Category Archives: Race book

Matt Pettway

This is a podcast I like, and it is right on topic for me.



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Campus Rebellions and Plantation Politics: Power, Privilege, and the Emancipatory Struggle in Higher Education


I did not submit to this CFP, but I will be interested in the book.

Campus Rebellions and Plantation Politics: Power, Privilege, and the Emancipatory Struggle in Higher Education
Editors: Frank Tuitt, University of Denver
Bianca C. Williams, CUNY Graduate Center
Dian Squire, Iowa State University
Saran Stewart, University of the West Indies, Mona

In recent times, a resurgence of resistance to the structural racism and whiteness upon which institutions of higher education have been built has emerged. One can simply read newspapers over the last six months to identify hundreds of articles discussing the topic. Specifically, Black students and their accomplices have generated passionate protests and multiple forms of resistance on college campuses throughout the country and around the globe. As a consequence, these traditionally white institutions have now become the epicenter of the Movement for Black Lives as students have participated in numerous administrative building takeovers, teach-ins, and protests, drawing attention to racial discrimination and police violence on campus and in the community. Accordingly, in this edited volume, we will explore how these multiple forms of campus rebellions, and the strategies universities use to respond to these acts, reveal a modern conceptualization of “plantation politics.” We later discuss how these acts may lead to the conceptualization of emancipatory practices that can bring us closer to achieving racial equity in high education.

Craig Stevens Wilder (2013) noted that “colleges were [formed as] imperial instruments akin to armories and forts, a part of the colonial garrison with the specific responsibilities to train ministers and missionaries, convert indigenous peoples and soften cultural resistance, and extend European rule over foreign nations” (p. 33). These “imperial instruments” (Wilder, 2013) were created to profit off the diversity and bodies of Black slaves and Indigenous peoples, built to maintain a religious orthodoxy, and uplift (through education) an elite white body. In many ways, slave plantations served similar purposes. Durant (1999) argued that slave plantations were characterized by: (a) import of slaves and control by whites; (b) forced exploitation of labor resulting in acquired wealth, power, profit, and prestige; (c) slaves as chattel property; (d) social caste system with little upward mobility; (e) racially stratified division of labor with whites at the top and Blacks at the bottom; (f) strict system of governance employing control mechanisms; (g) “slave and non-slave subsystems, represented by emerging social institutions such as family, economy, education politics, and religion” (p. 5); and (g) a structure that required continual adaptation to internal and external forces. The parallels are incriminatory and it is clear that slave plantation politics can serve as an apt framework to view the contemporary university.

If we look at campus environments through the lens of Durant’s slave plantation, this helps us better understand (1) the ways enslaved Africans and slave plantations were fundamental to the creation of some university campuses; (2) how the exploitation of Black peoples’ physical and emotional labor continue to be central to the economic workings of universities; and (3) how the vestiges of plantation culture and life influence modern university culture, climate, and structures of power. Juxtaposing this lens within a higher education frame, allows us to examine the interactions between institutional leaders and campus protesters (students, faculty, and/or staff) in order to understand the power differentials embedded in these interactions. We can explore how the technologies used to create plantation life are similar to those technologies used to sustain higher education institutions, and the ways these work to produce racial inequities and hostile racial environments that give rise to campus rebellions. Finally, we can better understand how employing control mechanisms that seek to repress campus rebellions, may reinforce white supremacy, limit freedoms, and continue to oppress Black lives.

This edited collection is designed to provide scholars and practitioners in higher education insights into the ways that modern day universities are shaped by colonial vestiges of slave plantations in order to stoke the collective imagination toward racial justice. Campus Rebellions and Plantation Politics is both conceptual and practical in that we ask authors (and by extension readers) to draw parallels between slave plantations and modern universities, and provide implications for deconstruction of oppressive structures in order to reimagine emancipatory potential. That is, how does an analysis of Plantation Politics help one better engage in emancipatory action on college campuses? For this edited volume, we are seeking a range of chapters that appeal to the following sections: 1) Power and Privilege (e.g, emotional and physical labor; athletic departments as capitalist profiteers or other forms of plantation economy; exploitation); 2) Resistance (e.g., student protests, rebellion, coalition-building); 3) Futures and Imaginings (e.g., counternarratives; or non- plantation formations of education; fictional imaginings of university futures); and 4) Other contemporary examples of plantation politics (e.g., role of white allies, international slavery and higher education, the place of historically Black colleges and universities).

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The week’s writing report

I decided that perhaps PMLA or Profession, and not a radical education journal, are the place for that article.

I realized my book title might only cover the Caribbean case. And a question I got: does my contention that race and state are a really different focus from mestizaje and nation hold together?

For that other article, where are my opening ideas? Let me see: while racial meaning is local, white supremacy is global. Keeping this in mind helps us avoid exceptionalist stances, and also helps protect against the shading of race into culture (I think). (I will continue.)


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Some random notes from earlier

The book I bought and then lost was Judith Shapiro, Community of Scholars.

