Race and Colonial/Imperial Erasure. Sociology’s Dysfunctional Relationship with A Foundational Concept

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 12:30-13:50

Language: English

Integrative Session of RC05 Racism, Nationalism, and Ethnic Relations, RC08 History of Sociology, RC56 Historical Sociology

The relationship between sociology and race (Lentin/Hund 2014) and sociology and
empire (Steinmetz 2013) is slowly gaining attention as a topic equally relevant to the
history of sociology, historical sociology, and the sociology of race and ethnicity. The
session focuses on the nexus between these research areas in order to address the ways
race has been written in and out of sociological theories and the effects its centrality and
its erasure have equally resulted in racializing accounts of non-Western, non-white or
non-European peoples and regions. Sociological works of the late nineteenth and early
twentieth century were rarely centered on modernity, industrial society, and capitalist
structures, and more often on the idea of “global difference” (Connell 1997) – the
contrast between the alleged primitiveness of the periphery and the self-proclaimed
civilization of the metropole. With Parsons’ generation, the construction of the
sociological canon as a sequence of theorists of modernity from Marx through Weber to
Durkheim gradually erased the experience of the periphery from mainstream social
theory and, with it, the centrality of race to an understanding of the metropole. The
session reunites contributions that trace sociology’s contradictory and dysfunctional
treatment of race through the history of the discipline and as part of the construction of
a historical sociology that legitimates colonial differences while professing comparative
or global perspectives.

Session Organizer:
Manuela BOATCA, University of Freiburg, Germany
Oral Presentations
Imperial Race, Master Science: On the Whiteness of Sociology
Raewyn CONNELL, University of Sydney, Australia
W. E. B. Du Bois’ Scholarship and the Case for Canonization
Aldon MORRIS, Northwestern University, USA
See more of: Integrative Sessions