Gender Studies | Themes in Gender Studies: A Postracial Society? From the Age of Eugenics to the Age of Obama
G205 | 10258 | Harrison

After the first African-American president was elected in 2008 the
news media was flooded with declarations of a “post-racial
America.”  Optimistic pundits predicted the dawn of a “colorblind”
society in which the significance of racial difference would soon
fade to obscurity.  Yet in the short time since Obama’s election the
United States has seen the passage of a highly controversial
immigration law in the state of Arizona, furor over the proposal to
build a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City, and the steady
expansion of race-based medicine.  All of these developments speak
to contemporary American understandings of “race,” a concept rooted
in beliefs about science, biology, and genes.  This course will
examine what race means in 21st century America. We will ask
ourselves why contemporary racial definitions matter and how they
inflect our day-to-day decisions ranging from the box we check on
the census to the way we understand our racial and ethnic heritage.
Students in this course will learn to question their assumptions
about race and about science, and to apply a new perspective to
contemporary social issues