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Mark Q SawyerMark Q. Sawyer
Professor, UCLA  (1972-2017)
 

Mark Sawyer passed March 26th, 2017, and was Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at UCLA, the Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics and the Chair of the UCLA Interdisciplinary Program in Afro-American Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago in December of 1999. In fall of 2005 he was a Visiting Associate Professor at the Department of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University and also was a RWJ Scholar in Health Policy.

"His published work includes a book entitled, " Racial Politics in Post Revolutionary Cuba" that received the DuBois Award for the best book by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and the Ralph Bunche Award from the American Political Science Association. He has written articles on the intersection between race and gender in modern Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and additional work on the impact of race relations on democratic transition in Cuba. He also has interest in the area of race, immigration and citizenship around the globe. He has published in the Journal of Political Psychology, Perspectives on Politics, SOULS, as well as the UCLA Journal of International and Foreign Affairs. He has also been a writer and commentator for CNN, Fox News, La Opinion, NPR’s News and Notes, the Washington Post’s “the root.com,” and EbonyJet.com."  -- Huffington Post 

 

We remember Mark Sawyer for the help he gave us unraveling the case of the Afro-Cuban Research Institute, a classic Miami plantocracy boondoggle that attempted to recruit HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) for their work against Cuba. Both Mark Sawyer and James Early were helpful in reconstructing the sequence of events in this flim flam of an "educational" operation and pointed us to the documentation which we then assembled.

 

Beyonce and Jay Z Are Race Traitors for Going to Cuba !?!? 4/15/2013 Huffington Post: by Mark Sawyer, UCLA - "In the early 2000's the Cuban members of Congress funded projects located at HBCU's for scholars under contract to produce articles on racism in Cuba. Scholars visited Cuba but did no original research and largely summarized the works of scholars like myself without any of the necessary context and caveats. We were then invited to a conference at Howard University hosted by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen so they could report their "findings" on racism in Cuba and have the validation of top scholars in the field. As the conservative Miami Cubans have struggled to connect with blacks on the island they have seen talking about racism on the island as a possible entrée to Afro-Cubans."


Mark Sawyer, UCLA Political Science
 

Mark Sawyer - Curriculum Vitae

 

Mark Sawyer was a signatory to the 2009 Acting on our Conscience letter under the impetus of Carlos Moore.


Articles/Artículostop

 

In memoriam: Professor Mark Sawyer, a champion for access and diversity  3/28/2017 UCLA: "His first book, “Racial Politics in Post-Revolutionary Cuba,” published by Cambridge University Press in 2006, earned critical acclaim and garnered major prizes in his field, including the Ralph J. Bunche Award from the American Political Science Association and the W. E. B. DuBois Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists."

Fidel Castro's Legacy On Race Relations In Cuba And Abroad  12/3/2016 NPR: Interview with Mark Sawyer, UCLA - "I think we need to look at Castro's mistakes of not allowing black pressure groups, not pursuing more rigid anti-discrimination policies as failures, but that he came as close as anybody has ever come to eliminating racial inequality in a place that had had plantation slavery."

Did Ché Guevara write 'extensively' about the superiority of white Europeans? Rubio says yes  4/17/2013 Politifacts: "At least a couple of our experts pointed to a famous speech Guevara made at the University of Santa Clara in 1959 in which he called for greater representation in all parts of Cuban society. At workers rallies around that time, Guevara and Raul Castro talked about the need to "advance the revolution’s anti-discrimination program," wrote Alejandro de la Fuente, a University of Pittsburgh history professor in his book A Nation for All: Race, Inequality and Politics in 20th Century Cuba. In the speech at Santa Clara, Guevara called for the university to "paint itself with black, paint itself with mulatto" students and teachers, Fuente wrote."

Beyonce and Jay Z Are Race Traitors for Going to Cuba !?!?  4/15/2013 Huffington Post: by Mark Sawyer, UCLA - "In the early 2000's the Cuban members of Congress funded projects located at HBCU's for scholars under to contract to produce articles on racism in Cuba. Scholars visited Cuba but did no original research and largely summarized the works of scholars like myself without any of the necessary context and caveats. We were then invited to a conference at Howard University hosted by Ileana Ross-Lehtinen so they could report their "findings" on racism in Cuba and have the validation of top scholars in the field. As the conservative Miami Cubans have struggled to connect with blacks on the island they have seen talking about racism on the island as a possible entrée to Afro-Cubans."

Black activists launch rare attack on Cuba about racism  1/3/2010 LA Times: "The CIA World Factbook says blacks are 35% of the Cuban population, but many observers say that figure is probably above 60%. (The discrepancies arise from the way the Cuban government counts and classifies race.) The ratio of people of color has grown since the Castros took power, as wealthier whites fled for Miami and elsewhere. The remittances whites sent to families on the island have widened the income gap between Cuba's blacks and whites, said Mark Sawyer, a UCLA political science professor and Cuba expert who signed the document. So has a preference for hiring whites in a tourist industry that has become more important with the collapse of the government-regulated economy, he said. The Castro government has long treated racism as an issue solved by the revolution, which promised equality for all. But despite the Castros' early and overt denunciation of racism, it continues to be a pernicious presence in Cuban daily life. Sawyer offered one example, noting that kinky black hair is commonly referred to as pelo malo, or "bad hair.""

Commentary: Blackface is never okay  10/14/2009 CNN: by Mark Sawyer - "Research shows that whites in countries like Cuba, Brazil, France and many others often express higher levels of racism against blacks in surveys and experiments that tap unconscious attitudes than in the United States. The rancor that has surrounded race in the United States -- while not creating a post-racial America -- has at least moved the dial substantially in terms of racial attitudes among whites and made a substantial portion of them more sensitive to the issue."

