Michael Hanchard

Michael Hanchard, often published as Michael G. Hanchard, is an American political scientist, currently the Gustave C. Kuemmerle Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the director of the Marginalized Populations Project there. He studies comparative politics and political theory, focusing on understanding the causes and consequences of nationalism and xenophobia, particularly within democracies.

Michael Hanchard
Alma mater
Scientific career

Education and early careerEdit

Hanchard studied international relations at Tufts University, obtaining an AB in 1981.[1] He then pursued an MA in international relations from The New School for Social Research, graduating in 1985.[1] Finally, he received a PhD in politics from Princeton University in 1991.[1][2] Before becoming a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Hanchard was a faculty member at The University of Texas at Austin and subsequently at Northwestern University, where he was the director of the Northwestern's Institute for Diaspora Studies, and later at Johns Hopkins University, where he joined the faculty in 2006.[3]


Hanchard has published four books,[1] as well as numerous book chapters and articles in journals like Public Culture[4] and Theory, Culture & Society.[5] Hanchard's first book, Orpheus and Power: Afro-Brazilian Social Movements in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil, was published in 1994[6] and arose out of his PhD dissertation work.[7] With archival and research interview methods, the book used neo-Gramscian reasoning to argue that inequality and racism in Brazil persist because of deliberate efforts to prevent the development of racial group identifications there.[8] Hanchard's sixty interviews with Afro-Brazilian activists in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro suggest that this lack of group identification has prevented the formation of successful political movements to agitate against group oppression.[9]

In 2018, Hanchard published The Spectre of Race: How Discrimination Haunts Western Democracy, which argues that contemporary trends towards racism and xenophobia have in fact always been visible in exclusionary policies that are historically ingrained in democratic practices.[10] Political scientist Lilly Goren wrote that The Spectre of Race is "a rich and complex examination of the question of discrimination in general, and racial discrimination specifically", and particularly how the phenomenon of discrimination "has generally shaped the structures and institutions of western democracies".[11] The Spectre of Race received the American Political Science Association's 2019 Ralph J. Bunche Award, which is awarded each year to "the best scholarly work in political science that explores the phenomenon of ethnic and cultural pluralism".[6][12] The Race and Ethnic politics section award committee wrote that The Spectre of Race is "an outstanding contribution to political science scholarship on racial and ethnic domination and hierarchy".[6]

Hanchard's service to the field has included serving as department chair of the University of Pennsylvania's Africana Studies department.[1] Hanchard is also the director of the Marginalized Populations Project at the University of Pennsylvania, which examines the relationship between national governments and populations that lack sufficient state protections.[13] He founded this project after conducting dissertation work with Afro-Brazilian activists, and observing the vulnerability of Afro-Brazilian children in Brazilian society and politics.[7]

Hanchard was a 2014-2015 member of the School of Social Science at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study.[6] He has also held visiting positions across North America, South America, Europe, and Africa, including at Harvard University, the Federal University of São Carlos, the Sciences Po, and the University of Ghana.[1]

Hanchard's work has been cited in media outlets like The Nation,[14] NPR,[15] New Statesman,[16] and The New Republic.[17] His book The Spectre of Race was featured in a Times Higher Education list of "the best books of the season" for winter 2018.[18]

Selected worksEdit

  • Orpheus and Power: Afro-Brazilian Social Movements in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil, 1945-1988 (1994)[6]
  • Racial Politics in Contemporary Brazil (1999)[6]
  • Party/Politics: Horizons in Black Political Thought (2006)[6]
  • The Spectre of Race: How Discrimination Haunts Western Democracy (2018)[6]

Selected awardsEdit

  • Ralph J. Bunche Award, American Political Science Association (2019)[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Michael Hanchard Profile". University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  2. ^ "Past Member: Michael G. Hanchard". Institute for Advanced Study. 2015. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Arts & Science magazine online". Johns Hopkins University. 2006. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  4. ^ Hanchard, Michael (1999). "Afro-Modernity: Temporality, Politics, and the African Diaspora". Public Culture. 11 (1): 245⁠–268. doi:10.1215/08992363-11-1-245.
  5. ^ Hanchard, Michael (1 August 2003). "Acts of Misrecognition: Transnational Black Politics, Anti-Imperialism and the Ethnocentrisms of Pierre Bourdieu and Loïc Wacquant". Theory, Culture & Society. 20 (4): 5⁠–29. doi:10.1177/02632764030204002. S2CID 145312150.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Michael G. Hanchard — 2019 Ralph J. Bunche Award Recipient". Political Science Now. American Political Science Association. 27 August 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Marginalized Populations Project". University of Pennsylvania Arts & Sciences. 23 May 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  8. ^ Anthology, Orpheus and Power: The Movimento Negro of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil 1945-1988. Princeton University Press. 8 November 1998. ISBN 9780691002705. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  9. ^ Franklin, V. P. (July 1998). "Reviewed Work: Orpheus and Power: The Movimento Negro of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil, 1945-1988 by Michael George Hanchard". The Americas. 55 (1): 160⁠–162. doi:10.2307/1008307. JSTOR 1008307. S2CID 151906885.
  10. ^ Book: The Spectre of Race: How Discrimination Haunts Western Democracy. Princeton University Press. 2018. ISBN 9780691177137. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  11. ^ Goren, Lilly (19 October 2018). "Review Michael G. Hanchard The Spectre of Race: How Discrimination Haunts Western Democracies". New Books Network. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Ralph J. Bunche Award". American Political Science Association. 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Marginalized Populations project". University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  14. ^ Robin D. G., Kelley (10 September 2019). "We're Getting These Murals All Wrong". The Nation. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  15. ^ Donnella, Leah (14 June 2017). "On Flag Day, Remembering The Red, Black And Green". National Public Radio. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  16. ^ Esplen, Billie (11 July 2018). "Putting revolution back on the agenda: the calls for radicalism we need to listen to". New Statesman. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  17. ^ Dyson, Michael Eric (9 September 2015). "Think Out Loud". The New Republic. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  18. ^ "Winter reads 2018-19: the best books of the season". Times Higher Education. 13 December 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2020.