Online Roundtable–Reighan Gillam’s ‘Visualizing Black Lives’

April 3–7, 2023

Black Perspectivesthe award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), is hosting a roundtable on Reighan Gillam’s Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media (University of Illinois Press, 2022). The roundtable begins on Monday, April 3, 2023 and concludes on Friday, April 7, 2023. It will feature pieces from Gladys Mithcell-Walthour (North Carolina Central University), Andrea Allen (University of Toronto), Jasmine Mitchell (State University of New York-Old Westbury), and Watufani Poe (University of Pittsburgh). At the conclusion of the roundtable, the author Reighan Gillam (University of Southern California) will respond.

During the week of the online roundtable, Black Perspectives will publish new blog posts every day at 5:30AM EST. Please follow Black Perspectives (@BlkPerspectives) and AAIHS (@AAIHS) on Twitter, like AAIHS on Facebook, or subscribe to our blog for updates. By subscribing to Black Perspectives, each new post will automatically be delivered to your inbox during the week of the roundtable.

About the Author

Reighan Gillam, Ph. D. is an ethnographer of Black visual culture. She is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California. Her research examines media at the intersection of racial ideologies, anti-racism, and protest. Specifically, she focuses on the ways that Afro-Brazilian media producers create images that render Black subjects and their experiences in complex ways. Her first book, Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media was published by the University of Illinois Press. Gillam’s next research project takes a transnational approach to the study of Black politics and culture. Her second book, entitled Diasporic Agency: Transnational Racial Leverage and Challenges to Exceptionalism examines how Afro-Brazilians engage African American people, culture, and performance. Gillam served as the Peggy Rockefeller Fellow at Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation. She was elected to the Executive Committee of the Brazilian Studies Association.

About the Participants

Gladys Mitchell-Walthour, PhD is Dan Blue Endowed Chair of Political Science, North Carolina Central University. Dr. Mitchell-Walthour studies racial politics in Brazil, affirmative action, and the intersection of social welfare, race, and gender. Her research has found that a sense of Black group identity has a positive relationship with voting for Black politicians and supporting affirmative action. Her current book, “The Politics of Survival: The Political Opinions of Social Welfare Beneficiaries in Brazil and the USA”’ will be published by Columbia University Press in 2023. She finds that Black women social welfare beneficiaries engage in a politics of survival by supplementing their benefits through informal labor to sustain their families and that they resist various forms of discrimination including racial, gender, and class discrimination. She is the author of “The Politics of Blackness” (2018, Cambridge University Press). She co-edited the Volume “ Knowledge Production (2016, Palgrave MacMillan) with Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman. She also co-edited the volume “Brazil’s New Racial Politics” with Bernd Reiter (2010, Lynne Rienner Press). Mitchell-Walthour is the past president of the Brazil Studies Association (2018-2020) and has been the National Co-coordinator of the US Network for Democracy in Brazil since 2019. She is a Board Member of the Washington Brazil Office. She is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships including the Fulbright (2022), postdoctoral fellowships at Duke University and Johns Hopkins University, and was a Lemann Visiting Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University (2014). She holds the PhD in political science from the University of Chicago, an MPP from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and a BA from Duke University. Twitter: ProfaGladys

Andrea S. Allen is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto. She received her Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University. Her book Violence and Desire in Brazilian Lesbian Relationships (Palgrave Macmillan 2015), highlights the experiences of lesbian women in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, with sexual desire, infidelity, and intimate-partner violence. Overall, Allen’s research has addressed matters of race, sexuality, gender, violence, and religion in Brazil and the African Diaspora. Through a focus on LGBTQ Brazilians, especially Afro-Brazilian lesbian women, Allen’s work explores the effects of marginalization from an embodied perspective. In interrogating the everyday, her research prioritizes lived experiences as an essential locus of inquiry when contemplating the contradictions and dissonances of human existence. Allen’s current research project examines the experiences of LGBTQ Brazilian evangelicals in São Paulo and Lisbon.

Dr. Jasmine Mitchell is Associate Professor of American Studies and Media Studies and Communication at the State University of New York-Old Westbury. Her book, Imagining the Mulatta: Managing Blackness in US and Brazilian Media (2020) examines contemporary media representations of mixed Black women in the US and Brazil. Her recent work on mixed Blackness, gender, and massmedia include “The Ride of the Valkyrie Against White Supremacy: Tessa Thompson’s Casting in Thor: Ragnarok” in Mixed-Race Superheroes (Rutgers University Press 2021) and the journal articles, “Deployments of Multiracial Masculinity and Anti-Black Violence: The Racial Framings of Barack Obama, George Zimmerman, and Daunte Wright ” in Social Sciences 11 (2022) and “Back to Race, Not Beyond Race: Multiraciality and Racial identity in the United States and Brazil” in Comparative Migration Studies 10 (2022), and “Spectacles of Multiculturalism: Brazilian National identity, FIFA, and Hegemonies of Whiteness at the 2014 World Cup ceremonies” in Sport in Society (2022). She has written op-ed on the relevance of Brazilian racial politics for the U.S. in Newsweek and The Hill.

Watufani M. Poe (he/him) is an Assistant Professor of Language, Literacy, and Culture in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading at the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his PhD in Africana Studies from Brown University in May of 2021, his master’s in history and Africana Studies in 2018 from Brown, and his B.A. in Black Studies from Swarthmore College in 2013. Before joining the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, he served as a Center for Humanistic Inquiry Postdoctoral Fellow at Amherst College from 2021-2022, placed in the Department of Black Studies and the Program in Latinx and Latin American Studies. His manuscript project, “Resisting Fragmentation: The Embodied Politics of Black Queer Worldmaking” is an ethnohistoric analysis of Black LGBTQ+ social and political activism in Brazil and the United States to outline the ways Black LGBTQ people push for freedom across various social and political movement spaces.

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