Accepted paper:

Marked and Unmarked: The Racialization of Minorities in the Modern State (Panel keynote)

Authors:

Gyanendra Pandey (Emory University)

Paper short abstract:

In this talk, I examine the process of minoritization that has accompanied the establishment of nation-states and their supposedly homogenous ‘majorities’ in the 19th and 20th centuries. I argue that such minoritization is regularly, if not always, accompanied by a process of racialization. I take the examples of Dalits and Muslims in India, and African Americans in the USA.

Paper long abstract:

In this talk, I examine the process of minoritization that has accompanied the establishment of nation-states and their supposedly homogenous ‘majorities’ in the 19th and 20th centuries. I argue that such minoritization is regularly, if not always, accompanied by a process of racialization. By this I mean the deployment of a language of radical difference as marking the condition of the minority – a difference that is deeply-rooted, hereditary and not easily dislodged, whether it is phenotypically (or biologically) visible or not. I take the examples of Dalits (people from the lowest castes, formerly known as Untouchables) and Muslims in India, and African Americans in the USA, to make the point about the marking of minorities and the establishment of a discourse of fundamental difference, whether on grounds of what has been called race, or religion, or other inherited (historical or biological) condition. The proposition about difference, and racialization, is illustrated dramatically by the example of the Jews in 19th century Europe, and again in that of the Irish and Italians in 19th and 20th century North America. While I shall not be able to examine all these cases, it would be interesting to consider in what ways, and to what extent, such racialization marks the history of minorities in other societies and conditions, such as the Burakumin and Koreans in Japan, or, to take an even more unlikely and indeterminate case, the half or more of the world’s population dubbed the ‘minority’ of women in one country after another.

panel P132
Engaging race and racism in the new millennium: exploring visibilities and invisibilities (IUAES/JASCA joint panel)