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Master Seminar | Is Racism an Environmental Threat? – The Intersectionality of Colonial Violence and Environmental Crises

Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology

Mondays (April 3 – July 10, 2023) | 14.00 – 15:30
Universitätsstraße 37, Seminargebäude 106, S25 (2nd floor)

The seminar is organized as a close reading of Ghassan Hage’s Is Racism an Environmental Threat? (2017). We will critically engage with the book’s main proposition that “practices of racial and ecological domination have the same root” (Hage 2017, ix) by identifying and discussing the underlying theorical and conceptual underpinnings of what Hage calls “generalized domestication”.

The seminar is organized in two parts. In the first introductory part, we start with an examination of a few key debates that are important for the understanding of the book:

  1. We will explore how race, racism and racialized thinking intersects with the nonhuman (Hartigan 2013) and is entangled with technologies of belonging and control (M’charek, Schramm, and Skinner 2013).
  2. This broader perspective brings questions of domestication to the front and how it can be understood as a specific practice of taming and controlling nature and the world in general (Cassidy and Mullin 2007; Sautchuk 2016; Swanson, Lien, and Ween 2018).
  3. Finally, for a better understanding of the intersection of race, racism and colonial violence we will situate our discussion in the context of anthropological knowledge production and the emergence of the “decolonizing generation” (Allen and Jobson 2016).

In the second part of the seminar, we will read Hage’s book and explore how it provides potential answers and/or complications for the provoked questions. On the one hand, the seminar attempts to highlight possible critical contributions of anthropology through unusual and provocative approaches to the topic of race and racism. On the other hand, the focus is also on examining how racialized thinking and racist logics go far beyond established and popular forms of racism.

Further information for students of the University of Cologne: Klips