Antonio José Bacelar da Silva

Assistant Professor, Brazil Studies and Linguistic Anthropology

Antonio José Bacelar da Silva’s primary research revolves around language, race, and antiracism. He earned his Ph.D. in Linguistic and Sociocultural Anthropology from the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona in December 2012. He also holds an MA in Second Language Studies from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

He has studied several aspects of Afro-Brazilian antiracist socialization and antiracist activism, including: the construction of racial consciousness among Brazilian blacks and pardos (brown, mixed race); the impact of electoral campaigning with a race appeal on Afro-Brazilian voters; public policies on affirmative action; and the challenges of identification in racial quotas for Brazilian black people. His new book “Between Black and Brown: Antiracism activism among Afro-Brazilians” (Rutgers University Press, 2022) offers a fresh look into Afro-Brazilians’ racial positionality between brown and black in the era of affirmative action measures that aim to promote racial equality. Silva argues that Afro-Brazilian activists’ continued exploration of blackness confronts anti-blackness while complicating understandings of what it means to be black. This book raises complex questions about current black struggles in Brazil, including the black movement’s political initiatives and antiracist agenda.

Another major interest is in language ideology. He has been studying, for instance, the construction of social difference through language-based humor and language privilege as a weapon of political warfare.

His teaching and research interests also include social theory, qualitative research methods, language and culture, identity (race, gender, class), language ideology and inequality.