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The Racial State Week 1: Busting the myths of race

Introduction and overview to the key themes of the Unit

Alana Lentin

on 17 July 2017

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

The Racial State
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 300 year period from the 1600s to the 'Golden Age of Race' in the mid-1900s.

Race is worked out in the contexts of colonisation and slavery
Myth #3: Racism is Ignorance
Well, that would be easy
Alana Lentin

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
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)
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
Week 5 - Gender & Sexuality
Part II - Australia: from settlers to strangers
Week 6 - Whose country? Race and the Colonial Experience
Week 7 - Mobility and Change
[Assessment 1 due]
Weekly Schedule
Part III - Windows on Race
Week 8 - ‘Policing the Crisis’

Week 10 - Asylum
Week 11 - Islamophobia
Week 12 - Digital technology & social media
Week 13 - The end of race?
Week 14: Poster presentations
Will Scates Frances (Parra/BNK)
Dr Lara Palombo (Penrith)
A/Prof Alana Lentin (BNK)

For more watch: http://tinyurl.com/b6jvzhl
Alana Lentin's Office Hours:
Parramatta EQ
Mondays 11.00-12.00
Bankstown 1.G.67
Tuesdays 3.00-4.00
Wedensdays 12.00-1.00

Reclaim Australia Rally, July 2015
Key Ideas to take away
Race is something that DOES, not something that IS

Race is a technology for the management of human difference
Full transcript