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Health Sciences Building, Room 574
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  • February 26, 2024 from 3:00pm to 4:00pm


This event is organized by the Centre for Global Health along with the Public Health & Migration at the Dalla Lana School of Public in the University of Toronto. This event will be in person only.

Join us for a talk by Alexandre Branco-Pereira, a visiting professor from Brazil, and moderated by Andrea A. Cortinois, Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, where he teaches courses in global migration and health and global health.

There is no time to fear death: health and political mobilization of racialized migrants in Brazil during the Covid-19 pandemic

The hegemony of the vulnerability perspective in studies produced on migrants is well known. As a result of a multi-sited ethnographic research carried out between 2020 and 2023 with different migrant collectives in different sites in Brazil, Dr. Branco-Pereira’s work is interested in understanding the creative political responses that racialized migrants living in the country articulated within contexts of popular participation in the designing health policies in the face of the end of the world represented by the Covid-19 pandemic. From a decolonial perspective conjugated with a Science and Technology Studies (STS) approach, he analyzes how the tensions between universality and equity emerged and played out in the access of these communities to the Brazilian Universal Healthcare System during Covid-19, taking the pandemic as a cultural symbolic system deeply influenced by the neoliberal cultural hegemony. Thus, health is deemed as a scarce right – the more people access it, the fewer there is to be accessed – responding to a neoliberal approach in policy designing that considers that managing the access to rights is equivalent to managing scarce resources that might end if the excluded are included. The notion of universality – of the healthcare system, but also of human status – engenders a logic of flattening inequalities by suppressing differences, producing irreconcilable worlds. Such phenomena allocate uncomfortable political facts to the realm of hallucinations. Hence, what is real is defined by the indexation of power. It is in this context that migrant movements emerge demanding to be part of the designing of health policies, grounding and guaranteeing the registration of their political demands before the State and disputing the very notion of reality in this process. This is a work of engaged anthropology that aims to establish horizontal relationships with its interlocutors, acting not only in data prospecting, but seeking to build possible worlds with them.