Afro-American Studies | Pro Seminar: Race the Power of an Illusion?: An International and Comparative Exploration
A693 | 1089 | --

In this seminar, we will explore the evolution and practice(s) of
the idea of “race” in the U.S. and beyond.  While there is
widespread agreement that concepts and meanings of “race” vary from
context to context and over time (e.g., “race” as biology supeceded
by “race” as a social construct), what “race” is and how racism(s) is
(/are) expressed within those contexts remain intriguing questions
in the social sciences and African American & African Diaspora
Studies.  The major scientific, pseudo-scientific, and popular
conceptions of “race” have been dominated by a belief in the
centrality of biological factors as explanations of human variation,
intelligence, and human worth.  These explanations have, in turn,
been used to create and legitimize social distance among groups
classified and categorized accordingly.  Drawing on a variety of
readings, the aim of this course is not merely to examine how “race”
functions or how it determines the life chances of individual or
groups.  Rather, we seek to understand from international and
comparative perspectives how “race” became accepted and/or used in
the U.S. and other non-US societies.  In so doing, we will consider
and critique what is all too often considered settled, namely what
constitutes “race” and racialized (meaning socially defined
as “race”) relations.