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Queen's University

Alexandre Da Costa

PhD (Development Sociology) Cornell

phone: 613-533-6568
fax: 613-533-2986




Research Interests:

Comparative Race and Ethnicity; Racial Ideologies; Race and Ethnicity within Development Histories and Processes; Knowledge, Power, and Politics; Coloniality/Decoloniality; Cultural Politics; Multiculturalisms in the Americas; Education; Brazil, Latin America, and Canada; Social Movements

My research and teaching bring together the sociology of race and ethnicity, the sociology of development, cultural studies, and a focus on the African Diaspora to treat ‘race’ as a world historical category deeply constitutive of the political-economic, epistemological, and cultural processes underlying capitalist development. I examine the ways in which race and development intersect to shape particular racial formations on the one hand, and the forms of politics that challenge structural racisms and racialized power on the other.

My book, Reimagining Black Difference and Politics in Brazil: From Racial Democracy to Multiculturalism (forthcoming, Palgrave Macmillan), analyzes predicaments faced by Black Brazilian efforts to address racism and racial inequality in a time of increasing institutionalization of ethno-racial policies and black participation in policy orchestration. Increased public debate and policy attention around racial inequality suggest the attenuation of racial democracy and positive miscegenation as hegemonic ideologies of the Brazilian nation-state. However, the colorblind and post-racial logics of mixture and racial democracy, especially the denial and/or minimization of racism as a problem, maintain a strong grip on public thinking, social action, and institutional practices. Through a focus on the epistemic dimensions of black struggles and the anti-racist pluricultural efforts put into action by activists, scholars, and organizations over the past decade, the book analyzes the ways in which these politics negotiate as well as seek to go beyond the delimited understandings of racial difference, belonging, and citizenship that shape the contemporary politics of inclusion.

I have two current research projects. The first focuses on cultural, racial, and material questions surrounding multicultural education policies in Brazil and Canada, especially when it comes to curriculum reforms and alternative schooling proposals emerging from Afro-descendant communities. The second project focuses on post-racial ideologies in a comparative frame within the Americas. I seek to develop a relational framework to examine the similarities and differences among diverse discourses, institutions, and practices that simultaneously mobilize ideas about racial progress and deny the continued significance of racism and coloniality as contemporary issues. Overall, work research and writing aim to contribute to new understandings within contemporary theory of how difference shapes being, becoming, citizenship, and development.


Other Appointments:

Term Adjunct
Cultural Studies


DEVS 495/805: Race and Development

CUST 803:  Cultural Studies Historiography

Selected Publications:

Single-Authored Books

Reimagining Black Difference and Politics in Brazil: From Racial Democracy to Multiculturalism.  New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan (forthcoming).


Da Costa, Alexandre Emboaba. (forthcoming). “Confounding Anti-racism: Mixture, Racial Democracy, and Post-racial Politics in Brazil.” Critical Sociology.

Da Costa, Alexandre Emboaba. 2010. “Afro-Brazilian Ancestralidade: Critical Perspectives on Knowledge and Development.” Third World Quarterly. Special issue: Relocating Culture in Development and Development in Culture. 31 (4): 655 – 674.

Da Costa, Alexandre Emboaba. 2010. “Anti-Racism in Movement: Contesting Coloniality through Afro-Brazilian Afoxé.” Journal of Historical Sociology. 23 (3): 372–397.   

Book Chapters

Da Costa, Alexandre Emboaba. (forthcoming) “Da miscigenacão ao pluriculturalismo: questões em torno da ideologia pós-racial e a política da diferençaa no Brasil” in Minorias, César Augusto Baldi (ed). São Paulo: Saraiva.

Da Costa, Alexandre Emboaba. 2010. “Decolonizing Knowledge: Education, Inclusion, and the Afro-Brazilian Anti-racist Struggle.” Pp. 199-214 in Contesting Development: Critical Struggles for Justice and Social Change, Philip McMichael (ed.). New York: Routledge.


Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000