David De Micheli was a postdoctoral fellow with the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research at Tulane University from 2019-2020. He received his PhD from the Department of Government at Cornell University in 2019. His research interests include comparative politics, ethnic and identity politics, inequality, and citizenship, with a regional focus on Latin America.
David is currently preparing a book manuscript based on his dissertation, which leverages a phenomenon of racial reclassification in Brazil to shed new light on the processes of political identity formation. Brazil’s history of race mixture and its fluid racial boundaries have long led Brazilians to cross those boundaries and reclassify towards whiteness. But in recent decades Brazilians have demonstrated a marked and newfound tendency to reclassify instead towards blackness. Drawing on 15 months of qualitative field research, quantitative analysis of official census data, and original survey and experimental data, I argue that this sudden reversal in patterns of racial identification are the unintended consequence of expanded access to secondary and university education for lower-class citizens, which has increased their exposure to racialized inequalities and led many to develop a racialized political consciousness and choose blackness. An article version of this research was awarded Best Graduate Student Paper by REPAL, the Network for the Study of Political Economy in Latin America.
David’s fieldwork and dissertation research have been funded by the National Science and Fulbright-Hays Foundations, as well as the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies and Center for the Study of Inequality at Cornell. An article related to his research interests in race and social policy in Brazil was published in Latin American Politics and Society and can be read here. More information about other current research can be found on his website.