NameWilliams, Fatimah E. (author), Ramos-Zayas, Ana Yolanda (chair), Hodgson, Dorothy L. (internal member), Goldstein, Daniel M. (internal member), Thomas, Deborah A. (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Colombia. Constitución política (1991),
Colombia—Politics and government—1974-,
DescriptionThis dissertation is an ethnographic examination of the lived experience of multicultural constitutional reform and juridical recognition among black populations in
Colombia. The Constitutional Reform of 1991 and subsequent Law 70 of 1993 – also called the Law of Black Communities – made Colombia one of the first countries in Latin America to recognize black people as a distinct cultural group and grant them rights to
collective territories, political representation, and cultural protections. However, my research reveals that Colombian blackness is enshrined in the new constitution as “black communities” (comunidades negras), an ethnic identity and political subjectivity limited to the rural Colombian Pacific region, subsistence practices, and cultural traditions.
Grounded in anthropological theory and methods, Black Bogotá compares collective and individual experiences of race in post-recognition Colombia among two distinct sets of black actors-- activists and capital city residents. Among black activists, I found that the law’s focus on ethnicity and culture neutralized urban antiracist activism as it bolstered rural, grassroots movements that could couch their claims in cultural difference, ethnic identity, and territory. These rural movements found greater traction within legal discourses on blackness, and later among transnational activist communities when they mobilized around the state’s failure to protect their legal rights. Meanwhile, my interviews and participant observation with black residents of Bogotá reveal that they creatively conceptualize black identity, citizenship, and race from their positions as professionals, partners in interracial
relationships, internal migrants to the capital, and parents rearing black children in a predominately Euro-Andean city, with much resistance to grassroots movement and legal constructions of Colombian blackness and black social issues. This project explores blackness as a cultural and a legal phenomenon, showing how race operates in daily
social life outside of sites of predominately black populations, at the margins of state politics and law, and in conjunction with global discourses of rights and black identity. This research contributes to Latin American scholarship on race, ethnographic studies of
transnational activism, and recent anthropological debates on the extent to which law can address social difference and inequality.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Fatimah E. Williams
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.