W@TC - Race: The Theory
Join us for the Wednesdays at the Center February 21 with guest speaker Geoffrey Harpham. In this talk, Harpham will discuss the theory of race that we have inherited is an artifact of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe and America, when many leading philosophers, scientists, physicians, and generalists turned to the subject both as a fascinating object of research and as a potentially fertile source of information about a range of religious, philosophical, cultural, and moral issues that otherwise resisted a more direct approach, including the responsibilities of the more advanced and powerful cultures toward the peoples they were dominating, exploiting, or enslaving. To think of race was also, inevitably, to think of things other than race. Much turned on the definition of the word, which, however, never acquired a consensual meaning or referent. Harpham will describe the experience of gathering, selecting, and editing over fifty of the texts in which the race concept was developed, debated, and finally abandoned at the end of the nineteenth century.
The event is hybrid and light refreshments will be provided.