Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Graduate School

Major Professor

Bernd Reiter, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Ponton III, Ph.D


Afro-Peruvian, Gender, Women, Peru, Politics, Race


Previous accounts about the presence of women of African descent on Latin American legislatures outline Peru as an exceptional case. In 2013, Peru had three Afro-Peruvian women in its national congress, all of them former volleyball players. Compared to other countries where Black women were almost inexistent in legislatures, Peru was in a better position. Simultaneously, Afro-Peruvian women’s organizations and leaders denounce their marginalization from political spaces. This work seeks to explore the experiences of Afro-Peruvian congresswomen elected between the years 2000 and 2016 and their relation to political power. Intersectionality serves as a theoretical framework for this research because Black women’s experiences require an understanding of race and gender as mutually constituted and product of the intersection of different systems of oppression. The resulting analysis of four semi-structured interviews with current and former Afro-Peruvian congress representatives shows how race and gender affect their lives and political trajectory. First, they experience gendered racialization, specifically by the media which publicly situates them as Black, regardless of their self-identification. Second, Afro-Peruvian congresswomen reported experiencing discrimination while serving in congress. Finally, their political trajectories represent cases of exception within the structure, rather than changes toward a more inclusive political sphere. They occupy ambiguous spaces of exception because their presence in congress makes them hyper-visible as Black women, while they are kept in the margins of effective political power.