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12:00pm - Speaker Series: Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz - Northwestern University, Sociology

  • When: December 4, 2019, 12–1:30 pm
  • Where: ABF Woods Conference Room, 750 N. Lake Shore Drive, 4th floor, Lakeside, Chicago, IL 60611

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Figures of the Future: Latino Civil Rights and the Demographic Quest for Recognition

The United States is said to be changing demographically. According to the latest projections, the country will become “majority-minority” by 2045. Such projections and their incessant public pronouncement have helped foster widespread conviction that, for better or worse, the country will look and feel dramatically different in the future. With few exceptions, scholarly discussions have taken ethnoracial demographic change for granted. Against this entrenched demographic realism, I examine the temporal politics of demography, that is, how demographic futures are constructed, communicated, and contested. Unlike past moments, dystopic imaginaries do not unilaterally dominate the current landscape. Political actors within minoritized populations have also turned to the future to transform their present. Focusing on one such political project—national Latino civil rights advocacy—I examine the political science of forecasting, foreshadowing, and forewarning in dogged pursuit of ethnoracial recognition and political power. Offering an alternative account of the so-called browning of America, this analysis shows how the politics of anticipation and acceleration can shape how we imagine, feel, and respond to projected ethnoracial population trends.

Photo and bio courtesy of Northwestern

Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz was born and raised on the Northwest Side of Chicago. Prior to graduate school, he spent several years working as a community organizer in the Humboldt Park area. He received a PhD from Brown University, MA from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and a BA from Northeastern Illinois University. Michael joined Northwestern’s Department of Sociology and Latina/o Studies Program in 2016.

Michael has published on poverty knowledge, Latino identity formation, and the relationship between critical sociologies of race and science and technology studies. His dissertation received the 2016 American Sociological Association Dissertation Award. He is currently working on a book manuscript, based on his dissertation research, that investigates the production and use of imagined demographic futures to advance contemporary Latino civil rights agendas. This research provides a productive entry point into emergent political struggles over the so-called “Browning of America.” His next major research project will explore the history of Puerto Rican radicalism, memory, and state repression in Chicago.

He teaches courses on race and racial knowledge, qualitative/ethnographic methods, and Latino identity and politics, among others.

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