Badiou has a book or essay called “Vat is een volk?” that I should read.

Michael North’s book The Baltic would be worth reading. So would Lefebvre, Marxist theory and the city.

Kant’s 1764 observations on feeling; the sublime and the beautiful; have to do with race; so does the origin of the 3d critique on aesthetics; mestizaje was supposed to improve the looks of women; these ideas have something to do with the Caucasus that I must reconstruct.

There was Georg Foster, who traveled with Captain Cook, and attempted to understand the concept of races, apparently said there were no races (this is something to be verified).

See also Arendt on Kant’s 3d critique, and Kant’s introduction to Anthropology. It is from Kant’s discussion of the inner and outer judge that some of these ideas about race come; also, the idea of natural science and teleological nature come from the debate on race.


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Ideas from Arturo Arias’ article on Jean Franco in PMLA 131.3 (2016)

I love to study, but it is hard to do when people don’t like you to. When you have no context or negative context, you have to become super-strong. The idea of defending your time leads to concentrating on your parapets, not your manuscript. I do not like the idea of shrinking. I think we should expand into our space and think of love.

These aren’t notes on the article as such, just pieces of information I wanted to remember and ideas I want to keep in mind this week.

1. DoS literally said the 1954 Guatemala coup was to finally “finish the conquest” — and is arguably the single most important event in 20th century US-Latin American relations.

2. Franco was upsetting to people like my father because like Latin American thinkers, she did not separate the cultural world from the political and social spheres.

3. She is among the first to think things through dependency theory, which she re-explains in Decline and fall…. That, of course, goes against development theory and Cold War-style area studies.

4. Franco, Rama and the lettered city: letrados had intervened since at least the early 19th century to legitimize exemplary narratives of national formation and integration while building their nations as entities constituted by discourses, symbols, images and rites (Arias 703) PERHAPS USE THIS TO START MY PAPER NOW

5. One of Franco’s key points in her first book was that while Western art tends to deal with individuals, or love, Latin American literature and art is much more concerned with social ideals. Also, in L.A. the humanities and social sciences are much clser together than in the U.S.; Franco brought that in and her first book (1967) also influenced and formed La ciudad letrada (1984)

6. Revise Spivak? The indigenous subject is the privileged interlocutor of the West in Latin America, not the Western subjec of African descent.

7. J. Ramos: before Calibán, traditional Latin Americanists believed in the integrative capacity of national iteratures and art, whereas Latin American cultural studies as it evolved in the 1980s criticized the concept of a national culture as an apparatus of power (Arias 705). LACS, says Arias, emerged from the failed nation building, when the Central American civil wars ended the revolutionary period that had begun in 1959.
This new era inspired Cruel modernity.

8. Coloniality makes dependent societies unable to democratize, nation build, or modernize in the First World sense. Cornejo Polar anticipated the idea of coloniality (which was developed by Quijano and Mignolo in the 1990s). Coloniality describes how the modern/colonial pattern persists, structuring racialization, subalternization, and knowledge production.

9. I think L.A. does achieve modernity, just the other side of it (to follow these theories). Franco: the Cold War meant suppression of national development in Latin America // and this is why Latin American thinkers decided they had to Think Differently (I need to think better about this).

10. The way memory and reconciliation were structured allowed for neoliberalism as transition for democracy, and limited accountability for the violence that was used to suppress struggles for greater freedom.



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Mundos neoliberales

Here we have a very important article on the neoliberal university, that I will study, called “Contingent No More.” Related to it is the infantilization entailed in reducing citizens to consumers. This post mentions a book on advertising and persuasion, which according to Cliff Arroyo emphasizes infantilization as a key to coercion.

This journal Transmodernidad, that I should read more in general, also has in it Mignolo’s manifesto on decolonial thinking, that I should become able to discuss in a detailed way, and easily. “Epistemic disobedience” is the keyword.

“The social sciences are totally corrupt, and they don’t liberate themselves at all from the corruption, especially in those countries.” –Jean Franco, PMLA 131:3 (May 2016): 735. This is very interesting and I would like to hear more. These sciences are imbricated with a repressive state apparatus, I am assuming this means.

I’ve ordered Franco’s Cruel Modernity for the library and will read it. I’ve been reading about it and enjoying the reading. I see why Clarissa reacts as the does to Franco’s discussion of Luz Arce, but it appears to me Franco isn’t judging her but analyzing the function of her book. I’m finding the articles on Franco in the 2016 PMLA instructive for reasons going beyond the discussion of this book.

It’s exciting. My mind is clear and there is so much to read and write. To contemplate the experiences of past minds I’d like to read Defoe’s journal of the plague year, too.


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Melissa Weiner, race, subjectivity

Here is Weiner’s smart and highly informative article, which does not discuss Denise Ferreira da Silva that I can see, but that is key. And here is a smart article about Fanon, “safety” and race dialogue that I must read.

Not for the current paper, but in general, there is a Gwen Kirkpatrick article on Diamela Eltit and the materiality of language in this book that I’d like to read as well.


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