Race, Politics, and Culture

Campus Rooftop

The Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture (CSRPC) was established by Michael C. Dawson, with a founding conference taking place in June of 1996 entitled, “Race and Voice: Challenges for the 21st Century.” From its inception, CSRPC faculty affiliates, students, and staff have been committed to establishing a new type of research institute devoted to the study of race and ethnicity, one that seeks to expand the study of race beyond the black/white paradigm while exploring social and identity cleavages within racialized communities. Scholars affiliated with the Center have also endeavored to make race and ethnicity central topics of intellectual investigation at the University of Chicago by fostering interdisciplinary research, teaching, and public debate. Fundamentally, the Center is committed to contributing intellectually challenging and innovative scholarship that can help people transform their thinking and their lives. Towards those goals, the Center provides funding and other types of support for projects initiated by faculty affiliates, graduate students, undergraduates, artists-in-residence and visiting fellows. 

Selected Faculty

Edgar Garcia

Edgar Garcia

Critical Race Studies, Marxism, Poetry and Poetics, Theories of Diaspora and Decolonization

Sample Courses

EALC 37907 - Asian Wars of the 20th Century (Bruce Cumings)
This course examines the political, economic, social, cultural, racial, and military aspects of the major Asian wars of the twentieth century: the Pacific War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. At the beginning of the course we pay particular attention to just war doctrines and then use two to three books for each war (along with several films) to examine alternative approaches to understanding the origins of these wars, their conduct, and their consequences.

PLSC 31802 - Global Justice and the Politics of Empire (Adom Getachew, James Wilson)
Over the last four decades, political theorists and philosophers have transcended the nation-state form and taken their concerns about redistribution, democracy, and rights global. Though often not explicitly acknowledged, this global turn emerged just at the tail end of decolonization when political and economic crises from large-scale famines to authoritarianism and ethnic violence rocked the newly emerging post-colonial world. This course will examine how contemporary debates around global justice broadly construed interact and intersect with the legacies of imperialism and decolonization. In exploring questions of redistributive justice, global democracy, human rights, and humanitarian intervention, we will consider the following questions: (1) in what ways are debates about global justice responding to the legacies of imperial rule, (2) how are the historical and contemporary manifestations of international hierarchy challenged and retrenched, and (3) is contemporary cosmopolitanism an alibi for new forms of imperialism?

CRES 27515 - Black Religion and the Criminal Justice System (Kai Parker)
This course is an attempt at reading these discourses together in a manner that speaks to contemporary problems and tensions in black politics. Themes and issues to be considered include: how the historical relationship between African American Christian and African American Muslim- and Jewish political traditions can help us understand differences and potential convergences between the politics of black religion behind carceral walls and “on the outside”/“in the world”; how reflections on religion and the carceral state shaped early movements for criminal justice reform, the Civil Rights Movement, and Black Power; how gender and sexuality have influenced black religious activism; the politics of black atheism and secularism; the strange career of religious respectability politics; and theological critiques of mass incarceration. The final few weeks of the course will focus specifically on religion’s role in the contemporary black freedom struggle.

CRES 39117 - Theater and Performance in Latin America (Danielle Roper)
This course is an introduction to theatre, performance, and visual art in Latin America and the Caribbean. We will examine the intersection of performance and social life by looking at performance practices in key historical moments in Latin America and the Caribbean. We ask: how have embodied practice, theatre and visual art been used to negotiate particular moments in Latin American history? We will study performances during independence, revolution, dictatorships, processes of democratization, truth and reconciliation, as well as the rise of neoliberalism. In our investigation, we will pay close attention to how ideologies of race, gender, and sexuality are articulated and disseminated within these performances at critical historical junctures. Our corpus may include blackface performance traditions in the Caribbean, indigenous performance, queer performance and we will look closely at the artistic works of Coco Fusco, Neo Bustamante, Las Yeguas del Apocalipsis, Yuyachkani, Griselda Gámbaro, and others. We will also read key theoretical work in Performance Studies including the work Joseph Roach, Richard Schechner, Diana Taylor, Jill Lane, and others. 

For an extended listing of classes and descriptions, visit the Center's course page.

Recent Race, Politics, and Culture Thesis Projects

"Representing Race Relations: The Marrow of Tradition and the Suppression of Racial Equality"
Eddie Dunnigan, MAPH '08
Advisor: Lauren Berlant

"Speaking to Pass: Black No More’s Refusal of a Raced Dialect"
Ashlee Patterson, MAPH '12
Advisor: Adrienne Brown

"It All Amounts to Slavery in the End: Motherhood in Beloved and 'Bloodchild'"
T Lacy, MAPH '16
Advisor: Adrienne Brown