Racial Formation in the Twenty-First Century

Racial Formation in the Twenty-First Century

Racial Formation in the Twenty-First Century

Racial Formation in the Twenty-First Century

Synopsis

Michael Omi and Howard Winant's Racial Formation in the United States remains one of the most influential books and widely read books about race. Racial Formation in the 21st Century, arriving twenty-five years after the publication of Omi and Winant's influential work, brings together fourteen essays by leading scholars in law, history, sociology, ethnic studies, literature, anthropology and gender studies to consider the past, present and future of racial formation. The contributors explore far-reaching concerns: slavery and land ownership; labor and social movements; torture and war; sexuality and gender formation; indigineity and colonialism; genetics and the body. From the ecclesiastical courts of seventeenth century Lima to the cell blocks of Abu Grahib, the essays draw from Omi and Winant's influential theory of racial formation and adapt it to the various criticisms, challenges, and changes of life in the twenty-first century.

Excerpt

Daniel Martinez HoSang and Oneka LaBennett

In the preface to the first edition of Racial Formation in the United States, Michael Omi and Howard Winant wrote: “To study race in the United States is to enter a world of paradox, irony, and danger. in this world, arbitrarily chosen human attributes shape politics and policy, love and hate, life and death. All the powers of the intellect—artistic, religious, scientific, political—are pressed into service to explain racial distinctions, and to suggest how they may be maintained, changed, or abolished” (1986, xiii).

This edited volume, arriving twenty-five years after the first publication of Racial Formation in the United States, brings together thirteen essays from scholars in a wide range of fields to again “enter a world of paradox, irony, and danger.” the contributors explore far-reaching concerns: slavery and land ownership; labor and social movements; torture and war; sexuality and gender formation; indigeneity and colonialism; genetics and the body. From the ecclesiastical courts of seventeenth century Lima to the cell blocks of Abu Ghraib, the essays draw from Omi and Winant’s influential theory of racial formation, which they defined as “the sociohistorical process by which racial categories are created, inhabited, transformed, and destroyed” (1994, 55). the contributors share many of Omi and Winant’s theoretical convictions about the centrality of race to all social and political structures in the United States, the “unstable and ‘decentered’ complex of social meanings” that constitute race, the dynamic relationship between social movements and the state, the interaction between micro- and macrolevel dimensions of race, and a refusal to reduce race to other categories of analysis, such as class, ethnicity, or nation (Omi and Winant 1994, 55).

At the same time, the contributors ask an array of questions not fully . . .

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