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After the 1960s, especially after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, many people felt we had moved on to a “post-racial” world where racism and related white supremacist social movements no longer warranted concern. However, in the US, that has been challenged directly with the continued disproportionate killings of African Americans by law enforcement, and the establishment of the current US presidential administration which has direct ties to white nationalists. Furthermore, in many countries worldwide we have seen a surge in white nationalism (using a variety of names like ultra-right, alt-right, etc.) and surges in violent attacks against non-white and/or non-Christian peoples, giving much of the world pause to reconsider how problematic racism continues to be.
This class will examine how racism and white nationalist movements have emerged, formed, and transformed over the course of modern history, focusing mostly on the US. We shall explore how racism and related social movements are intricately woven into the modern world-system and go through waves that tend to parallel these macro-structural global economic ebbs and tides.
We will look closely at the context in which and reasons why white supremacy and nationalist groups form and continue to persist as well as what they want, how they vary, and the role of the State in legitimizing them. Relatedly, we will examine concepts of whiteness and non-whiteness, their formation, intersectionality, and identity politics. More, we’ll explore how racism binds, transforms, and foments in relation to political ideology, religious beliefs, notions of gender, sexuality, and a range of other cultural formations.
Further, we will closely examine antisemitism, anti-Mexican racism, anti-Black racism, and Islamophobia as well as social movements emerging in resistance to white supremacy, such as Black nationalism, the Chicano Movement, the American Indian Movement, the Immigrant Rights Movement, and more: there’s no strict limitation with regard to the groups cover addressed in the course, and all conversations are welcome.