My interests centre on race and ethnicity in Latin America, with particular reference to black populations. I have done several spells of fieldwork in Colombia, looking at processes of racial discrimination, black cultural identities, and the black social movement and constitutional reform. I have also traced the social history of Colombian popular music in the twentieth century and its connections with ideas about nation and race.
My current project is on race, genomics and mestizaje in Latin America and I have written three recent books: Mestizo Genomics, Race and Sex in Latin America, and Race and Ethnicity in Latin America (2nd edition).
I have also worked on themes of race and sexuality in Latin America. In 2006-7, I held a British Academy award which supported bi-lateral international seminars between Colombia (specifically, the Universidad del Valle) and the UK (Manchester) which focused on this theme (and also involved Brazilian scholars). An edited volume arising from these seminars was published in Colombia in 2008 (see Publications) and in 2009 I published a book on Race and Sex in Latin America (Pluto Press).
A third area of interest has been the construction of nature, biology, genetics and culture in ideas about race (see my book on Race, Nature and Culture: An Anthropological Perspective,2002). This was reflected in my participation in a large-scale project on the Public Understanding of Genetics (PUG), funded by the EU and involving seven research teams in different European countries, which led to an edited volume on Race, Ethnicity and Nation: Perspectives from Kinship and Genetics (2007).