AAST 407: Seminar in Comparative Racialization

several people on a crowded boat in the ocean

This course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore racial formation from a global, transnational, and comparative perspective. Moving beyond an exclusive focus on race in the United States, we examine historical and contemporary processes of racial formation in contexts such as Latin America, South Africa, Europe, Palestine/Israel, Canada, Australia, and the Caribbean. In doing so, we discuss topics such as colonization and empire, slavery and genocide, settler colonialism and racial capitalism, gender and sexuality, national liberation and post-colonialism, and war and policing.

The course is organized into three sections. First, we examine the foundations for comparative studies on race and ethnicity.  After an introduction to the concept of racial formation, we look at the historical processes that gave rise to racialized social structures: colonialism, slavery, genocide, and empire. The first section of the course ends by considering struggles for civil rights and decolonization after World War II.   Next, the course examines contemporary processes shaping racial formation: migration, colorblindness, globalization, policing, and war. Finally, the course considers topics and issues in contemporary racialized societies, including the politicization of identity, the marketing of race, racial economies of desire, settler colonialism, anti-Black racism, and struggles for social and racial justice.