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The Apparatus of Racism – comments on the racial-colonial

In March 2017, I was invited to participate in The Apparatus of Racism, a two-day symposium held at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt on the NSU Complex and the embeddedness of racism in the German state and its institutions, particularly the police. On the second evening, I participated in…

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My destiny was not an island Nor girt-bound now I was trapped by grey horizons I am caged by yellow The grey of pavements beckons There is blood in their pulse The yellow of sun on sandstone Is not mine to love

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The scholars, scholarship and scholarly histories denied

W.E.B. Du Bois

This is the fourth blog post in my Race Critical and Decolonial Sociology series for my course at The New School Department of Sociology in Spring 2017. This week we are beginning to discuss books, mainly new works, in race critical studies. The rest of the syllabus is here (leave a comment if you want access to the Google folder with all the readings). This week we are beginning with  discussion of Aldon Morris’s The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology. My review of the book can be read here. And you can listen to Aldon Morris discussing the book here. In this post, I attempt to link Morris’s discussion of Du Bois’s intellectual legacy for global sociology to a discussion of both the race blindness of sociology and, Zine Magubane puts it, its paradoxical foundations in wholly racial social contexts. I ask what Du Bois’s invocation to treat race as central, and not marginal, to sociology (and the social sciences in general) signals in terms of the challenges facing sociology today in the face of the pressing need for a truly global sociology attentive to the formational role played by race and coloniality. In this I am guided by the vital work of Gurminder Bhambra and would like to thank RCDS student William Borstall for suggesting the work of Zine Magubane on ‘America’s Racial Ontology’ which I did not previously know.

“Racism is more objected to than understood in sociology” (Barnor Hesse 2014: 141).

“For the rest of his very long life, Du Bois was to be politically and theoretically as actively engaged in the global, world-systemic series of ‘gaze from below’ anti-color line, therefore anti-colonial cum antiapartheid struggles, as he was to be in his own ‘local’ U.S. one – a position Fanon would similarly adopt” (Wynter 2015: 51-2).

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On relationality in race research

This is the third contribution to the Race Critical and Decolonial Sociology blog series. In it I look at the argument advanced  by David Theo Goldberg (2009) that a relational approach to the study of race and racism reveals more than a comparativist approach does. I propose, however, that before being able to discuss the relative adequacy of either approach, we must have a good understanding of what is being researched when we centre race in accounts of historical or contemporary social, political and economic processes.

In 2014 I published an article, Postracial Silences: The Othering of Race in Europe, in a book I co-edited with Hamburg sociologist Wulf D. Hund, Racism and Sociology.

I examined work by mainstream ‘migration, ethnicities and minorities’ (MEM) scholars in Europe. Through institutes and departments often aligned with policy-making, these scholars often receive the lion’s share of the funding to research issues which, from a race critical perspective, are wholly about race. Yet their work mainly tends to neglect, elide or even deny the salience of race. In my view there are three main reasons for this:

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Digital Antiracisms Website

Justine Humphry and I have launched a new website for our work on digital antiracisms. Please visit to stay abreast of events, publications and other initiatives including the recent visit tp Sydney of Jessie Daniels, author of White Lies and Cyber Racism. Save

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11 mistakes

Flowers on the doormat Bell rung Footsteps on chill steps No one. ‘You didn’t thank me for the flowers’ The first mistake No. The first mistake was crouching down Craning to hear Whizzbangs Rattles spun Above heads Amid flags Waving in jubilant annihilation Above land not ours. The boy cross-legged…

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Real Life, Mama

Work in Progress I didn’t know a baby could be a weapon And it took nearly 7 years to see what she represented When While idling on my phone I came across a mention Not of me (Though it could have been) Or so I felt Viscerally But wasn’t this…

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State Murder – Updated

This post has had to have been updated to another death of a young man – a victim of state racism leading directly to the neglect of his health and ultimately the loss of his life – on Nauru on May 11 2016. Rakib – from Bangladesh, died of multiple…

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Divestment protestors occupy Australian Council of Superannuation Investors Conference

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 14.23.07Reposting news of this very important action by Divest from Detention activists:

Text of pamphlet distributed at meeting of Australian Council of Superannuation investors annual conference, Melbourne, 10th May 2016.

This morning, 10th May 2016, the Divest from Detention network has targeted the annual conference of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) in Melbourne:

Mandatory detention cannot be risk managed: close the camps
In August 2015, in the wake of HESTA’s decision to divest from Transfield, it was reported that ACSI was “seeking more information” on the situation in the Manus and Nauru detention camps. Just in case ACSI and its member funds haven’t noticed, people are still being raped, illegally detained, tortured and are still dying on Manus and Nauru, all on the dime of some of Australia’s largest super funds. Compensation for illegal detention on Manus Island is likely to run into the millions if not billions.

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Alana Lentin