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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Spring 2008


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
46725 TH
6:00 PM-9:00 PM
BUR 214

Course Description

This course introduces students to critical, global perspectives on race, ethnicity and racism. Through a series of close readings of key texts the course examines the historical relationship between the emergence of ideas about race and Western modernity. The course is divided into two parts. Part I examines the importance of slavery and European colonialism in producing modern understandings of race and racial difference. We look at how the social sciences themselves have been implicated in the production of racialized ways of seeing and knowing both the (Western) Self and the (abject) Other: the "West" and the Rest. Part I concludes by examining the interrelationships between race, gender, sexuality and nation in the colonial setting. Part II examines contemporary racial formation in the period after the anti-colonial struggles of the mid-20th century. Key here are the ways in which social theorists have sought to understand both the continuities and discontinuities of colonial regimes in structuring societies in the West, and elsewhere. Part II thus focuses on questions of State formation, anti-racist political struggle, and the politics of identity in relation to questions of ethnicity. A key aspect of this course is its focus on the global dimensions and manifestations of racism and ethnicity. Although historical and contemporary debates concerning the articulation of race and the ethnicity within the U.S. remain central to many of the readings and class discussions, the course aims to provide a broader, contextual understanding of the changing nature of race and ethnicity across both time and geography. While W.E.B. Du Bois famously observed that the key issue of the 20th century would be the problem of the color line, the course ends by discussing the extent to which race, ethnicity and racism still matter, both sociologically and politically, in the 21st century. The course will be relevant to those students with an interest in critical theories of race and ethnicity and contemporary social theory.


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