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Lecture

January 13-class notes.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCI 3020
Professor
Amina Mire

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Soci 3020­ RACE and ETHNICITY Social construction of racial differences ­ all ideologies and systems of knowledge are socially constructed ­ race and ethnicity are not distinct categories Modern construction of race and in terms of visible signs ­ ancient regimes had no racial concepts (Greece, roman empire) ­ symbolic ideas of blackness and whiteness existed in ancient civilizations but  these ideas had primarily symbolic meanings and were not linked with “race” in  terms of skin colour (morphological differences) ­ middle ages/helenic/medieval societies believed the existence of symbolic forces  of darkness/lightness. We call these ancient notions “symbolic­not racial.” ­ The modern invention of “race” ­ racial thinking and racial consciousness coincided with the age of imperial  expansion. Critical historic moment of the social and the political order of racism  can be dated to the conquest of the Americas in 1492. ­The conquest of the Americas was a paradigmatic shift for the Europeans “Human Race” according early creationistic thinking ­ Creationism, also known as the doctrine of thee great of being reinforced early  thinking about racial differences and racial hierarchies ­ The GCB was based on the biblical belied that all human beings had the same  origin (ie, from Adam and Eve) ­ Creationism shifts to scientific racism ­renaissance ­The birth of the mechanical universe ­galileo and Copernicus ­heliocentric new cosmology ­ new scientific discoveries Racism in the ge of the “in­enlightenment” ­the age of the enlightenment ushered new method of the classificatory systems,  new “scientific”rules nd methods of inquiry and that included study and the  classification of human beings ­ before 1859 punlications of Charles Darwin’s the origin of the species, all forms  of theorizing race and racial differences incuded versions of the biblical narrative  of the Great Chain of Being. Early figures include Carlusus Linnaues and Johann  Blumenbach. Blumenbach’s theorized “racial” differences ­ Blumenbach and system of racial classificatory system.  KEY TERMS: Monogenism (all humans had same origin) Visible difference as a  result of degeneration Five varieties of the same ‘race’: Caucasian, Mongolian, Malay, Ethiopian, American Blumenbach’s theorized racial differences as Degeneration ­ Racial degeneration causes carrying degree of decline from the original human  race (white) Caucasian. ­ Racial degeneration as a variation and not a sign of categorical racial differences ­ Aryan mythology of the Birth of the Caucasian race began with Blumenach’s  theory of racial degeneration Story: Aryan (Asian) people crossed the Caucasus mountains and becomes a  “Caucasian” Northern European Variety! Key to this theory are the spatial crossing­which marks the symbolic significance of  the Caucasus Mountains and the spatial transformation of racialized whiteness. This  myth figures both in the myth of the
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