After much controversy, the decree regulating the institution of the Law 12,711 (Quotas Law) in universities and federal institutions of higher education in Brazil was published in the Official Diary on October 15th, 2012. Under the new law, at least 50% of seats in public universities must be reserved for applicants who attended high school in public schools entirely. These seats will be divided between two groups: half will go to those who have gross family income per capita equal to or less than 1.5 minimum wages and the other half will go to students who declare themselves black, brown or indigenous. In 2013, Quotas Law has been already applied to the selection promoted by the Unified Selection System (Sisu), which selects the students based on their grade in the Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio (Enem). According to the President Dilma Rousseff, universities and federal institutes participating of Sisu must book this year, at least 12.5% of their places for students from public schools. These institutions will have until 2016 to deploy the new rules of access to higher education. Since it was approved by the Senate in August 2012, the Quota Law has divided opinions, especially with regard to the reservation of university places for blacks. The history of discussions is long and with the advent of technologies related to genetics, standards of sociability in contemporary Brazil have been discussed also in terms of genetic interpretations. In recent years, genetic studies have been used as an argument to legitimize the adoption of certain laws (as in the case of the Biosafety Law and the decriminalization of abortion of anencephalic fetuses) or to try to invalidate them (as in the example of Quota Law). The participation of the geneticist Sergio Pena at a public hearing held by the Supreme Court (STF), to discuss racial quotas, is an example of this and, therefore, invites to a reflection on the relationship between science and politics in Brazil. Thus, this paper aims to discuss the use of genetic ancestry research as a contrary argument to public policy of quotas for blacks in public higher education.

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Science and politics in brazil
Genetic ancestry research as an argument against racial quotas in public higher education

Masa Maryelli de Oliveira   Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil

After much controversy, the decree regulating the institution of the Law 12,711 (Quotas Law) in universities and federal institutions of higher education in Brazil was published in the Official Diary on October 15th, 2012. Under the new law, at least 50% of seats in public universities must be reserved for applicants who attended high school in public schools entirely. These seats will be divided between two groups: half will go to those who have gross family income per capita equal to or less than 1.5 minimum wages and the other half will go to students who declare themselves black, brown or indigenous. In 2013, Quotas Law has been already applied to the selection promoted by the Unified Selection System (Sisu), which selects the students based on their grade in the Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio (Enem). According to the President Dilma Rousseff, universities and federal institutes participating of Sisu must book this year, at least 12.5% of their places for students from public schools. These institutions will have until 2016 to deploy the new rules of access to higher education. Since it was approved by the Senate in August 2012, the Quota Law has divided opinions, especially with regard to the reservation of university places for blacks. The history of discussions is long and with the advent of technologies related to genetics, standards of sociability in contemporary Brazil have been discussed also in terms of genetic interpretations. In recent years, genetic studies have been used as an argument to legitimize the adoption of certain laws (as in the case of the Biosafety Law and the decriminalization of abortion of anencephalic fetuses) or to try to invalidate them (as in the example of Quota Law). The participation of the geneticist Sergio Pena at a public hearing held by the Supreme Court (STF), to discuss racial quotas, is an example of this and, therefore, invites to a reflection on the relationship between science and politics in Brazil. Thus, this paper aims to discuss the use of genetic ancestry research as a contrary argument to public policy of quotas for blacks in public higher education.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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