The research project POLITICS

The research project POLITICS | The politics of anti-racism in Europe and Latin America: knowledge production, decision-making and collective struggles will start in September 2017, coordinated by Silvia Rodríguez Maeso, at the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra, Portugal. It is funded by the European Research Council (Grant CoG-725402) and will be developed for 5 years (2017-2021).


The main objective of POLITICS is to innovate knowledge on anti-racism that brings about a greater understanding of how historically rooted injustices are being challenged by institutions and grassroots movements. Considering the centrality and mutual influence of Europe and Latin America in the global processes of racial formation, POLITICS will develop an interdisciplinary and comprehensive approach towards two core goals: (a) the analysis of processes of knowledge production about ‘race’ and (anti-)racism in the spheres of (inter)national governmental politics, State universities and grassroots movements; (b) the examination of diverse paths of denunciation and collective mobilisation against everyday racism concerning police practice and representations in the mass media.

POLITICS embraces a multilevel analysis and information-oriented selection of case-studies in three interrelated research streams: (i) Global, regional and state-sponsored political frameworks and public policies; (ii) Cultures of scholarship and the study of racism and (post)colonialism at State universities; (iii) Tackling everyday racism: processes of denunciation, political mobilisation and case-law concerning police practice, and racist representations in the mass media. The research challenges the shortcomings of evaluative comparisons and the selection of research contexts enables interrogating the relations between the global, national and local levels. They include the Organisation of American States, the European Union and national and local politics in Brazil, Peru, Portugal and Spain. Qualitative research and data collection engage with race critical theories, critical discourse analysis, decolonial analytics, and participatory methods that consider power/knowledge at their core.

POLITICS will bring about a multi-level and relational approach to ‘racial regionalisations’, providing a critical account of the relations and connections between processes of knowledge production about the constitutive role of race and racism in contemporary power relations and political structures in European and Latin American contexts. Case-studies will enable an understanding of the political force of different approaches to anti-racism, their relation to competing interpretations of historical processes and how they shape specific political and legal initiatives. Participatory methods will result in foregrounding conflictive views, consensuses and specific policy proposals at regional, national and local level.

POLITICS aims to contribute to shed light on the political context where different understandings of anti-racism emerge and their effect on the success of collective struggles. The project will invest in policy debates and outreach publications and resources that bring about specific proposals for policy change, foregrounding the views of grassroots organisations.

More specifically, the project aims to have impact on three key areas in the fight against inequality and discrimination:

  1. a) Curriculum change and innovation in higher education: analysis and discussions with lecturers, researchers, students and grassroots organisations will identify structural aspects of the curricula and the reading materials that need to be changed or improved in order to provide a more critical understanding of race and racism. Reflection on teaching and learning experiences will impact towards positive change concerning the debate of controversial and sensitive issues.
  2. b) Racist policing and criminalisation: research will propose specific measures for changing everyday practices of policing and racial profiling, building on the experiences and political struggles of grassroots associations. Research will impact on the evaluation of existing legal frameworks and its understanding of the notion of institutional racism.
  3. c) Media representations: the study will increase awareness of the everyday circulation and consumption of racist discourse in the media and on the effects of racist representation and speech. Debates will inform on specific changes regarding the accountability of public and private media and the existing civil and penal legislation (e.g. hate speech).

The project’s commitment to training young researchers through the completion of PhD degrees will impact early career development in the study of racism, decolonial thought and race critical theories. This area is still marginal at the European universities and in particular in Portugal

POLITICS will unravel the configuration of different notions of dignity, justice and equality resulting from anti-racist struggles and policy interventions and their significance for envisaging decolonial horizons.

How to contact you?

Silvia Rodríguez Maeso

Colégio de S. Jerónimo
Largo D. Dinis
Apartado 3087
3000-995 Coimbra, Portugal



Decolonial International Network