Vânia Penha-Lopes, "The Presidential Elections of Trump and Bolsonaro, Whiteness, and the Nation" (Lexington Books, 2021)


The Presidential Elections of Trump and Bolsonaro, Whiteness, and the Nation (Lexington Books, 2021) is a sociological analysis of the similarities between the elections of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, based on biographies, academic sources, newspaper, television, and internet reports published in the United States and Brazil between 2014 and 2021. The author argues that the success of each candidate reflects the racially hierarchical structure of their societies and the strength of the ideology of White supremacy to maintain that structure despite efforts to dismantle it. Regardless of class and gender, Whites responded to Trump's nativist call to exclude undesirable immigrants, especially Mexicans and Muslims, both of whom are racialized as non-White. In Brazil, the country with the largest population of African descent outside of Africa and the largest miscegenation rates in the world, the votes for Bolsonaro pointed to the social wish to achieve Whiteness and thus eliminate (or at least abate) the insecurity that comes from a belief in the racial inferiority of non-Whites. The author suggests that the results of the presidential elections reflect Whites' fear of losing ground after decades of gains by minorities, women, and the poor in both countries.

Dr. Penha-Lopes will have a book launch with the Columbia Global Center in Rio de Janeiro on Feb.11, 2022. Check the Center's Youtube page to view the event. 

Vânia Penha-Lopes is a Professor of Sociology at Bloomfield College, co-chair of the Brazil Seminar at Columbia University (2008-present), and was a member of the executive committee of the Brazilian Studies Association-BRASA (2010-14).

Reighan Gillam is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California. 

Your Host

Reighan Gillam

Reighan Gillam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College. Her research examines the ways in which Afro-Brazilian media producers foment anti-racist visual politics through their image creations. She is the author of Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media (University of Illinois Press).
View Profile