Fall 2008

SOCS 637
Race and Modernity

Eudell,Demetrius L.

10/24/2008 - 10/28/2008
Note: Special Schedule -

This course will run as a one-week immersion course from October 24-28.

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; its challenge during the social movements of the 1950s and 960s; and the central role it plays in U.S. electoral politics, especially given Barack Obama's recent campaign for presidency. Additionally, the class will analyze the current deployment of the practices of globalization for its unstated racial implications. Thus, the course attempts to examine the discourse on "Race" not within the paradigms that are often employed in both popular and academic contexts, but rather as an organizing principle that has remained indispensable to the instituting and reproduction of our contemporary Western and westernized global civilization.

Sources to be studied include Robert L. Allen, Black Awakening in Capitalist America; Pierre Bourdieu, Firing Back: Against the Tyranny of the Market; Thomas and Mary Edsall, Chain Reaction; Reginald Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny; Stefan Kuhl, The Nazi Connection; Elaine and Harry Mensh, The IQ Mythology: Class, Race, Gender, and Inequality; and Ernesto Sagas, Race in the Dominican Republic.

Performance in the course will be based on seven weekly short response papers (3-5 pages) submitted in advance of the course (due on Tuesdays, beginning September 9 until October 21, 2008) as well as a final paper (10-15 pages). In addition to these, oral presentation and regular contributions made to class discussion will be considered in the final evaluation of each student's performance in the course.

Given that this is an immersion course, students will be expected to have completed the reading and the written assignments before the beginning of class (not including the final paper, which will be due after the final class meeting). A course syllabus will be available at the beginning of the fall term. This course is not open to auditors.

Demetrius Eudell (B.A. Dartmouth College; M.A., Ph.D. Stanford University) is associate professor of history. He is author of The Political Languages of Emancipation in the British Caribbean and the U.S. South (University of North Carolina Press, 2002). Professor Eudell's research interests include the history and culture of the Americas, slavery, abolition, and emancipation. Click here for more information about Demetrius Eudell.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 0

Texts to purchase for this course:

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