A series of lectures on race and racism in the UK
The Concept and Construction of Race
March 09, 2008 05:56 PM PDT
This episode focuses on the concept and construction of race, and the production of racial knowledge. We will examine race as a contingent historical, social, political, economic and cultural construction that has not only served as a mode of human differentiation, classification or categorization, but has justified various historical practices from colonialism and slavery to contemporary forms of legal discrimination and exclusion.
We will explore the practices that the concept and construction of race has justified, the relationship between the concept and construction of race and racism itself, the role and function of the racial ‘other’ within the construction of one’s own identity, culture and ideology, and how the concept and construction of race has changed over time. Finally, we will discuss and debate the viability of race as a concept in/for social, political, cultural and theoretical identification, classification and analysis.Race & Immigration in the UK
March 10, 2008 08:42 AM PDT
Historically, in the British imagination, the concept of race had been tied to the colonial project and the racial ‘other’ located in the colonies. In 1945, as the Empire began to crumble and colonial immigration to Britain began on a mass scale the relationship with, and thus concept and construction of, the racial ‘other’ changed dramatically. We will focus on the key moments in immigration into Britain from 1945 to the present day and examine how immigration policy has changed over the years. What are the main changes that have taken place and what are the political reasons underpinning them? What impact does immigration policy have on popular reactions to immigration and what role is played by the media, for example, in shaping them? What relationship is there between immigration in the UK and globally? What are the differences between so-called ‘economic’ and ‘forced’ migration? What are the main problems facing immigrants to the UK today? How have attitudes and policies on migration changed since the coming to power of New Labour in 1997? We shall focus in particular on two processes - the rolling back of asylum provisions and the rise of policies of managed migration.Race, Citizenship & identity
June 29, 2008 11:52 AM PDT
This lecture looks at how national identity is constructed in response to the perceived threat of the racial ‘other. This week the focus will be on two aspects: Firstly, how do race and racism shape the way in which those racialized as other experience and identify themselves. In particular, in what way does racialization lead to the formation of “ethnic minority communities” and what role does the “community” have in perpetuating racial identities and/or overcoming racism? Secondly, in what way does race and the existence of racial ‘others’ in British society lead to the construction of national identity and citizenship in reaction to so-called ‘foreign’ identities? Who can and who cannot be a member of the nation and a full citizen? How do such reactions manifest themselves (a) in popular culture (for example the revival of ‘Englishness’?) and (b) through policy (in particular the call for ‘national values’ and the implementation of policies such as citizenship tests and ceremonies). Throughout we shall be critiquing the very concept of identity. What does it really mean and is it a useful term for coping with the multiple facets that make up who we are, both as individuals and as groups? How have identities always been mediated by race, and how or should this be challenged?Race, the Law, Crime and Civil Unrest
March 02, 2009 06:58 AM PST
The perceived threat to Britain and corresponding moral panic about immigrants and the racial ‘other’ has often been constructed in terms of law and order, and particularly ‘black criminality’. In this Week we will focus on the relationship between ‘race, the law, crime and civil unrest. We will examine the relationship between race, crime and social, political and economic inequality or exclusion, how racial ‘other’ has been constructed and represented as a threat to law and order, how ‘black criminality’ has been constructed and represented, how the state and the police have dealt with black populations in terms of law, order and crime, and how this has affected race relations in Britain. We will also examine the various race riots which occurred in the 1960s-1980s and explore how these relate to the question of racial, social, political and economic inequality, exclusion, oppression and conflict, particularly with the State and police, and how these were constructed not as cases of political protest or unrest but as an extension of the same phenomenon of ‘black criminality’. This backdrop will help us understand the present-day racialization of crime, violence and, most notably terrorism. We will look at how two areas – so-called ‘black-on-black’ gun crime and ‘Islamic terrorism’ are currently affecting the way in which threat is constructed. Specifically, we shall examine how these perceptions are institutionalized and turned into law resulting in a host of measures that impact on the civil liberties of everyone living in Britain.
This is a series of 8 lectures on race and racism in the UK. The focus is on racism as embedded in the public political culture of the UK, a state marked by its colonial history and present-day postcoloniality. Themes range from: the construction and status of race through various discourses and contexts of colonialism, immigration and multiculturalism, issues of identity, representation, power, equality and difference, the relationship between race and other social-political identifications, categories and divisions such as nationality, class, gender, ethnicity and religion, the relationship between race and the law, crime and civil unrest, the history of racial conflict and the development of anti-racist activism, policies and legislation, forms of cultural politics, expression and resistance and, finally, current issues and debates concerning the status of race in Britain.
Dr Alana Lentin is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Sociology, University of Sussex. She is a political sociologist and race critical theorist, with a particular focus on multiculturalism and pluralism in Europe and India. Her postgraduate teaching is centred around the philosophy of social science, in particular feminist and postcolonial approaches, and social and political thought with a specific focus on deconstructing gender and decolonial thought. Her major publications include Racism and Anti-Racism in Europe (2004), Racism: A Beginner’s Guide (2008), Race and State (co-edited with Ronit Lentin, 2006) and The Politics of Diversity in Europe (co-edited with Gavan Titley, 2008). Her articles can be found in journals such as the European Journal of Social Theory, European Journal of Cultural Studies, Patterns of Prejudice, and Ethnic and Racial Studies and can be accessed via her personal website: www.alanalentin.net.
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