The talk examined the persistence of race in purportedly postracial times. Why do racial logics continue to underpin disparities in social, economic, cultural and political opportunities despite official commitments to the eradication of racism, not only within individual states but across them? Alana Lentin built on Barnor Hesse’s invocation of a ‘raceocracy’ which rules performatively and as a system for the management of human life. Zoning in on the global laboratory for the ‘production of horror’ that is the Australian system of mandatory detention for asylum seekers, she examined the co-dependency between the maintenance of the racialized border and professed commitments to a postracial future, a division which entrenches a divide between purified inside and the contaminants that lurk outside the contemporary racial state.
Alana Lentin is Associate Professor of Cultural and Social Analysis at the University of Western Sydney and member of the Institute for Culture and Society. She works on the critical theorization of race, racism, antiracism and multiculturalism and is a long-time antiracist activist. She is the author of Racism and Anti-Racism in Europe (2004). Racism (2008) and the co-author of The Crises of Multiculturalism: Racism in a Neoliberal Age (2011, with Gavan Titley). She is currently working on the transformation of race in digital times. Her website is www.alanalentin.net.
The lecture is part of the ICI Lecture Series Constituting Wholes II, which seeked to re-examine the critical potential of notions of wholeness by exploring the double movement in constituting wholes. How are wholes and other forms of association differently constituted and how do they constitute their parts or elements? How can one maintain a critical position towards persistent wholes without making them inescapable and foreclosing the possibility of reducing violence and arriving at more benign forms of association? Conversely, how can one be attuned to heterogeneities and potentialities without participating in the reparation of existing structures of domination? Conceived within the framework of the multi-discipinary ICI Research Focus ‘Constituting Wholes’, the lecture series addressed and debated these and similar questions from a variety of perspectives.
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