For the past two decades, Kia Caldwell has built an active research program that focuses on the intersections among gender, race, black feminism, health policy, and HIV/AIDS in Brazil and the United States, Women’s and Gender Studies, African American/African Diaspora Studies, Brazilian and Latin American Studies.
Her research has contributed to five major areas of scholarship:
(1) Intersectionality scholarship
(2) Citizenship studies
(3) Research on black feminism in Brazil and Latin America
(4) Public health research, particularly on health policy and HIV/AIDS
(5) African Diaspora Studies
Her scholarly contributions in these areas highlight how the relationship between race and gender shapes black women’s experiences, as well as activism, in Brazil, the United States, and other areas of the Americas. Her publications in both English and Portuguese have been instrumental in the development of Afro-Brazilian Studies and scholarship on black women’s experiences in Brazil, and have spawned a noticeable increase in research in these areas.
Brazil’s leadership role in the fight against HIV has brought its public health system widespread praise. But the nation still faces serious health challenges and inequities. Though home to the world’s second largest African-descendant population, Brazil failed to address many of its public health issues that disproportionately impact Afro-Brazilian women and men.
Kia Lilly Caldwell draws on twenty years of engagement with activists, issues, and policy initiatives to document how the country’s feminist health movement and black women’s movement have fought for much-needed changes in women’s health. Merging ethnography with a historical analysis of policies and programs, Caldwell offers a close examination of institutional and structural factors that have impacted the quest for gender and racial health equity in Brazil. As she shows, activists have played an essential role in policy development in areas ranging from maternal mortality to female sterilization. Caldwell’s insightful portrait of the public health system also details how its weaknesses contribute to ongoing failures and challenges while also imperiling the advances that have been made.
For most of the twentieth century, Brazil was widely regarded as a "racial democracy"-a country untainted by the scourge of racism and prejudice. In recent decades, however, this image has been severely critiqued, with a growing number of studies highlighting persistent and deep-seated patterns of racial discrimination and inequality. Yet, recent work on race and racism has rarely considered gender as part of its analysis.
In Negras in Brazil, Kia Lilly Caldwell examines the life experiences of Afro-Brazilian women whose stories have until now been largely untold. This pathbreaking study analyzes the links between race and gender and broader processes of social, economic, and political exclusion. Drawing on ethnographic research with social movement organizations and thirty-five life history interviews, Caldwell explores the everyday struggles Afro-Brazilian women face in their efforts to achieve equal rights and full citizenship. She also shows how the black women's movement, which has emerged in recent decades, has sought to challenge racial and gender discrimination in Brazil. While proposing a broader view of citizenship that includes domains such as popular culture and the body, Negras in Brazil highlights the continuing relevance of identity politics for members of racially marginalized communities. Providing new insights into black women's social activism and a gendered perspective on Brazilian racial dynamics, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of Latin American Studies, African diaspora studies, women's studies, politics, and cultural anthropology.
Drawing on ethnographic research with underrepresented communities in the Caribbean, Europe, South America, and the United States, this wide-ranging anthology examines the gendered dimensions of citizenship experiences and uses them as a point of departure for rethinking contemporary practices of social inclusion and national belonging.