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Horizontes Antropológicos

versão impressa ISSN 0104-7183versão On-line ISSN 1806-9983


MAIO, Marcos Chor  e  SANTOS, Ricardo Ventura. Política de cotas raciais, os "olhos da sociedade" e os usos da antropologia: o caso do vestibular da Universidade de Brasília (UnB). Horiz. antropol. [online]. 2005, vol.11, n.23, pp.181-214. ISSN 0104-7183.

The University of Brasilia (UnB) was the first Brazilian federal university to adopt racial quotas as part of its admission procedures, reserving 20% of places in all courses for "black" students. The system came into effect in the second semester of 2004. The university's initiative generated intense debate not only in the academic community but throughout Brazilian society, in particular because the means adopted to decide eligibility under the program was to set up a commission that determined the racial identity of candidates by analyzing their photographs. The university bureaucracy, allied with the black movement, chose this method to deal with a sensitive socio-political issue. The aim was to privilege black Brazilians in order to remedy historical injustices, and at the same time eliminate potential "racial cheaters," by setting supposedly objective parameters. The application of these criteria, influenced by a kind of racial-anatomical psychology, led to a period of wide spread scientific and political dispute, especially because the criteria themselves were highly controversial. A particularly significant aspect of the University of Brasilia case is that it requires us to think about the uses and abuses of anthropology, since on a technical level the practice of anthropology was invoked as "racial expertise." Our purpose in this paper is to reflect on the context of this case, which, although specific, points to the wider involvement (and to the uses) of anthropology in the dynamics of contemporary political and social processes.

Palavras-chave : Anthropology; Brazil; higher education; racial quota system.

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