Professor of Africana Studies Michael Hanchard established the Marginalized Populations Project after reflecting on his graduate work in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There, he conducted primary research and ethnography for his dissertation and worked alongside several black activists who helped organize street children and children living in government foster service centers, to demand access to better housing and education and an end to police harassment and violence. He and other activists found that Afro-Brazilian children were among the most marginalized populations in Brazilian society. Marginalized peoples generally have less access to broader social networks, education, health care, and formal employment.
The Marginalized Populations Project, a collaborative research initiative operated out of Africana Studies, is designed to explore the dynamic interactions between national governments and populations with unequal, minimal, or non-existent state protections. Hanchard says one of the goals of the Marginalized Populations Project is to further develop and highlight the Department of Africana Studies as a site for innovative, cross-national comparative research on Afro-descendent populations. Hanchard and the project are partnering with Perry World House for the conference, Under the Gun: State Violence and Black Populations, which will feature experts from Penn Law, the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program, the Latin American and Latino Studies Program, and internationally renowned scholars from Africa, Latin America, and Europe.