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The Racial State Week 1: Busting the myths of race

Introduction and overview to the key themes of the Unit
by

Alana Lentin

on 19 July 2015

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Transcript of The Racial State Week 1: Busting the myths of race

The Racial State
Week 1

Busting the Myths of Race
it's just the way things are, or is it?
Myth #1: Race and racism are age-old
What is this thing called race?
'The dispositions and presuppositions of race and ethnicity were introduced - some would say "invented" or "fabricated" - in modern times...'
Ivan Hannford, Race: A History of an Idea in the West (1996)
The word race first appears in the West between 1200-1500

It meant 'clan' or 'tribe'

It did not infer a hierarchy

It develops over a 200 year period from the 1700s to the 'Golden Age of Race' in the mid-1900s.
Myth #3: Racism is Ignorance
Well, that would be easy
Dr Alana Lentin
a.lentin@uws.edu.au

Or are they?
Rational Thought

The Enlightenment: Observable 'facts' and tested 'evidence'

From 'Monogenesis' to 'Polygenesis'

Makes way for 'racial science'
What comes first, race or racism?
Myth #2: Race is natural
Well....
Race is a social construct

But that doesn't mean it is not socially meaningful
So why does race become an identity?
refers not to biology, but to the ‘physical bond’ that the ‘common history’ of those who ‘have suffered a long disaster and have one long memory’ are compelled to carry with them
W.E.B. Du Bois
Polygenist Samuel Morton:
'Mankind being divided into several groups of Races, each of which constitutes a primitive element in the fauna of its peculiar province.’ (Malik, The Making of the Idea of Race)
http://kenanmalik.wordpress.com/tag/racial-science/
http://courses.nus.edu.sg/course/elljwp/lecture1.htm
Social construction: 'a social mechanism, phenomenon, or category created and developed by society; a perception of an individual, group, or idea that is 'constructed' through cultural or social practice .'
Racism has been treated as a psychological attitude.
Racism is seen politically as an aberration.
Intercultural knowledge is insufficient to counter racism.
Is Intercultural understanding enough to challenge racism?
Part I - Understanding race/seeing racism
Week 1: Introduction - busting the myths of racism
Week 2 - What is race, what is racism?
Week 3 - Race and the State
Week 4 - Recap
Part II - Australia: from settlers to strangers
Week 5 - Whose country? Race and the Colonial Experience
Week 6 - Mobility and Change
Week 7 - From Theft to Apology
Weekly Schedule
Part III - Windows on Race
Week 8 - Gender and Sexuality

Week 10 - ‘Policing the Crisis’
Week 11 - Asylum
Week 12 - Islamophobia
Week 13 - The end of race?
Week 14: Conclusion
Tutors:
Dr Lara Palombo
A/Prof Alana Lentin

For more watch: http://tinyurl.com/b6jvzhl
Alana Lentin's Office Hours:
Parramatta EQ
Mondays 11.30-12.30
Bankstown 1.G.67
Thursdays 11.30-12.30

Reclaim Australia Rally, July 2015
Full transcript