Emiko Saldivar

Continuing Lecturer


State and Racial Formation, Mestizaje,  Nation,  Race and Ethnic Relations, Indigenous,  Afro-descendants and Mestizo Population,  Anti-Racism, Mexico and Latin America. 


Ph.D. Sociology. New School for Social Research

M.A. Sociology. New School for Social Research

B.A. Sociology. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México


Overall my research concerns racial and inter-ethnic relations, and in particular, the role the state has played in the racial formation of contemporary Mexico and Latin America.  The focus of my work is the historical and cultural analysis of state policies towards indigenous people, policies and programs promoting intercultural relations, multiculturalism and antiracism. Since 2010 I have done applied work in the field of antiracism.  I helped found the Collective to Eliminate Racism in Mexico (COPERA), an organization that seeks to establish an observatory on racism and research collaborations between academia and activists, to promote and further the understanding and recognition of racist practices and the elaboration of an antiracist agenda in Mexico. I am also founding member of the Antiracist Action Research Network, RAIAR with members in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and USA. This network is composed of scholars, NGOs and other social organizations that share an anti-racist agenda and are interested in fostering collaborative research between academia and activists.

Currently my research  projects are:

  • Towards the inclusion of Afrodescendants in Mexico´s Census 2020, PI. Professor Erika Arenas, Co-PI (UCSB) and I are conducting a project, which seeks to accomplish four goals. First, we are contributing to the Census a re?nement to the Census that would also account for racial inequality between the Afrodescendants and others in Mexico. Second, the project furthers the analysis of racial inequality and advocates for racial justice in the design of public policy. Third, we promote the inclusion of a racial perspective in the study of inequality, poverty and afro- descendant population in Mexico. Fourth, the project’s goal is to develop a methodology of statistical literacy for indigenous and Afrodescendant advocates that will empower them in the use of accurate and reliable statistical information as a tool to achieve racial justice.  Funded by W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 
  • Family lines: gender, racism and livelihoods in Costa Chica, Mexico. Co-PI Dr. Monica Moreno (Cambridge). This pilot project proposes a different entry point to the study of Mexico’s black population, instead of focusing in the politics of identity and representation we are interested in the material conditions, and particularly, how are these organized (or not) around gender and ethno-racial identities. We seek to identify how racism, racial categorizations and the construction of Black, Indigenous and Mestizo identities inform women’s strategies to organize their livelihoods specifically in the Costa Chica, one of the regions considered to be the home of the largest Black population in Mexico. We propose to focus on women’s economic trajectories and those of their families in order to identify if and how these are shaped according to gender roles, sexism, racism, class distinctions and ethno-racial identities from an intersectional perspective. Our research would contribute to the unexplored study of black women in Mexico. Funded by the UCSB Development Fund and Cambridge Humanities Research Grant


Mexico’s afro-descendant population in the 2020 national census


Colectivo para Eliminar el Racismo en México – COPERA


Latin American Anti-racism in a 'Post-Racial' Age - LAPORA


Red de Acción e Investigación Anti Racista – RAIAR


The Project on Ethnicity and Race in Latin America – PERLA




Prácticas Cotidianas del Estado: Una Etnografía del Indigenismo Mexico. Mexico City: Universidad Iberoamericana & Plaza y Valdés. 2008




“Uses and Abuses of Culture: Mestizaje in the Era of Multiculturalism” Cultural Studies, 32(3): 438-459.  2018
Saldívar, E. & Graziella Moraes Silva “Comparing Ideologies of Racial Mixing In Latin America: Brazil and Mexico” Sociologia & Antropologia, 8(2): 427-456.  2018
Saldívar, E., Patricio Solís & Erika Arenas “Consideraciones metodológicas para el conteo de la población afromexicana en el Censo 2020” Coyuntura Demográfica, 14.  2018
Saldívar, E. & Monica Moreno Figueroa "'We are not Racists, We are Mexicans’: Privilege, Nationalism and Post-Race Ideology in Mexico” Critical Sociology, 42(4-5): 515-533.  2015
Saldívar, E. & Casey Walsh “Racial and Ethnic Identities in Mexican Statistics” Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research, 20(3): 455–475.  2015
“It’s not Race, it’s Culture”: Untangling Racial Politics in Mexico" Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, 9(1): 89-108.  2014
“Everyday Practices of Indigenismo: an Ethnography of Anthropology and the State in Mexico” Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 16(11): 67-89.  2011
Saldívar, E. & Monica Moreno Figueroa “Comics, Dolls and the Disavowal of Racism: Learning from Mexican Mestizaje” in E. Gutiérrez & S. A. Tate (eds.) Creolising Europe:Legacies and Transformations. UK: Liverpool University Press.  2015
Martínez, Regina, Emiko Saldívar & René Flores “The Different Faces of Mestizaje: Ethnicity and Race in Mexico” in E. Telles (ed.) Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, Race, and Color in Latin America. USA: University of North Carolina Pres.  2014
“Racismo en México: Apuntes Críticos sobre Etnicidad y Diferencias Culturales” in A. Castellanos & G. Landazuri (eds.) Racismos y Otras Formas de Intolerancia de Norte a Sur en América Latina. Mexico City: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana & Juan Pablos Editor.  2012


Theories of mestizaje: critical perspectives from the Americas   ANTH 266

Indigenous people and the nation state in the Americas   ANTH 113

Educating the native   ANTH 108

Race and ethnicity in the Americas   ANTH 222

Ethnographic methods: studying race in the field   ANTH 197