RACE AND RACIALIZATION FROM PRE-MODERNITY TO TODAY: JUXTAPOSING TRANS-ATLANTIC AND TRANS-PACIFIC EXPERIENCES
- Date: –17:00
- Location: Engelska parken Venue 22-1017, House 22 Engelska parken.
- Lecturer: Yasuko Takezawa, Takezawa, Institute for Research in Humanities of Kyoto University.
- Organiser: Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism (CEMFOR)
- Contact person: jeannette escanilla
Since 2001, Takezawa has been leading a multidisciplinary and international collaborative research project on ethnicity/race, winning consecutively one of the largest grants in the humanities and social sciences from the Japanese government.
Her English publications include: Breaking the Silence: Redress and Japanese American Ethnicity (Cornell University Press, 1995, the Japanese version won the Shibuzawa Award from the Japanese Association of Cultural Anthropology) Racial Representations in Asia (Takezawa ed. Kyoto University Press/ Transpacific Press, 2011); Transpacific Japanese American Studies: Dialogues on Race and Racializations (co-ed. with Gary Okihiro, U of Hawai’I Press, 2016).
The prevailing rhetoric within the field of race studies is that the concept of race is a modern Western construct. This arises principally from the Trans-Atlantic encounter of slavery and the colonization of indigenous peoples, in addition to the birth of the scientific racism complicit in both. However, few studies have attempted to juxtapose the experiences of racism and racialization in the Trans-Atlantic with those in the Trans-Pacific. In this talk, I seek ways of understanding race and racialization distinct from the existing theory of race as a modern Western construct, juxtaposing the experiences of both Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific case-studies, in particular those in Japan such as Burakumin, from pre-modern times to provide a common understanding. Adopting an abstraction of the highest common factors from the various phenomena constituting the idea of race, we can identify three dimensions which I call (1) race (where perceived differences are understood as inherited and developed indigenously); (2) Race (seen as a scientific concept based on classifying people); and RR (Race as Resistance, emphasising the agency of a minority against hegemony, domination, and inferior placing in racial hierarchies). Using this terminology applied to the juxtaposed Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific cases, I argue that the idea of race is not a modern Western product, nor is it universal. By promoting dialogue amongst scholars on race we can come to a more nuanced understanding of the term.