Yes, in Part: Expectations of Blackness in Multicultural Mexico


ACLS Fellowship Program


African and African-American Studies

Named Award

ACLS/Marwan M. and Ute Kraidy Centennial Fellowship in the Study of the Arab World and Latin America named award


"Yes, in Part: Expectations of Blackness in Multicultural Mexico" is an ethnographic exploration of how locals in the city of Veracruz, have responded to the expectation that they are avatars of Mexico’s Blackness. Based on fieldwork conducted between 2012 and 2016, it returns to the years immediately preceding the political recognition of Afro-Mexicans to recapture the alternative racial reckonings that had flourished in the absence of such a possibility. It follows “jarocho publics,” which is to say self-selecting communities of people where members learn, perfect, perform, and reflect on cultural practices and norms associated with their regional identity known as "jarocho". Through tracing how individuals construct an understanding of Blackness as a collectively shared regional quality rather than a racialized identity, this work argues that self-identification as Black is but one of many ways to identify with one’s Blackness. "Yes, in Part" invites the reader to take in how people in Veracruz have taken up their expected Blackness, working it over in their hands, in their feet, in their affect. It challenges people to look beyond who is Black and imagine what Blackness can do and has done beyond political identification.