Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor's Name

Ronald Cox

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committe Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Danielle Clealand

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Comittee Chair

Third Advisor's Name

John F. Clark

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Andrea Queeley

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

comittee member


comparative policy, affirmative action, Brazil, critical theory, discourse analysis, racial threat, higher education, afrodescendants, social citizenship rights

Date of Defense



In the early part of the 21st century, both Brazil and the United States questioned the use of affirmative action policies that dictate the extent to which race is used as a factor in university admissions. This study compares discourse frameworks adopted by policymakers and subsequent affirmative action policies, in addition to Black enrollment trends in Brazil and the United States. This research contextualizes how three frameworks—justice, abstract liberal, and threat— shape race-based admission policies by examining demographic, admissions, and enrollment trends in both countries. I argue that discourse frameworks are a more reliable indicator than racial threat in determining affirmative action program types and outcomes. Highly centralized programs are at risk of being dismantled when policymakers employ threat frameworks that problematize affirmative action policies instead of current and past social and racial inequality.






Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).