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Luisa Farah Schwartzman

Associate Professor in Sociology, University of Toronto

I am an associate professor at the Sociology department at the University of Toronto. I grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I did my bachelor's degree in economics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, after which I moved to the US for my graduate studies, and subsequently to Canada, where I live and work now. I have a Masters degree in Latin American Studies from Stanford University and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My research is about how ideas and categories related to race and ethnicity and other categories of difference (social class, gender, etc) influence how individuals, institutions and societies do things that exacerbate or diminish inequality. While much of my work is focused on Brazil, I have studied other national contexts as well. One line of my research is about how ideas about race and ethnicity operate in the context of efforts by governments and other institutions to track racial and ethnic inequality and to promote diversity and multiculturalist policies. A second line of research is about how to use statistics on racial and ethnic inequality without abandoning the idea that race is a social construction. A third line of research is about the relationship between race, ethnicity and the construction of nation-states (as political and imagined communities) in the Americas. I teach courses in sociology and criminology, on topics related to race/racism, inequality, violence, and the politics of drugs, where I take a transnational and global perspective.


  • 2017–present
    Associate Professor, University of Toronto
  • 2009–2017
    Assistant Professor, University of Toronto


  • 2009 
    University of Wisconsin Madison, PhD in Sociology
  • 2000 
    Stanford University , MA in Latin American Studies
  • 1999 
    Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, BA in Economics


  • 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
  • 2020
    Colour violence, deadly geographies, and the meanings of 'race' in Brazil., Ethnic and Racial Studies
  • 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
  • 2016
    Not Just Racial Quotas: Affirmative Action in Brazilian Higher Education 10 Years Later (with Angela Paiva), British Journal of Sociology of Education
  • 2015
    From Statistical Category to Social Category: Organized Politics and Official Categorizations of ‘Persons with a Migration Background’ in Germany (with Jennifer Elrick), Ethnic and Racial Studies
  • 2015
    From Multi-Racial Subjects to Multi-Cultural Citizens: Social Stratification and Ethnoracial Classification among Children of Immigrants in the United Kingdom (with Christel Kesler), International Migration Review
  • 2012
    Unexpected Narratives from Multicultural Policies: Translations of Affirmative Action in Brazil (with Graziella Moraes Silva), Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies
  • 2009
    Seeing Like Citizens: Unofficial Understandings of Official Racial Categories in a Brazilian University, Journal of Latin American Studies
  • 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
  • 2007
    Does Money Whiten? Intergenerational Changes in Racial Classification in Brazil, American Sociological Review