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This paper investigates how students at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), one of the first Brazilian universities to adopt race-based quotas for admissions, interpret racial categories used as eligibility criteria. Considering the perspectives of students is important to understand the workings of affirmative action policies because UERJ's quotas require applicants to classify themselves. Students' interpretations of those categories often diverge from the interpretations intendeddoi:10.1017/s0022216x09005550 fatcat:23vs5nh7hzdvniau3xrzj55sf4