Luisa Farah Schwartzman

Luisa Farah Schwartzman (On Leave)

Associate Professor
  • Room:
  • Mailing Address:

    3359 Mississauga Road
    Mississauga ON L5L 1C6

Luisa Farah Schwartzman’s previous work investigates how classification and meaning-making around race, ethnicity and other social categories (class, nationhood, etc.) are implicated in the reproduction of inequality, and in efforts by researchers and contemporary government institutions to track and address the inequalities that have arisen from earlier, and ongoing, exclusionary use of such categories.  While much of her work is focused on Brazil, she and her collaborators have also studied other national contexts as well. Some of her prior research examined how race-based affirmative action in universities worked in Brazil, which is a context where the boundaries between “black” and “white” are relatively blurred, and where class identities are often more salient than racial ones. In another line of research, she worked to incorporate the idea of race as a socially constructed and relational concept into quantitative research about racial inequality.  She has also written about the relationship between race, ethnicity and the construction of national identity in Brazil and Canada.

In her more recent and ongoing work, she has become interested with interrogating the category of "the state" in its relationship to inequality, colonialism and racism.  In other words, how do we study territorial control, management of populations, political power, punishment, the law and the regulation of individuals' behavior in a world with multiple and overlapping jurisdictions, where "state-like" functions are performed by multiple actors, where public-private distinctions are blurred, and where the law itself and its application are contested?  Here, she and her collaborators are looking at problems such as (1) the historical emergence of colonial and Euro-dominated states and social structures around the Atlantic, in the context of pre-existing Indigenous, African and Afro-diasporic political and social institutions; (2) the contested definition of Haitian migrants as "refugees" as they move through different countries in the Americas; and (3) how social actors in Brazil mobilize law-making and law enforcement to resolve conflicts around social justice.

Ph.D. (Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
M.A. (Latin American Studies, Stanford University)
B.A. (Economics, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)


Balaguera, Martha, Luisa Farah Schwartzman and Luis van Isschot. 2023. “Racial Frontiers: Hemispheric Logics of Haitians’ Displacement and Asylum in the Americas.” Antipode 

Farah Schwartzman, Luisa. 2021. "Canadian Multiculturalism and Brazilian Racial Democracy in Two Newspapers: (Post-?) Colonial Entanglements of Race, Ethnicity, Nationhood, and Culture.” Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies.

Farah Schwartzman, Luisa. 2021. "Seeing African and Indigenous States and Societies: Decolonizing and De-grouping Race Scholarships’ Narratives of Conquest and Enslavement in the Early Modern Atlantic World." Political Power and Social Theory, 38(133-158).

Farah Schwartzman, Luisa. 2020. “Color Violence, Deadly Geographies, and the Meanings of 'Race' in Brazil." Ethnic and Racial Studies 43(6):950-975.

Farah Schwartzman, Luisa. 2018. "The Integration of the White Into the Community of Color, or How the Europeans Became Brazilian in the Twentieth Century." TRANSMODERNITY: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World 8(2):33-54.

Farah Schwartzman, Luisa and Angela Randolpho Paiva. 2016. "Not Just Racial Quotas: Affirmative Action in Brazilian Higher Education 10 Years Later." British Journal of Sociology of Education 37(4):548-566.

Kesler, Christel and Luisa Farah Schwartzman. 2015. "From Multi-Racial Subjects to Multi-Cultural Citizens: Social Stratification and Ethnoracial Classification Among Children of Immigrants in the United Kingdom." International Migration Review 49(3):790–836.

Elrick, Jennifer and Luisa Farah Schwartzman. 2015. "From Statistical Category to Social Category: Organized Politics and Official Categorizations of ‘Persons With a Migration Background’ in Germany." Ethnic and Racial Studies 38(9):1539-1556.

Farah Schwartzman, Luisa and Graziella Moraes D. Silva. 2012. "Unexpected Narratives from Multicultural Policies: Translations of Affirmative Action in Brazil." Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 7(1):31-48.

Farah Schwartzman, Luisa. 2009. “Seeing Like Citizens: Unofficial Understandings of Official Racial Categories in a Brazilian University.” Journal of Latin American Studies 41(2):221-250.

Farah Schwartzman, Luisa. 2008. “Who are the Blacks? The Question of Racial Classification in Brazilian Affirmative Action Policies in Higher Education.” Cahiers de la Recherche sur l'Éducation et les Savoirs 7(27-47). 

Farah Schwartzman, Luisa. 2007. “Does Money Whiten? Intergenerational Changes in Racial Classification in Brazil.” American Sociological Review 72(6):940-963.



Race and racism; transnational sociology; historical sociology; Latin America
Current Courses
SOC327H5, SOC421H5