Paulo César Ramos

Penn-Mellon Just Futures Initiative "Dispossessions in the Americas" (2021-2022)

Paulo César Ramos is a Postdoctoral Researcher for the Mellon “Dispossessions in the Americas: The Extraction of Bodies, Land, and Heritage from La Conquista to the Present” project at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of São Paulo in Brazil. He completed his MA in Sociology at the Federal University of São Carlos in São Paulo, Brazil.

Paulo defended his doctoral thesis, “Black Grammar against State violence: from racial discrimination to Black genocide” (1978-2018), at the The University of São Paulo in 2021. He used recognition theory to study the agenda of the Black movement against police violence. He analyzed documents from unpublished personal files, which were kept in the attics and basements of the houses of former militants. Paulo was able to gain access to such materials because of the respect and trust he earned from the main Black leaders in Brazil.

While completing his Master's in Sociology in 2014, Paulo studied the period from 2007 to 2013, when the agenda of violence against Black youth came to be called genocide. His dissertation, “Contrary to statistics: the thematization of homicides by young Blacks in Brazil,” focused on the formulation of public policies at the federal and municipal levels, decision-makers, and Black youth activists.

From 2019 to 2020, Paulo was a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Africana Studies where he worked on the Marginalized Populations Project. He led the Memory and Identity of Afro-Brazilian Archives Project with the support of the Marginalized Populations Program at Afro-CEBRAP/Brazil. Under the supervision of Professor Michael Hanchard and Professor Márcia Lima, and with a local team, the project cataloged, digitized, and disseminated the documents of Black activists, which were essential to his doctoral research to blacken and Africanize memory studies. He also coordinated the Racial Violence Project at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, with the support of the Google Foundation, to reconstruct cases of police violence against Afro-Brazilians.

Some of Paulo’s co-written publications include: Moura, J. T. V. de, & Ramos, P. C. (2020). The narratives of the black movement in the Brazilian political field: from protest to institutionalized politics. Ramos, P. C., & Völker, S. (2020). Police Violence Against Black People Is on the Rise in Brazil. Ramos, P. C., & Tomesani, A. (2019). Racism and Black Activism in Brazil: a Literary and Historical Review.