Journal of Anthropological Research
University of Chicago Press
Nearly 50 years ago, Marvin Harris published a seminal paper that examined how Brazilians create taxonomic categories of racial identity. In the intervening decades, new cognitive theories and analytical approaches have enabled researchers to investigate cultural domains with increased sophistication and nuance. In this paper, we revisit, replicate, and extend Harris’s research by utilizing modern cognitive anthropological approaches such as multidimensional scaling and cultural consensus analysis. Utilizing the same facial portraits as in the original study, we ask a contemporary sample of 34 Brazilians to identify and sort these images by racial identity. We then compare Harris’s original data, reanalyzed with modern techniques, to show that Brazilians had, and still hold, structured and coherent models of race. This finding has important social ramifications for race in Brazil and highlights the importance of replicability in the social sciences.
H. J. François Dengah, Jason Gilmore, Marcus Brasileiro, Anna S. Cohen, Elizabeth Bingham Thomas, Jenni Budge Blackburn, McKayle Law, Jae Swainston, and Richard Thomas, "Cultural Models of Raça: The Calculus of Brazilian Racial Identity Revisited," Journal of Anthropological Research 75, no. 2 (Summer 2019): 157-182.