COMPARATIVE RACISMS IN THE AMERICAS. This seminar will explore emergent forms of racism in the Americas as major obstacles to the construction of intercultural relations, racial and economic justice, and democracy. The emergence of these “new or renewed racisms” is still largely a relatively uncharted terrain in the social sciences. The course will thus explore this phenomenon as integral to the multicultural and what some have called “post racial” present defined by larger processes of economic and cultural globalization and transnational migration.
Throughout the course, we will also look at these emergent racisms in relation to the challenges facing indigenous and afro-descendant social movements, middle class political networks, and state and non-governmental institutions that seek to deepen democracy in the hemisphere by building the basis for active citizenship and racial and economic justice.
The following general questions will guide our analysis and discussion: What is the relationship between institutionalized racism, embedded in the fabric of these societies, and specific “racial eruptions,” which appear to stand in contrast to prevailing ideologies of pluralism and intercultural relations? How to explain the persistence of racial hierarchy in societies where powerful actors explicitly endorse principles of multicultural recognition and racial equality? Does government-endorsed multiculturalism mitigate the negative impact of extractive, industrial, informal and other economic activities on indigenous and afro-descendant peoples? Or alternatively, do these economies actually lay the groundwork for what could be considered a “racialized” economic order? How do the push and pull of migration tied to larger necessities of capital accumulation and labor exploitation shape the dynamics and logics of racism within the region? What types of constitutional reforms, legislative and public policy agendas have emerged to address these dynamics and logics?