Contested Conjunctures of (Anti-)Racism
(Anti-)Racism features prominently on the political agenda. Initially coined as a slogan to protest the impunity of police officers killing black Americans in the US, Black Lives Matters became a transnational movement in 2020. Meanwhile students in Oxford, Amsterdam and other campuses campaign for the decolonisation of the curriculum in Anthropology, Sociology, Political Theory and other disciplines. At the same time, Germany’s minister of interior prevented an independent inquiry on racism within the police with the argument that racism was illegal and that the police, as it is tasked with enforcing the law, can by definition not be racist. This argumentation confirms the critique of multi-culturalism as the ideology of post-racial societies that, while celebrating cultural diversity, brackets questions of socio-economic equality and persistent racist discrimination. This raises the question how one can assemble evidence on racism in societies that officially define themselves as anti-racist? How can one account for racism with scientific methods if racist discrimination is primarily based on subjective experience? And what kind of ideals and conceptions of conviviality can we think of to overcome the intrinsically reactionary nature of anti-racism? Since their inception in the 1960s, antiracist struggles have featured at times heated debates on how to define, know and combat racism. To engage with the epistemic, theoretical and political challenges raised by contemporary conjunctions of (anti-)racism, this course will revisit and discuss key contributions to these debates.