Brazil has been widely lauded as the best place in the world for refugees. Yet its celebrated policies veil how racism shapes the everyday politics of asylum. The Color of Asylum follows asylum seekers as they navigate the refugee regime—from how they arrive in Brazil, through the steps of applying for asylum and seeking assistance, to their lives after refugee status. Racialized hierarchies are produced through bureaucratic practices and encounters, as the state variably incorporates refugees into a deeply unequal racial political order. In the process, refugees learn what it means to be black—or not—in Brazil. With its rare ethnographic access inside the state, The Color of Asylum exposes the limits of refugee status, the everyday workings of the racial state, and how racism and immigration are mutually imbricated in contemporary Brazil.
Katherine Jensen is an assistant professor of Sociology and International Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her research focuses on the racial politics of immigration in South America, with a focus on Brazil. She is a former Fulbright Fellow and P.E.O. Scholar. Before joining UW, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Inter-American Policy & Research at Tulane University. Her work has been published in such journals as Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Qualitative Sociology, and American Behavioral Scientist. Her first book The Color of Asylum was recently published by the University of Chicago Press.