The Role of the Census

This discussion centres on an exploration of the power of the Census in the United States in creating denominations and giving them meaning. Here we must distinguish between names reflecting who we are and simply generic labels. What strikes us when looking at the changes from one Census to the next over the decades is the need to acknowledge the complexity of inter-marriage between the nation’s different groups. Anti-miscegenation laws notwithstanding (such as the one-drop rule in the United States or the wasteful elaboration of the castas in Latin America), it is clear that groups are mixing – to the point where the self-designation exercise of the 2000 Census yielded sixty-three different categories. The human classification into five races, elaborated by Linneaus in 1735 and validated in the 20th century by Carl Murchinson, is no longer valid for the 21th century.

Biography of Speaker(s)

Professor Gina Philogene, Professor of Psychology, Sarah Lawrence College

"I was born in Port-au-Prince (Haiti) and early on migrated to Québec City (Canada) as a child. That cultural experience marked me. But it was only later, when I moved to New York City as a student, that I became aware of the intricate link between social psychology and my experiences as an immigrant. Not only have I seen and lived cultural exchange, but exposure to other cultures has provided me with a window to understand and appreciate the nuances of our cultural communality and distinctiveness.

Studying social representations theory in Paris, with Serge Moscovici, illuminated my theoretical understanding of society. It also equipped me with the research tools necessary to comprehend the dynamic of our social world.

My passion for studying social issues transpires in my teaching commitments as well as research agenda"

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