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Bielefeld Graduate School

in History and Sociology

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The Making of Mankind: Tracing Race & Racism

11th Annual Seminar of the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS), 4-6 July 2019

Programm als PDF

The Annual Seminar is a renowned three-day conference format of Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS) approaching 11 years in 2019. In coope¬ration with the collaborative research center (SFB 1288) on "Practices of Comparing", in this year's conference international researchers at an early point in their careers will present their work. The conference deals with the construction of race as well as structural and practical dimensions of racism in an interdisciplinary framework.

Whether in natural sciences, social and human sciences or humanities, race as a concept or central category has been widely contested and criticized. But the construction of race is a crucial part in the processes of making mankind and as an analytical category it is intertwined with the emergence of disciplines in their respective epistemological contexts (e.g. "scientific racism"). The interdisciplinary conference will discuss connections to related discourses such as astronomy, medicine and health as well as philosophy.

Furthermore, racism often finds its expression in a more complex set of practices by actors, institutions and structures that transverses and involves other categories and relations of (in-)equality such as gender and class. For this reason, the conference asks for the status of racism in the reproduction of power relations, processes of social differentiation and material inscriptions, e.g. in schools as institutions, memory culture, state formation or the literary canon.

In all of this, we see practices of comparing as an innovative focal point: By making comparisons the subject and not the method of our conference we want to ask who is comparing, what is compared, when and in which regard? By detecting and describing concrete practices of comparing important insights can be gained into the ways race and racism are being made.


Another highlight will be an experimental collage film by the artist Ojudun Taiwo Jacob and an exhibition of Diana Ejaita's art works - both related to the topic of the conference.



Organizing Committee

Lisa Baßenhoff, Andreas Becker, Julian Gärtner, Lena Gumpert, Ina Kiel,
Malika Mansouri, Malin Wilckens



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