Peter Wade

My interests centre on race and ethnicity in Latin America, with particular reference to black populations. I have done several spells of fieldwork in Colombia, looking at racial discrimination, black cultural identities, and the black social movement and constitutional reform. I have also traced the social history of Colombian popular music in the twentieth century and its connections with ideas about nation and race.

I have worked on themes of race and sexuality in Latin America. In 2006-7, I held a British Academy award which supported bi-lateral international seminars between Colombia (specifically, the Universidad del Valle) and the UK (Manchester) which focused on this theme (and also involved Brazilian scholars). An edited volume arising from these seminars was published in Colombia in 2008 (see Publications) and in 2009 I published a book on Race and Sex in Latin America (Pluto Press).

A third area of interest has been the construction of nature, biology, genetics and culture in ideas about race (see Race, Nature and Culture: An Anthropological Perspective, 2002). This was reflected in my participation in a large-scale project on the Public Understanding of Genetics (PUG), funded by the EU and involving seven research teams in different European countries, which led to an edited volume on Race, Ethnicity and Nation: Perspectives from Kinship and Genetics (2007).

In January 2010, I started directing an ESRC-funded project on "Race, genomics and mestizaje (mixture) in Latin America: a comparative approach", which examined the way concepts of race, ethnicity and nation enter into recent genomic research about the ancestry of Latin American populations and how findings from such research are received and interpreted in the public domain. In August 2011, this project was extended by a grant from the LeverhulmeTrust to focus in more depth on public engagement with scientific information about genomics, health, "race" and ancestry. A book Mestizo Genomics: Race Mixture, Nation, and Science in Latin America (eds. Peter Wade, Carlos López Beltrán, Eduardo Restrepo, Ricardo Ventura Santos) was published by Duke University Press in April 2014. A special issue of the journal Social Studies of Science was published in December 2015 under the title "Genomic Research, Publics and Experts in Latin America: Nation, Race and Body".

From September 2013, I took up a three-year British Academy Wolfson Research Professorship for a project titled "Race, nation and genomics: biology and society" in order to write up the many results of these two projects. In 2017, Duke University Press will publish a book called Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America.

I am also the co-applicant for a British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship for a project on "Genomics and child obesity in Mexico: the resignification of race, class, nation and gender", for which the principal applicant and researcher is Dr Abril Saldaña Tejeda of the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. The project ran from March 2015 to May 2017.

In January 2016, I and a colleague, Monica Moreno Figueroa (University of Cambridge), were awarded an ESRC grant (£830K) for a project to explore "Latin American Antiracism in a ‘Post-Racial’ Age" ( This project runs for two years from January 2017 and will involve research in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

Manchester, The University of
Latin America