. Additionally, with the virtual absence of black women leaders’ strategies in these debates, the current research has yet to address lacunae that a black feminist approach to racial justice identifies. How do black Brazilian women leaders choose, understand, and formulate the issues that comprise their political agenda? Using 2009 qualitative interview data from São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I find that black Brazilian women’s leadership around economic access and education is motivated and characterized by their status and life experiences at the complex intersections of class inequality, racial democracy, and machismo. Their positions at these intersections not only structured past political agendas and underscore current policy gaps, but also demonstrate that a black feminist approach advances racial equality and justice for all Afro-Brazilians.

The article is available here with a journal subscription.