SOCS 637
Race and Modernity

Demetrius Eudell   

Course Description
This course examines the idea of “Race” as a belief system specific to the epistemological field of Western culture. It begins with the emergence of the concept in the fifteenth century in the wake of the voyages of the Portuguese to the west coast of Africa and those of Columbus (under the aegis of the Spanish State) to the Americas. The course then analyzes significant moments in the history of “Race” such as the expropriation of the lands of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and the enslavement of Africans; its rearticulation in increasingly biological and eugenic terms in the nineteenth century (subsequently invoked in the Third Reich); its development in Latin America; and the central role (though often invisibilized) it plays in U.S. electoral politics. In other words, rather than viewing “Race” in the terms of the neo-liberal piety of aspiring for a color-blind society, or as an epiphenomenon of a putative more fundamental class structure, or as a consequence of patriarchy, the course examines “Race” as an organizing principle indispensable to the instituting and reproduction of our modern Western and westernized global civilization. It will therefore demonstrate that “Race” has taken the place of “myth” and religions in our secular (though still Judaeo-Christian) society, serving as an explanatory model and behavior regulatory mechanism, as the earlier forms had served for millennia in agrarian and non-industrial societies before the rise of the West. It can be argued that “Race” is but a modern iteration of the witchcraft complex.
Organization of Course

This course is organized as a graduate seminar. To this effect, students are expected to read a quantity of material and write substantially about it at a level commensurate with first or second year of graduate school. By enrolling in this course, you have consented to these terms. Given the intensive class schedule, students are expected to have completed all of the reading as well as some written assignments before the beginning of the course. Each day the class will be split into two separate sessions, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon, with a lunch break from 12:30 to 1:30. This means that a total of ten individual topics constitute the organization of the course. Students must submit weekly written analyses of the first seven sessions of the course by 6pm Friday, beginning January 28, 2005. Then, a paper on the eighth topic (on U.S. electoral politics) is due by Thursday, March 17, 2005. These papers are to be at least 3 (three) pages in length and should analyze the major arguments put forth in the readings, their methodological/evidence basis, as well as to what extent do you find the arguments convincing. The final paper, which should be at least 10 (ten) pages in length, should analyze the readings for the last class on Friday, March 18, 2005, and is due by Friday March 25, 2005.  Your final grade in the course will be determined by the short papers (50%), the final paper (30%) and class participation (20%).

Required Texts

These books have been ordered and can be purchased at Broad Street Books. A copy of each book has also been placed on reserve at Olin Library should you wish to consult the readings there. 

Derrick Bell, Silent Covenants

Thomas C. Holt, The Problem of Race in the 21st Century

Stefan Kühl, The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and National Socialism

Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye 

In addition to these books, other required readings have been placed on reserved at Olin Library.  Most of these can be accessed electronically via online reserve, but some are only available in hard copy. The readings available only in hard copy (that is, cannot be accessed electronically) have been noted by [HC] in the bibliography. Some readings have also been placed on reserve for another course AFAM 204 (Modern African American History), and these (noted by R-204) can be accessed by going to the link for this course. A bibliography of all the additional required readings follows the schedule of the course.

Course Schedule
March 14

Morning Session: Race and the Expansion of Europe in the 15th Century
      Readings:
Daniel Boorstin, The Discoverers
      Ivan Hannaford, Race: The History of an Idea in the West [R-204] 
      V. Y. Mudimbe, “Romanus Pontifex (1454) and the Expansion of Europe” [R-204]
      J. H. Parry, The Age of Reconnaisance
      A.    J. R. Russell-Wood, “Before Columbus: Portugal’s African Prelude…”
          [paper due January 28]

Afternoon Session: The Middle Passage, Slavery, and the West
      Readings:
John B. Boles, Black Southerners, 1619-1869
     
David Eltis, The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas
      George Fredrickson, The Black Image in the White Mind (pp. 43-70) [HC] 
      Patrick Manning, Slavery and African Life
            [paper due February 4]

March 15

Morning Session: Race Discourse in the Nineteenth Century
      Readings:  Fredrickson, The Black Image in the White Mind (pp. 71-164) [HC]
      Reginald Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny [HC]
           [paper due February 11] 

Afternoon Session: Racial Discourse in Latin American and the Caribbean
      Readings:  Richard Graham, The Idea of Race in Latin America [HC]
      Verena Martinez-Alier, Marriage, Class and Colour in 19th Century Cuba
      Ernesto Sagás, Race and Politics in the Dominican Republic
      Winthrop R. Wright, Café con Leche: Race, Class, and National Image in Venezuela
            [paper due February 18]

March 16

Morning Session: The Discourse of the Aryanism
      Readings: Martin Bernal, Black Athena
      Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wipperman, The Racial State: Germany 1933-1945
      James Jones, Bad Blood    
      Stefan Kühl, The Nazi Connection
            [paper due February 25] 

