This course provides students with a broad introductory survey of the ideas, authors, and texts that have come to define the philosophy of race. This course will be broken down into weekly units. Each unit will have its own Canvas module where students can find the viewings, readings, and assignments for the week. The course itself will be structured around the metaphysical, ontological, and epistemological questions surrounding race and racism. These sorts of questions include the following: What is race? Do races exist? If races exist, in what sense are they real? What is racism? What sorts of things can be racist (e.g., persons, acts, beliefs, feelings, places, or institutions)? Is it possible to be unintentionally racist? Is it better to define racism in a narrow or broad sense?
This class will meet in-person Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30-2:20pm, in Savery Hall 130
Office hours will be held Tuesday and Thursday, 2:30-3:30pm, in Savery Hall 385
Readings for the Course
All readings will be available online. So, there are no books to buy for this course.
Course Grading Scale
(roughly each 1% increment between grades is equivalent to 0.1)
A 95% = 4.0
B 85% = 3.0
C 75% = 2.0
D 65% = 1.0
Assignment Guidelines for Undergraduates
1. Reading Quizzes (30% of course grade or 1.2 of the 4.0 total)
Each quiz will consist of about 5-20, mostly multiple-choice, questions. There is no time limit and the questions chronologically follow the reading. You are therefore strongly encouraged to take the quiz as you complete the readings. Quizzes will be available for only 14 days. So, do not fall too far behind and keep in mind there is no way to make up the quizzes once the quizzes are closed.
2. Short Writing assignments (30% of course grade or 1.2 of the 4.0 total)
There will be two short writing assignments (about 1,000 words in length) throughout the term.
3. Class participation (10% of course grade or 0.4 of the 4.0 total)
Attendance is required for this class but not sufficient for participation.
4. Final Paper (30% of course grade or 1.0 of the 4.0 total)
This assignment should take no less than 6 pages to complete, but it should also be no longer than 10 pages. The format for this paper is as follows: double-spaced, 12-point font, in Times New Roman or something similar, and margins should be at least one inch wide but no more than 1.25 inches wide. Citations should follow either APA, MLA, or Chicago style. Papers should be turned in through Canvas and NOT by email.
Assignment Guidelines for Graduate Students
No less than 10 pages, but be no longer than 25 pages.
Please meet with instructor about a topic by week 9.
Course Reading Schedule:
Week One (Sept 30th): The Story of Race
No required reading for this week but keep in mind we will have THREE required readings for next week, so start on those.
(The readings below are optional but are strongly recommended for grad students)
Week Two (Oct 5th & Oct 7th): The Concept of Race
Week Three (Oct 12th & Oct 14th): "Race" as a Social Kind
Week Four (Oct 19th & 21st) : Race Passing and Race Traveling
Week Five (Oct 26th & 28th): The New Biology of Race
Week Six (Nov 2nd & Nov 4th): Racism: Discursive, Systemic, and Doxastic
Week Seven (Nov 9th): The Volitional Account of Racism
Jorge L.A. Garcia: “The Heart of Racism” (strongly recommended)*
Week Eight (Nov 16th & Nov 18th): Responses to Volitional and Individualistic Accounts of Racism
Nov 18th (Thursday): Clevis Headley: "Philosophical Approaches to Racism: A Critique of the Individualistic Perspective"
Week Nine (Nov 23rd): Narrow and Deflated Definitions of Racism
Week Ten (Nov 30th & Dec 2nd): Racism as Ideology and Disrespect
Week Eleven (Dec 7th & Dec 9th): Institutional Agency and Civic Vice