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Carolina Silva Portero

Carolina Silva Portero

S.J.D. 2020

Graduate Fellow, Harvard Law School

csilvaportero at


Indigenous and Afro-Descent Narratives of Equality: An Analysis of the Constitutional Conventions of Ecuador and Bolivia (2006-2009)

While there are some studies on the relationship between constitutional change and social movements for the past decades in Latin America, there have been none that address the interactions between indigenous and black peoples, particularly in the Andean Region. By studying the Constitutional Conventions of Ecuador (2006-2008) and Bolivia (2005-2009), I hope to shed some new light on how ethnic and racial difference is negotiated and redeployed in a constitutional context. My dissertation examines, from a comparative perspective, the question on how major black and indigenous organizations, together and separately, shaped the norms that deal with equality in the Constitution. By rooting the struggles of these groups into a long history of social mobilization in the region, I hope to provoke a rethinking of prevailing assumptions in the study of these social processes, such as that indigenous and black social mobilization is a product of the emergence of multicultural politics starting in the 1980s. In Ecuador and Bolivia, racial, ethnic and gender identities have continuously evolved in a constant and fluid process of political negotiation. My dissertation speaks to the broader historical narratives of constitutional equality in which this negotiation takes place and their connection to the emergence of plurinational States in Latin America.

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • Constitutional Law with Professor Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, Principal Faculty Supervisor
  • Legal Theory with Professor Duncan Kennedy, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Harvard Law School
  • Latin American History with Professor Alejandro de la Fuente, Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics, Professor of African and African American Studies and of History, Harvard University

Additional Research Interests

  • Gender & Feminist Legal Theory
  • International Human Rights
  • Legal Anthropology
  • Immigration Law


  • Harvard Law School, S.J.D. 2020
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M., 2012-2013, (requirements fulfilled, degree waived)
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Bachelor of Laws – Attorney, 2009

Academic Appointments and Fellowships

  • Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, 2017-2018, Dissertation Writing Grant, Graduate Student Affiliate
  • David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, 2017-2018, Graduate Student Associate
  • John H. Coatsworth Latin American History Fellowship, Harvard University, 2017-2018
  • Afro-Latin American Studies Institute, Harvard University, 2016-Present, Graduate Student
  • Harvard Law School, 2013-Present, Graduate Program Fellow
  • Cravath Fellowship on International Legal Studies, 2016, Harvard Law School, Field Research Grant
  • Summer Academic Fellowship, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, Harvard Law School
  • Universities of Excellence Scholarship, Senescyt, 2012-2013

Additional Information

  • Science of Juridical Doctor (S.J.D.) Association, Harvard Law School, President, 2016-Present
  • Harvard Ecuadorian Students’ Association, Harvard University, Member
  • Languages: English (fluent), Spanish (native), Kichwa (beginner)

Last Updated: September 18, 2017