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Institute of Advanced Study

Dr Saldanha's Public Lecture

Date: 14 October 2008

Time: 5.30pm

Venue: Kenworthy Hall, St Mary's College

Title: So what is race?

If race is usually put between inverted commas, does that mean that it isn't real? 

If race is a social construction, a figment of the imagination, then how can there be racism in institutions or in economic distribution?

Can physical differences between human bodies be thought about without boxing them into the old colonial categories?

Over the last few decades, there has been some confusion about the ever-contentious category of race that needs to be resolved philosophically if antiracist policy is to be effective.

This lecture will provide a realist account of some of the many mechanisms whereby differentiation happens along racial lines, but does so whilst carefully avoiding reducing race to genes or to anything else. Using the example of racial segregation in cities, a critical ecological framework for approaching race and racism is suggested that will hopefully help to start clearing the confusion.