Developing Racial Literacy in a Post-Obama World

Date: 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 5:00pm

Location: 

CGIS South S020, Belfar Case Study Room

This event is hosted by the Latina/o Studies Working Group (LSWG)

PAULA M. L. MOYA is Professor of English and Director of the Research Institute of Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University.

Race, as a topic of discussion, has never been so present in our national discourse as now. Scholars and political commentators alike are opining loudly about race in the pages and on the airwaves of our major news organizations, and U.S. Americans are no longer calling for a national conversation about race as much as having one. Black Lives Matter, Mexican border walls, loyalty tests for Muslims, and the unfairness of Chinese trade policies have been only a few of the sparking points around which Americans have rallied as they imagine a future that allows “us” to protect ourselves from “them.”

How do we move forward in a country that, riven by race, nevertheless bids goodbye to its Black president? In this talk, Moya builds on the work of scholars from humanities and social science disciplines to argue for a way of reading that lays bare the historically-derived, institutional, and flexible nature of race as a system of social distinction and economic control. Focusing on the power of literature to shape racial perception, Moya highlights the importance of schemas to developing a sociological imagination that might allow Americans of all colors to work past our fears of each other.

This lecture will be followed by an informal dinner with the LSWG at 7PM in CGIS South S025. 

Co-sponsored by: Observatory of the Instituto Cervantes