Fall 2015

The Concept of Race

Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-296

Moodle site: Course

Faculty

John E. Drabinski (Section 01)

Description

[US] What do we mean by the term "race"?  From where does the concept come and what role did "race" play in white Western modernity? Is "race" always a destructive concept, or can it be re-defined and re-deployed as part of critical and emancipatory projects? This course explores the concept of race in three basic moments. First, we will look at how our contemporary language of race originated in the Enlightenment and was conceived and justified by some of the key figures of white Western intellectual life, including John Locke, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and G.W.F. Hegel. This genealogical moment reveals race-thinking as foundational to European identity. Second, we will read and critically assess contemporary theorizations of race in order to see how notions of blackness are generated and to what extent, if any, those notions are defensible as liberatory ideas. This political moment critically examines the relationship between identity, tradition, and ideas of race.  Third, we will explore how whiteness has been conceived across history in relation to abject racial categories and how whiteness survives, functions, and exercises power in forms of invisibility and hyper-visibility. This analytical moment interrogates the relationship between whiteness as a political identity and anti-Black violence and terror.

Fall semester. Professor Drabinski.

Offerings

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015