Racial Politics in Post-Revolutionary Cuba  8/5/2009 Google Books: Mark Sawyer, quotes Carlos Moore extensively.

Cuban Intervention in Angola  7/29/2008 Google Books: in Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture: Origins, Experiences, and Culture, Volume 1

Cuban Exceptionalism: Group Based Hierarchy and the Dynamics of Patriotism in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba  3/1/2004 Russel Sage Foundation  

 

 

Links/Enlaces top

 

www.sscnet.ucla.edu/polisci/faculty/sawyer - various writings accessible here

Cuban Intervention in Angola, Google Books, 7/29/08

 

in Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, a Origins, Experiences, and Culture: Volume 1, 7/2008

 

Cuban Exceptionalism: Group Based Hierarchy and the Dynamics of Patriotism in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, DuBois Review, 3/1/2004, PDF

This paper examined the interface between “racial” and national identity from the perspective of two competing theoretical frameworks: the ideological asymmetry hypothesis and the thesis of Iberian Exceptionalism. In contrast to previous results found in the United States and Israel, use of survey data from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba showed some support for both theoretical positions. Consistent with the asymmetry thesis, there was strong and consistent evidence of racial hierarchy within all three Caribbean nations. However, contradicting the asymmetry hypothesis and more in line with the Iberian Exceptionalism perspective, there was a general tendency for all “races” to be equally attached to the nation in both the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Somewhat unexpectedly, Cuban Blacks tended to be slightly more positively attached to the nation than Cuban Whites. These results suggest that the precise interface between racial and national identity will be acutely influenced by the specific socio-political context within each nation.

 

Unlocking the Official Story: Comparing the Cuban Revolution's Approach to Race and Gender; Sawyer, Mark , UCLA J. Int'l L. & Foreign Aff. 403 (2000-2001)

Race often trumps gender at both the level of international law and politics, and within nations. At the same time, the nexus between race and gender and the complex motives of states and international actors are not explained by that simple pronouncement. The purpose of this paper is to explore the similarities and differences between how race and gender are treated by the state in post-revolutionary Cuba. In the case of
Cuba, it becomes clear that the connection between race and gender is both powerful and dynamic. Mark Q. Sawyer is an Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. Professor Sawyer has a joint appointment with the Center for African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is currently co-Chair of the UCLA Cultural Studies in the African Diaspora Project. Professor Sawyer has conducted extensive research on the topic of race relations in Cuba. His manuscript Black and Red: Racial Politics in Post-Revolutionary Cuba is currently under review.  -- heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/jilfa5&div=18&id=&page=


The race question, racial hierarchy and the state in post revolutionary Cuba, Thesis, 1999

My dissertation asks the question: why does racial hierarchy persist in modern societies? Social theory has generally contended that racial and ethnic divisions would disappear as societies moved into modernity. However, in many cases quite the opposite has occurred. An important opportunity to examine this puzzle is the case of Post-Revolutionary Cuba. The dissertation explores the case of Post-Revolutionary Cuba where despite a sweeping revolution and efforts to end discrimination and redistribute resources, patterns of racial hierarchy have remained. None of the available theories of racial politics in Cuba account for the movement toward racial equality brought on by the revolution and the ensuing stagnation and recent retreat in that process. I contend that racial formation and the persistence of racial hierarchy also require a better understanding of ideology, the state, and the impact of transnational forces. Both Liberalism and Marxism have been relatively silently on race; leaving the problem of racial hierarchy unanswered or reducible to class and market forces. This is aided by formulations of a national identity in the Cuba context that marginalizes Afro-Cubans at the expense of a unified Cuban identity.

States have competing interests when it comes to race and often have a lot at stake. Race is a primary means through which citizens define the state and the state defines itself. In Cuba, the state's interests have been in promoting the ideal of racial equality at home and abroad without creating an ongoing dialogue and critique of the regime's record on the issue. It is these competing interests that contribute to the persistence of racial hierarchy in Castro's Cuba. Finally, I argue that theoretically social scientists have also wrongly used the nation state as the boundary for an analysis of race and politics. The case of Cuba demonstrates that perceptions of racial politics on the ground are often inherently comparative. In this case negative perceptions about racial politics in the US and South Florida tempers Afro-Cuban responses to problems at home, constrained racial politics on the island, but at the same time pushed Cuba in bold new directions on the international front.  -- http://search.proquest.com/docview/304542713

 

Selected Bibliographytop

 

Racial Politics in Post-Revolutionary Cuba. Cambridge University Press (2006, ISBN 0521612675). (2007 Ralph Bunche Award, American Political Science Association, & 2007 W.E.B. Du Bois Award, Best Book National Conference of Black Political Scientists).
Click here to price & purchase==>  Amazon.com

"Du Bois' Double Consciousness versus Latin American Exceptionalism: Joe Arroyo, Salsa and Negritude." SOULS, 2005, Volume 7, Issues 3-4 pgs.88-98.
"'Racial Democracy' in the Americas: A Latin and North American Comparison." with Peña and Sidanius Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 2004 Vol. 35, No. 6 pgs. 749-762.

"Cuban Exceptionalism: Group Based Hierarchy and the Dynamics of Patriotism in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba." with Yesilernis Peña and James Sidanius The Dubois Review 2004 Vol.1, No.1.pgs.93-114.

"Contentious Pluralism: The Public Sphere and Democracy." with John Guidry Perspectives on Politics. Volume 1, Number 2, June 2003 pgs 273-289.

"Racial Politics in Multi-Ethnic America: Black and Latino Identities and Coalitions." In NEITHER ENEMIES NOR FRIENDS Latino/as, Blacks, Afro Latinos (Eds) Anani Dzidzienyo and Suzanne Oboler. New York: Palgrave Press.


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