Tag Archives: da Silva

Spain, race as a global construct, and lagniappe

Race is about politics. The concept of race was invented in Spain in the 14th century. Originally this was about religion (the Jews) but then it became about social and political power — the idea being not to share power with the conversos. So otherness then became about genealogy, not current religious difference, and Jewishness was genealogical. This racial difference was not visible since the conversos did not look different from Christians.

Then, with colonialism and slavery, Iberians and other Europeans developed this racial ideology further and carried it around the globe. A series of racializing theories were created to mark groups as permanent outsiders. Many of these populations did look different, so race became a visual marker of difference — although they still insisted that the main difference was an inheritance from birth. Note that in this way the U.S. convention of hypodescent, much maligned in the Hispanic world as “more racist,” isn’t actually different from the Inquisition’s search for Jewish origins.

Origin–place and race of origin–is imbricated here, and it is key that race is visual and/or genealogical, and that the variety of the racializing theories is part of the power of the concept of race. People who say things like, “my racializing theory is not as evil as yours” utterly miss the point.

All of this has to do with the construction of nation in Latin America: to what extent can people be part of the nation, or not? The complexity of the strategies of exclusion/ inclusion is what makes everything so precarious–especially when you are trying to have slavery/patriarchy on the one hand, and modern rights on the other.

The lodging of racial difference or otherness in the body is what enables permanent exclusion of whole groups, and this is the problem they are having in Cecilia Valdés … yet I need to be able to articulate on a dime why all mestizaje is not subversive (even Cecilia’s is not really, since she is trying to whiten).

There is amazing bibliography on race and the early modern world here, and I should probably see The Beguiled and read Dixa Ramírez’ book.

I received interesting PDFs by Minnie-Bruce Pratt’s spouse, also, and they’re out of field for me but I should read them.


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Filed under Bibliography, Race book, Uncategorized

ERIP, and Disciplined Minds

So now I’m a council member of ERIP, LASA’s section on ethnicity, race, and indigenous peoples, and you can’t say I don’t do service. Ergo, 2020-2022: President, Louisiana Conference of AAUP; Vice-President, Feministas Unidas; Council, ERIP. The university does not value my views but these organizations do.

On being treated with disrespect: people who are feeling diminished should read this book and keep in mind that it doesn’t mean there should not be academic disciplines, or that there isn’t great value in in-depth subject knowledge.

I’m still going to send this paper to LACES, although I’ll have to write it first. I was going to send it there before I got elected to the council of the organization that publishes it but it is my current mode to change plans as little as possible.


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Filed under Banes, Theories, What Is A Scholar?, Working

What are research and writing, and what is productivity?

There is an article by Quijano and Wallerstein, Americanity as a concept; or the Americas in the modern world system: “La americanidad y la colonialidad estuvieron íntimamente ligadas desde un principio. La singularidad de América reside en los diversos borramientos que acompañaron la expansión colonial europea: el imaginario territorial indígena, y mucho más.” (Mignolo 2005: 70)

That is about singularity and the question of living among these vestiges. Those are two key discussions in two different papers I am working on now. Therefore, I must remember this.

Meanwhile, a sociologist who is very “productive” says coloniality is an “ideology,” which is “a set of ingrained beliefs that serves a purpose.”

That is to say he is commenting on Mignolo and da Silva without having read them, and discussing ideology without having read, or without having understood Althusser or Gramsci … and a few other sins.

This is interesting since I am about to present at a conference that will be heavy with sociologists, so I need to be very clear … also, it shows why just explaining a couple of difficult concepts is in fact a contribution to the advancement of science.

It also explains why I have to get this book and these articles out, as my old friend the Goose used to say: “Alguien tiene que hacer algo responsable en este mundo degradado.”



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Filed under News, What Is A Scholar?