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Race, Place and Power

An apartheid notice on a beach near Capetown, denoting the area for whites only. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)Race, Place and Power (UNIV 3200) will examine the crucial entanglement between race and place from an interdisciplinary and transnational perspective. Paying attention to three different national contexts—Brazil, South Africa and the United States—the course will investigate the politics of spatial segregation and consider the global dimensions of racialized injustice and decolonial resistance. Through the study of literary texts, scholarly essays, film, music, video and news media, we will ask how and why what appear to be vastly different racial regimes and socio-political contexts produce similar socio-economic outcomes and dominant ideologies. Students will also interrogate the spatial and racial politics of Nashville.

In this discussion-based course we will answer several questions: What is racism and what is its social function? What is the purpose of spatial segregation? How are the spatial dynamics of race similar or different in Brazil, the United States and South Africa? How do the antiracist politics articulated in the works examined intersect with women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, human rights and resistance to global capitalism and the neoliberal order? What do these works tell us about the legacies of colonialism in our time? And what do they teach us about the possibility to create a more livable world for all?

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