Loomba Intro.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Majorie Rubright

Race and Colonialism: Introduction (Loomba)  Then and now: Othello was respected and recognized but not accepted into Venetian society  Black majority oppressed by a white minority  Slave trade began in Renaissance, slaves in Europe  Blackness = ultimate sign of degradation, viewed negatively b/c of colonial domination of Africans  Differing views: superficial quality/ literally skin-deep, sign of inner traits (unchangeable)  Colour issue in Us, history of slavery, anti-jewish, anti-arab,  religious cultural difference  Argument that caste is not race b/c it’s social while o/s are biological  If human beings were sorted into groups on the basis of shared internal characteristics, we would get groupings that contradict the ones that are commonly understood as racial o Ex: absence or presence of sickle-cell gene (race/ biology) o What we call race does not indicate natural or biological divisions so much as social divisions characterized as if they were natural or biological  Shakespeare’s day, began bringing foreign slaves, trade w/ outsiders, expel foreign ppl  Aware of power, wealth, and learning from o/ ppl  Awareness intensified European and Christian superiority  Debates about religion, culture, bodily diff shape dev. F racial thinking over next 400 yrs  Shakespeare’s plays= powerful medium for transmitting and shaping ideas abt colonialism & race  Strive towards future where racial thinking has less destructive power enables us to find a past which had not acquired that power yet  3 broad streams of ideas: o Medieval/ classical notions about skin colour, religion, and community  Views shaped by Greek and Roman interactions with people the conquered, crusades, interactions b/w jews, muslims, and Christians w/ Europe esp Iberia o Notion of otherness via cross-cultural interactions  Outsiders: enticing/ threatening  Overseas trade and colonization  Fast-expanding Turkish Empire, model for Europe’s own ambitions o Difference b/w men and women, rich and poor, nobility and ordinary  Gender, class, national difference  Spanish blue blood (claimed by + aristocrat fams, claim never been contaminated by moors or jew’s in the bloodline)  Racial diff imagined in terms of distortion of normal gender roles/ sexual behv.  Ex: jewish men said to menstruate  Insiders & Outsiders: Shakespeare’s theatre called itself the globe, influential in forming English public opinion about the world.  Europe’s self-definition: most superior civilization, depended on construction of an “Orient” different from itself as irrational, backward, deviant region o Rep’d Europe’s other  English differentiated themselves from new world savages, dark skinned
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