ANTB20 Lecture 06: Cultural Citizenship and the Body Politics
Nation discourse and cultural discourse –eg:
Aimé Césaire: When I turn on my radio, when I hear that Negroes have been lynched in America, I say
that we have been lied to: Hitler is not dead; when I turn on my radio, when I learn that Jews have been
insulted, mistreated, persecuted, I say that we have been lied to: Hitler is not dead; when finally, I turn
on my radio and hear that in Africa forced labor has been inaugurated and legalized, I say that we
certainly been lied to: Hitler is not dead”
Way of saying that “genocide” or the force that Hitler created isn’t dead. Ideology goes beyond Hitler!
His disciple is Franz Fanon. His father was middle classed, trained in France. He said “I only become
aware of race when I walk around.”
Race was a force to colonize groups. Race is a way to create identity. Draw on readings example of
Chinese getting together outside of China to talk about violence towards Chinese people in Indonesia.
Nigeria: Yoruba (educated) and Northerners are violent- more past stereotypes than present.
So totally: Race is an ideology:
• According to Louis Althusser, ideology does not "reflect" the real world but "represents” the
“imaginary relationship of individuals" to the real world.
• In other words, we are always within ideology because of our reliance on language to establish
• The main purpose of ideology is in "'constituting' concrete individuals as subjects”- or way to
• Looking more closely at subjects: So pervasive is ideology in its constitution of subjects that it
forms our very reality and appears to us as "true" or "obvious." Through "interpellation,"
individuals are turned into subjects…..Process whereby individuals acknowledge and respond to
ideologies, thereby recognizing themselves as subjects.
Althusser's example is the hail from a police officer: "'Hey, you there!’… Assuming that the
theoretical scene I have imagined takes place in the street, the hailed individual will turn round.
By this mere one-hundred-and-eighty-degree physical conversion, he becomes a subject.
Another example for subject:-
An excerpt from Franz Fanon’s (Black Skin, White Mask) book: “Look, a Negro!” It was an
external stimulus that flicked over me as I passed by. I made a tight smile.
“Look, a Negro!” It was true. It amused me… “Mama, see the Negro! I’m frightened!” Frightened! Frightened! Now they were beginning to be
afraid of me… I could no longer laugh, because I already knew that there were legends, stories,
history and above all, historicity…
I subjected myself to an objective examination, I discovered my blackness, my ethnic
characteristics; and I was battered down by tom-toms, by cannibalism, intellectual deficiency,
fetichism, racial defects, slave-ships…
He observes himself as a racial type or historicity. He brings with him a story that is heavily
So is race a genetic condition or group?
• ‘Race’ is a natural category that helps define humans according to shared phenotypical features
(physical features) and/or biology (genes / ‘blood’)? It is a social cateogory
• ‘Race’ is not a genetic transmission of essential characteristics or groups homogenous within
• “Race”, as an interpretive category, did not become a household word in Europe until the 16 C. th
• The distinctness of ‘Race’ developed out of an understanding of evolutionary theory and the
association of certain people’s phenotype with cultural attribu