Scholar: John Collins
Since the mid-1990s, Collins has conducted ethnographic research on UNESCO world heritage sites, urban restoration programs, and their relationships to national histories and racial politics in Brazil. This gave rise to his first book, Revolt of the Saints: Memory and Redemption in the Twilight of Brazilian ‘Racial Democracy.’ In addition to ongoing work on heritage, race and ethnographic approaches to history and historicity in Latin America, he is currently involved in two new projects. The first, Under English Eyes, examines the ways Africans who arrived on the final slave ship to dock in the city of Salvador, Bahia experienced Brazil’s 19th century transition to ostensibly free labor. The second, Hunters of the Sourlands, is a somewhat iconoclastic foray into human-animal relations and the politics of property and nature in the contemporary U.S. The project is based on experiences with hunters of white-tail deer, state game officials, and scientists involved in wildlife biology in central New Jersey. Its goal is to understand more clearly how recent economic changes have altered landscapes in ways that affect both national politics and the ecology of North American woodlands.
In addition to his research and teaching, Collins currently serves as an Editorial Board Member and Film and Book Review Editor for Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology and as Co-Chair of the Columbia University Brazil Seminar. Additionally, in Fall 2012, he began directing Queens College’s Program in Latin American and Latino Studies.