CURA: "'Paradise for the Undocumented'? Race, Gender, and the Politics of Humanitarianism in Brazil"

  • Starts: 12:00 pm on Friday, January 28, 2022
  • Ends: 1:30 pm on Friday, January 28, 2022
CURA Colloquium with Gana Ndiaye, PhD Candidate, Anthropology There were 7,206 Senegalese seeking asylum in Brazil in 2015. Of these, 3,486 applications had been processed by August 2021, and only 8 applicants had been granted refugee status, according to Brazil’s National Refugee Committee and the UNHCU/ACNUR. How did such asylum applicants make their way to Brazil? How does one explain the significant contrast between the number of applicants and those officially deemed worthy of refugee status? Based on twenty-one months of ethnographic and archival research and drawing on Critical Refugee Studies, this paper shows how these Senegalese navigate the complexities of the Brazilian immigration and asylum regimes and interact with the set of federal institutions and civil society organizations on which Brazil relies to manage human mobilities into its territory. I argue that Brazil’s decentralized asylum regime creates opportunities for applicants to easily access humanitarian assistance. However, the nature of the processes opens the door to abuse. Moreover, encounters between asylum seekers and the various actors of the migration industry (law enforcement officers, social workers, NGO workers, researchers) and subsequent negotiations of worthiness of refugee status lead to the reinforcement of racial and gender stereotypes associated with Africa and Africans even when intentions are to assist the undocumented. Co-sponsored with the School of Theology *Reading the paper in advance of the session is required. Email arleneb@bu.edu for your copy.
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Meeting ID: 978 5810 4239 Passcode: 599536
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