Coordinated by Prof. Florence Babb (UNC-CH, Anthropology, firstname.lastname@example.org), Prof. Altha Cravey (UNC-CH, Geography, email@example.com), Prof. Jocelyn Olcott (Duke, History, firstname.lastname@example.org), Molly Green (UNC-CH, Anthropology, email@example.com), Angus Lyall (UNC-CH, Geography, firstname.lastname@example.org), Gray Kidd (Duke, History, email@example.com).
The Latin American and Caribbean region continues to be characterized by durable inequalities even as a number of nations have seen overall improvement in economic growth and political stability in recent years. Even the more progressive initiatives of a handful of governments, a host of social movements, and new political and cultural openings have not generally served to overcome historical legacies that have resulted in entrenched poverty, social injustice, exclusionary practices, and precarity for the majority. Among scholars addressing inequality and exclusionary practices it has long been axiomatic to recognize intersecting forms of difference and inequality. Nonetheless, scholars frequently continue to focus on just one dimension of difference, whether it is social class, race, gender, or sexuality. We contend that renewed attention needs to be directed to the particular ways these dimensions of difference intersect and commingle in Latin American contexts if we are to better understand some of the most persistent forms of inequality in the region. At the same time, we identify a need to recognize the more positive terms of engagement by race, gender, sexuality and social class and subaltern sectors’ forms of cultural and political expression. A group of us with overlapping interests in the experiences of diverse sectors in Latin American and Caribbean societies, notably including indigenous and Afrodescendant peoples, launched a working group on the UNC-CH and Duke University campuses in 2015-2016.