On colour blindness and Latin American politics: perceptions of race and ethnicity among visually impaired people in Chile y Venezuela

26 October, 2017

A seminar by: Luis  Angosto-Ferrández  (University of Sydney)

The exponential increase of research revolving around race and ethnicity is far from translating into a consensus on the way these concepts can be defined – or even on the appropriateness of their use as analytical tools. Yet ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ continue to be used as analytical categories to discuss and intervene in a variety of social issues ranging from discrimination to differentiated rights. The ideological premises that orient these discussions most often reproduce the assumption that social identity markers are visible and primarily related to phenotypical characteristics. The discursive appeal of the ‘colour blind’ metaphor that so impetuously influenced normative debates theorising non-discriminatory societies and institutions precisely rests on the widespread conception that race categorisation (and racism by extension) ultimately stem from people’s visible characteristics. This premise constrains the analysis of racism by overlooking its constitutive social processes, yet it continues to hold sway among researchers, policy makers and wider public. Against that background, in this paper I discuss findings of my field research on perceptions of race and ethnicity among visually impaired people in Chile and Venezuela, two countries with quite distinct class and ethnic formations.
About the speaker:
Luis Fernando Angosto-Ferrández is a lecturer in the departments of Anthropology and Latin American Studies. He has extensive fieldwork experience in Latin America and Spain and has lived, worked and researched in Venezuela for nearly a decade. In addition to his scholarly work, he is a contributor to various public media outlets.

 (For more seminars jointly organised with the Department of Anthropology, please click here.)

Location: Seminar Room 148, R. C. Mills Building, Level 1, A26

Contact:Dr Fernanda Penaloza