Afternoon Session: Race and Pedagogy
      Readings:  Derrick Bell, Silent Covenants (pp. 1-93)
      Elaine Mensh and Harry Mensh, The IQ Mythology [HC]
      John Ogbu, Minority Education and Caste [HC]
      Carter G. Woodson, The Miseducation of the Negro [R-204]
           [paper due March 4]

March 17

Morning Session: The Social Movements of the 1950s and 1960s [all R-204]
      Readings: James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time & “An Open Letter to Angela Davis”
      H. Rap Brown, Die Nigger Die!
      Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
      Emma Jones Lapsansky, “Black Power is My Mental Health”
      Malcolm X, Malcolm X Speaks
           [paper due March 11] 

Afternoon Session: Race and U.S. Electoral Politics
      Readings: Thomas and Mary Edsall, Chain Reaction
      Ronald Walters, White Nationalism, Black Interests [HC]
           [paper due March 17]

March 18

Morning Session: Understanding Race as a Belief System
      Readings: Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
      Sylvia Wynter, “1492: A New World View” [R-204] 

Afternoon Session: Where Do We Go From Here?
      Readings:  Derrick Bell, Silent Covenants (p. 94-201)
      Thomas C. Holt, The Problem of Race in the 21st Century
            [Final paper due March 25]

Reserve Readings

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (New York: The Dial Press, 1963), 17-24.

___. “An Open Letter to My Sister Angela Y. Davis in If They Come in the Morning, Angela Y. Davis, Ruchell Magee, the Soledad Brothers, and Other Political Prisoners, eds. (New York: New American Library/Signet, 1971), 19-23. 

Martin Bernal, Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1987), 317-326, 387-392. 

John B. Boles, Black Southerners, 1619-1869 (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1983), 52-84. 

Daniel Boorstin , The Discoverers (New York: Random House, 1983), 165-172. 

H. Rap Brown, Die Nigger Die! (New York: The Dial Press, 1969), 1-11. 

Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wipperman, The Racial State: Germany, 1935-1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 136-197. 

Thomas Edsall and Mary Edsall, “Building a Top-Down Coalition” in Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes on American Politics (New York: W. W. Norton, 1991), 3-31. 

David Eltis, The Rise of Slavery in the Americas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 1-28. 

George Fredrickson, The Black Image in the White Mind: The Debate on Afro-American Character and Destiny, 1817-1914 (1971: Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1987), 43-70, 71-164. [HC] 

Richard Graham, ed. The Idea of Race in Latin America (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990), 8-69. [HC] 

Ivan Hannaford, Race: The History of an Idea in the West (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), xi-xvi, 3-16. [R-204] 

Reginald Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981), 98-228. [HC] 

James H. Jones, Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (New York: The Free Press, 1-29, 206-229, 252-255. 

Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (1963) in A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., James Melvin Washington, ed. (New York: Harper and Row, 1986), 289-302. 

Emma Jones Lapsansky, “Black Power is My Mental Health” in Black Americans, John F. Szwed, ed. (Washington, DC: Voice of America Forum Series, 1970), 3-15. 

Patrick Manning, Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental and African Slave Trades (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 1-37. 

Verena Martinez-Alier, Marriage, Class and Colour in Nineteenth Century Cuba: A Study of Racial Attitudes and Sexual Values in a Slave Society (1974; Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1989), 71-99. 

Elaine Mensh and Harry Mensh, The IQ Mythology: Class, Race, Gender and Inequality (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991), 1-46, 85-107. [HC]  

V. Y. Mudimbe, “Romanus Pontifex (1454) and the Expansion of Europe” in Race, Discourse and the Origins of the Americas: A New World View, Vera Lawrence Hyatt and Rex Nettleford, eds. (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995), 59-65. [R-204] 

John U. Ogbu, Minority Education and Caste: The American System in Cross-Cultural Perspective (New York: Academic Press, 1978), 1-42, 343-370. [HC] 

J. H. Parry, The Age of Reconnaissance (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), 19-52, 227-241.

 A.    J. R. Russell-Wood, “Before Columbus: Portugal’s African Prelude to the Middle Passage and Contribution to Discourse on Race and Slavery” in Race, Discourse and the Origins of the Americas: A New World View, Vera Lawrence Hyatt and Rex Nettleford, eds. (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995), 134-168. 

Ernesto Sagás, Race and Politics in the Dominican Republic (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000), 1-43. 

Ronald W. Walters, White Nationalism, Black Interests: Conservative Public Policy and the Black Community (Detroit: Wayne State University, 2003), 67-170. 

Carter G. Woodson, The Miseducation of the Negro (1933; New York: AMS Press, 1977), ix-xiv, 1-25.

 Winthrop R. Wright, Café con Leche: Race, Class, and National Image in Venezuela (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990), 1-12. 

Sylvia Wynter, “1492: A New World View” in Race, Discourse and the Origins of the Americas: A New World View, Vera Lawrence Hyatt and Rex Nettleford, eds. (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995), 5-57. 

Malcolm X, Malcolm X Speaks (New York: Pathfinder, 1965), 18-44, 212-213.

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