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Book Launch & Conversation: Why Race Still Matters

Date(s) - 10/21/2020
5:00 am - 6:00 am

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Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan

Jewish-Muslim Research Network

Why Race Still Matters
by Alana Lentin (Western Sydney)
In conversation with Katharine Halls (CUNY)

October 21, 2020
5:00am (EST), 10:00am (GMT+1)

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We are pleased to offer a 20% discount on online purchases of the book for registered participants

‘Why are you making this about race?’ This question is repeated daily in public and in the media. Calling someone racist in these times of mounting white supremacy seems to be a worse insult than racism itself. In our supposedly post-racial society, surely it’s time to stop talking about race?

This powerful refutation is a call to notice not just when and how race still matters but when, how and why it is said not to matter. Race critical scholar Alana Lentin argues that society is in urgent need of developing the skills of racial literacy, by jettisoning the idea that race is something and unveiling what race does as a key technology of modern rule, hidden in plain sight. Weaving together international examples, she eviscerates misconceptions such as reverse racism and the newfound acceptability of ‘race realism’, bursts the ‘I’m not racist, but’ justification, complicates the common criticisms of identity politics and warns against using concerns about antisemitism as a proxy for antiracism.

Dominant voices in society suggest we are talking too much about race. Lentin shows why we actually need to talk about it more and how in doing so we can act to make it matter less.

In this conversation, Dr Lentin will discuss Chapter 4 of the book, Good Jew/Bad Jew, which examines the ways in which the objection to antisemitism has been used as a proxy for a commitment to antiracism on behalf of all racialized people, and responsibility for antisemitism is placed onto minoritized communities, in particular Muslims. She argues that in order to adequately theorize antisemitism today, we must instead see it as entangled with Islamophobia.

Dr Alana Lentin is Associate Professor in Cultural and Social Analysis at Western Sydney University. She is a European and West Asian Jewish woman who is a settler on Gadigal land. She works on the critical theorization of race, racism and antiracism. Her previous publications include The Crises of Multiculturalism: Racism in a neoliberal age (with Gavan Titley 2011), Racism and Sociology (2014 with Wulf D. Hund), Racism (2008) and racism and Anti-racism in Europe (2004). She is co-editor of the Rowman & Littlefield International book series, Challenging Migration Studies and former President of the Australian Critical Race & Whiteness Studies Association (2017-20). Her current research examines the interplay between race and digital technology and social media.

Katharine Halls is a PhD candidate in History at the CUNY Graduate Center and an award-winning translator of Arabic literature. She is also a co-founder and coordinator of the Jewish-Muslim Research Network.

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