University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

The Persistence of Myth: Brazil's Undead Racial Democracy

Monday, October 14, 2019
12:20pm – 1:50pm

Storrs Campus
4th Floor Babbidge Library

This talk addresses a recurrent tension in the literature on race and racism in Brazil. On the one hand, we find the so-called myth of racial democracy presented as the dominant racial ideology in Brazil, obscuring enduring racial inequality and thwarting the development of a racial justice mass-movement. On the other hand, we find periodic announcements that the myth of racial democracy has definitively died. Accordingly, I theorize the myth of racial democracy as a paradoxically undead myth and ask what it is about the form of this peculiar myth that allows it to survive its own repeated death. I show how the celebration of racial mixture, or mestiçagem, functions as a mythological signifier of racial democracy that operates beneath and beyond the level of conscious thought, activating powerful affects and desires even in those who “know” better.

Please contact Fred Lee with any questions

Sponsored by El Instituto, Philosophy, Africana Studies, Political Science, Political Theory Workshop, UConn Humanities Institute, Office for the Vice President for Research


Prof. Fred Lee (

Political Science (primary), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, el Instituto, Humanities Institute, Philosophy Department, UConn Master Calendar

Control Panel