Crystal Galván

Crystal Galván

Hometown: Omak, WA
Majors: Comparative Ethnic Studies and Sociology
Minor: Spanish
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Carmen R. Lugo-Lugo (WSU) and Dr. Kim Potowski (UIC)
Year Graduated: 2017
Research Interests: African Diaspora in Latin America, racialization, identity politics, Black-Latinx Relations, Social Movements, Ethnic Studies in K-12, Ethnic Conflicts

Research Titles:

  • Black-Latino/a Race Relations National Discourse Analysis of #BlackLivesMatter and #ImmigrantLivesMatter Movements
  • Afro-Mexicanas/os: Representations of Blackness and the Fight for Recognition

Research Abstract: (Afro-Mexicanas/os project): Since approximately the 16th and 17th century, there has been an African presence in Mexico due to the transatlantic slave trade which brought an estimated 200,000 West Africans to New Spain. After México’s Independence, the legal notion of race was eliminated, and in 1925 famous philosopher Vasconcelos’ La raza cósmica, erased notions of blackness from a generalized Mexican mestizo identity that was considered a combination of only indigenous and European origins (Vasconcelos, 26). Today there are an estimated 1.4 million Afro-Mexicans in the nation, most of whom live in the coastal areas of Veracruz, Guerrero and Oaxaca. However, this population has been largely invisible to the mainstream Mexican eye, and Afro-Mexicans have been marginalized in Mexican society due to legacies of slavery and shifts in mestizaje discourse. In 2015, the category “afrodescendiente” (Afro-descendant) was reintroduced to the official national Census in Mexico as a result of activism from black grassroot organizations. My project explores the history of representations of blackness in Mexico and asks whether the new Census category might have an effect on both representations and perceptions of afro-mexicanidad. It also documents recent efforts by Afro-Mexican organizations to gain acknowledgement, develop a positive Afro identity, and fight racial injustices in their communities. In this paper, I argue that Mexico is not a post-race nation and racism exists which is evident through actions that degrade indigenous and black populations but also through racialized black images that are found in popular culture such as Memín Pinguin and Negrito Bimbo.


Research Experience: WSU McNair, University of Illinois at Chicago Summer Research Opportunities Program (2015 Cohort)