Race, Colonialism, Diaspora
Post-WWII world history could easily be called the "age of postcoloniality," the period in which the European powers that directly controlled till then 85% of the world's land mass lost their colonies due to freedom struggles across the non-western world. Though postcoloniality indicates the legal identity of the former colonies, as independent political states, neocolonialism and globalization better describe the economic system that emerged in this period of so-called postcolonial modernity. This course will introduce you to the critical study of colonialism, imperialism, racism, and nationalism. It will expose you to the political and scholarly movements within which these terms are defined, interrogated, and redefined. Indeed, we will even challenge the notion of our era as postcolonial by examining the persistence of active settler colonialism across the continental U.S. and beyond. Though our focus will primarily be on British and U.S. modes of empire, we will actively link the twin legacies of slavery and empire in our understanding of race. That is, we will differentially connect, for example, “anti-black” racism within metropolitan society to modes of racism that emerge in the context of overseas expansion or settler colonialism. Finally, we will examine the visual and narrative media through which the inequalities and violences of colonialism, racism, and imperialism come into public view. We will ask how the representational forms we use to learn about the conditions of racism and colonialism—such as photography, documentary film, news print or literary narrative--ultimately impact not only what we can and cannot know about those conditions but also how we choose to act when confronted by the evidence and persistence of these violences.