Professor of Sociology

Vânia Penha-Lopes, Ph.D.

As young as five years of age, I would answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” as “A scientist, an English teacher, and a writer.” I don’t know where my prescience came from, but I am indeed all three. As a sociologist and anthropologist, I am a social scientist; I am trained as a teacher of English as a foreign language; and I started writing poems when I was eight years old.

 

At age 14, I decided to become an academic when I learned I could be paid to read and write. Before that, when I was about 11 years old, my mother planted in my head the idea of going to the U.S. for graduate work, after I had become proficient in English. She was keen on our getting a great education. She enrolled my sister and me in English lessons when we were pre-teens. When I was about 19 years old, I learned of a contest for a scholarship for study abroad, sponsored by the Encyclopaedia Britannica do Brasil; I was the youngest contestant among the winners. After I graduated with honors from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, I moved to New York City to enroll in a master’s program in anthropology. By the time I got to the U.S., I had won awards as the best student in all of the City of Rio de Janeiro at the English school we went to.

My Books

 

"Using affirmative action to decrease racial inequality is the latest chapter of a long tradition of comparing Brazil and the United States with regard to race. Confronting Affirmative Action in Brazil: University Quota Students and the Quest for Racial Justice is timely for both countries as they struggle with racial justice in higher education.

 

This book responds to the United States’ dismantling of affirmative action programs and a belief that they have run their course. Data show that, while affirmative action policies have contributed to a significant increase in the representation of non-Whites in the U.S. middle class, other segments of the population have yet to take full advantage of such policies. In Brazil, this book engaged with the need to understand the first results of a public policy expected to promote major social change, as it represents the first time that country admitted the existence of racial inequality in its core and took measures toward combating it despite any subsequent controversy or dissent."

Praise for the book

G. Reginald Daniel,

University of California

"The Vision of a More Perfect Multiracial Union " Confronting Affirmative Action in Brazil is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding how race is constructed and experienced in Brazil and how endemic racism is currently being challenged"

James N. Green, Brown University 

Vânia Penha-Lopes's book is a path-breaking analysis of contemporary affirmative action programs in Brazilian universities. Written in a clear, accessible style, Dr. Penha-Lopes focuses on a recent cohort of graduates of one of these programs. She analyzes these students' lived experiences as well as their attitudes towards the programs and concludes that, contrary to the expectations of some of the program's detractors, these " quota students, " for the most part, have done as well academically as their non-quota peers. 

Maxine L. Margolis,

University of Florida

 University Quota Students and the Quest for Racial Justice is timely for both countries as they struggle with racial justice in higher education. This book responds to the United States' dismantling of affirmative action programs and a belief that they have run their course. Data show that, while affirmative action policies have contributed to a significant increase in the representation of non-Whites in the U.S. middle class, other segments of the population have yet to take full advantage of such policies. In Brazil, this book engaged with the need to understand the first results of a public policy expected to promote major social change, as it represents the first time that country admitted the existence of racial inequality in its core and took measures toward combating it despite any subsequent controversy or dissent.

American Journal of Sociology

“Vânia Penha-Lopes uses original interview material, administrative university data, and a wide range of academic research and media sources to provide a detailed picture of what affirmative action looks like in Brazil, the meanings it acquires to different localactors, and the consequences of the policies to the policy’s beneficiaries, the quotistas. The most interesting material. . . offers a window into how these students understand and experience race, racism, and affirmative action. Also valuable are the book’s use of administrative data to highlight quota students’ performance at UERJ and its review of Brazilian research on quota students’ performance in Brazilian universities more broadly, organized and made accessible to an English speaking audience here for the first time.”

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Book Confronting Affirmative Action in Brazil

by Vânia Penha-Lopes

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Until 7/31/2020.

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"O novo e revolucionário programa de ação afirmativa do Brasil, que visa a integrar os afrodescendentes em suas universidades públicas, é brilhantemente analisado pela autora. Inserindo o programa no contexto da sociedade brasileira contemporânea e da desacreditada ideologia da democracia racial, a dra. Penha-Lopes analisa os papéis da raça e das classes nos argumentos controversos sobre as causas da desigualdade social e econômica daquela nação. Convencida de que as verdadeiras experiências de v ida dos estudantes cotistas estavam sendo ignoradas nos acirrados debates sobre as políticas de ação afirmativa, ela pesquisa as consequências desses programas para os próprios primeiros universitários cotistas.

 

Ela quer saber as opiniões desses estudantes sobre seus anos na universidade, como eles lidaram com aqueles que pensavam que eles não tinham o direito de frequentá-la e, mais importante, o quanto a ação afirmativa levou à expansão de oportunidades para ascensão social. Em prosa clara e a cessível, a dra. Penha-Lopes convincentemente demonstra a importância dessas políticas e as lições que elas nos deixam."

Free Papers 

 

"Work, Love, and the Family Involvement of African American Men.”

"Where the Heart Is: Family, Work, and my Binational Life as a Black Brazilian Scholar."

"To Cook, Sew, to Be a Man: The Socialization for Competence and Black Men's Involvement in Housework."

"African Americans and Latinos in the Twenty-First Century: Points of Unity, Points of Discord."

"Race and Ethnic Identity Formation in Brazil and. the United States: Three Case Studies"

Vânia Book Review - Copy

"With a Foot in Each World: The 1.5 Generation in the United States"

"Artigo no Tomo de 2008 sobre Pais Negros"

Speeches

 

ANTES DE 2020 ACABAR...

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    Copyright © Vânia Penha-Lopes 2020. By Uyara Azevedo