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SOC 507 (1)
Sal Guzzo (1)
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Sociology
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SOC 507
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Sal Guzzo

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Chapter 1 Theories of Ethnicity and RaceT Aristotle The greatest contribution of Greece to the institution of slavery is most likely the theory of natural slavery Essentially states that slavery is a fact of biology a natural condition of some peopleT Aristotle Aristotle believed that there were natural slaves and natural masters dictated by their biology He felt that the best hope for fulfillment for a natural slave was to serve a natural master Natural slaves were in possessed of inferior intellects and this was an indication of what their proper status should be Aristotles theory would be popular throughout much of history even used by Americans who enslaved blacks during the sixteenth to nineteenth centuriesT Medieval Muslim philosophers tainted by religion Ibn Sina believed that some races are slavish by nature Ibn Khaldun writes that it is mentioned in the Torah that Noah cursed his son Ham he accepts the idea that slavery was inflicted upon Hams descendants Slavery existed in Islam but enslaving other Muslims was not allowed Only enslaving others was allowed Sharia law permits slaveryT What does race depend on Physical Traits Skin colour hairtype eyeshape faceshapestature etc all have biological basisbut not necessarily linked no unique cluster of traits identify race European African Asian etc all have degrees of variation Evolutionarily recent differences Egskincoloran adaptation result of selection to regions withlots of sunlight Notion of race changes a cross time and placewhat counts as being black in the US doesnt track what is black in Australia India or Africa3 billion bases Any two unrelated individuals share 999 of their genomes identical So only 01 genetic difference between individuals Vast majority of that 01 difference is in noncoding regions of the genomeHomo sapiens We last shared a common ancestor with our closest living primate relatives the African apes chimps and gorillas between 5 and 8 million years ago Comparisons of our genetic material with that of chimpanzees reveals that we are about 983986 genetically identical with this African ape It has been estimated that differences in only about 50 genes separate them from usEthnicity and race are relational concepts They are social relations meaning they represent the lived experiences of individuals and groups and are important dimensions of social inequality Ethnicity is usually associated with peoples cultural characteristics mostly symbolic such as customs beliefs ideas morals language history folklore and other symbols that hold the group together and assist others to recognize them as separate race is an unnecessary way of dividing human populations into groups based on physical characteristics racial categories have their roots in nineteenthcentury Western pseudoscience supported and justified ideologically by the Enlightenment Enlightenment or Age of Reason was a cultural movement of intellectuals in the 17th and 18th centuries Its purpose was to improve society using reason challenge ideas grounded in tradition and faith and advance knowledge through the scientific method The term ethnicity has its roots in the Greek word and means people In proChristian times it was used to differentiate people who were not Christians they were called ethnicsIn Ancient Greece the standard term used to refer to cohesive social groups formed on the basis of kinship was phyle which some today associate with tribe or race Ethnic groups had the same customs eating habits dress codes and historical symbols They shared what we call today a sense of belonging together T Hobbes The argument of Hobbes and before him a Dutch theorist called Hugo Grotius commented on case of slavery Grotius and Hobbes argued that if a people were conquered by force war they could bargain themselves into slavery in exchange for not being killedHerodotus a historian was able to differentiate among subgroups within the same conceived ethnic group He distinguishes btwn Greeks and Barbariansbut his hierarchy is not a racial one instead it is based on the notion of freedom Greeks were free Barbarians were not Racialization and racism was present in the Enlightenment in the works of John Locke Leibniz Hume Kant and VoltaireT John Lock specified conditions under which wars were justified and Negro slaves captured In his eyespeople of colour were associated with lack of rational capacity17th C English Philosopher Probably one of the most influential Enlightenment thinkers He influenced the founders of the American Republic Slavery is the state of being in the absolute or arbitrary power of another On Lockes definition of slavery there is only one rather remarkable way to become a legitimate slave In order to do so one must be an unjust aggressor defeated in war The just victor then has the option to either kill the aggressor or enslave them Locke tells us that the state of slavery is the continuation of the state of war between a lawful conqueror and a captive in which the conqueror delays to take the life of the captive and instead makes use of him This is a continued war because if conqueror and captive make some compact for obedience on the one side and limited power on the other the state of slavery ceasesDavid Hume distinguished btwn national and racial characteristics and btwn moral and physical determinants of the national character Mind and nature in his theory are correlated in various ways he believed that climate and air are the determinants of perceived human differencesMoral causes such as customs economic conditions government and external relations also influence the minds and manners of ppl Immanuel Kant following Hume proceeded from national character to race He held that germans were superior to all others in terms of national character bc they represented a synthesis of English intuition for the sublime and French feeling for the beautiful Racial subordination was an a priori principle He thought that differences btwn whites and Negroes were so fundamental that skin colour was the casual explanation of assumed differences in metal capacitiesKant was the first to give a definition of the word race in 1775 He defined it as Among the deviations that is among the hereditary dissimilarities that we find in animals that belong to a single line of decent are those called races Races are deviations that are constantly preserved over many generations and come about as a consequence of migration dislocation to other region or through interbreeding with other deviations of the same line of decent which always produces halfbreeding offspringKant says Humanity is at its greatest perfection in the race of the whites The yellow Indians do have a meager talent The Negros are far below them and at the lowest point are a part of the American peopleIndians as well as Negros bring with them and pass on to their offspring no more of this impulse to work when living in other climates than what they had needed in their old mother land and that this inner predisposition might be extinguished just so little as the outwardly perceivable predisposition These racist ideas existed in conjunction with his ideas on freedom everyone is born free since he has not yet committed a crime He did believe that criminals could be reduced to the level of slave but couldnt not be used for a shameful purpose and could not be killedHe also believed their children were born freeAlthough Kant never condemned slavery he did condemn colonialism of America He didnt believe you could use the excuse that they were savages to take away their rightsHe also rejects the Lockean idea that lands uninhabited would remain empty and thus it was okto possess it Kant was against inter racial breedingRace mixing degrades the good race without lifting up the bad race
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