Race and Racialism: a University of the Commons class


This course will address the topic of race, the issue of race, and the structure of racialization in the US. The concept of race has primarily two dimensions, first, in its existence as a social construct (if you think race is biological, you will have to listen very carefully during the first class), and second, in the fact the it has a history, as do all cultural structures.

The Structures of Racialization
Instructor: Steve Martinot

Mondays, 5:30 - 7:30
January 28th - February 25

We have all seen the increase in people of color shot down by the police. It accompanies the fact that the US has developed the largest prison system in the world, much larger per capita than those governments common known as ruthless dictatorships that suppress freedom of speech and press. 75% of these prisoners are people of color, meaning the people of color have a 9-to-1 greater chance of being imprisoned for the same crime as a white person, with crime rates relatively even between the two communities.

Why is this happening? What are the mechanisms that are driving this disparity? Where does it come from? Why is this disparity even possible in the wake of the civil rights movements? Why is a resurgence of what Michelle Alexander has called The New Jim Crow, possible? What makes this resurgence almost seem "natural"?

This class will attempt to plumb the depths of the political and cultural structures that underlie what is happening, and address the question of how the concepts of race and racialization condition overall political processes as well as personal behavior.

Steve Martinot a retired professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University, author of "The Rule of Racialization" and "The Machinery of Whiteness," editor of "Maps and Mirrors: Topologies of Art and Politics," "The Problems of Resistance: Studies in Alternate Political Cultures," and "Forms in the Abyss: a Philosophical Bridge between Sartre and Derrida," and translator of "Racism" by Albert Memmi.


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