October 12, 2000 – David Theo Goldberg: “Raceless States”

Thursday, October 12 | Oakes Mural Room | 4:00 PM

David Theo Goldberg comes to the University of California’s Humanities Research Institute from Arizona State University, where he was Director and Professor of the School of Justice Studies, a law and social science program that focuses on issues of social, political, and economic justice, including critical issues of crime, punishment, and imprisonment. In 1999-2000, he was a visiting professor in African American and Diaspora Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Combining a philosophical approach with critically engaged analyses of race and social justice, Professor Goldberg is the author of Racist Culture: Philosophy and the Politics of Meaning(1993); Racial Subjects: Writing on Race in America(1997); and Ethical Theory and Social Issues(1990/1995). His editorial work on race, racialization and multiculturalism includes Anatomy of Racism(1990); Multiculturalism: A Critical Reader(1995); and two forthcoming co-edited collections: Race Critical Theories and Rethinking Postcolonialism. He is the founding co-editor of Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture. His current book, The Racial State(Blackwell 2001), is a study of the centrality of racial configurations to modern state formation and administration. Professor Goldberg argues that modern states assume a racial configuration in becoming modern, and in turn become modern by various and shifting deployments of racial technologies of governance. Even while assuming specific expression in different socio-cultural conditions, any particular racial state is tied into a world order of racial states that offers the conditions of possibility for the particular racial state to exist. Racial states accordingly collapse the distinction between states as forms of governmentality and states as conditions of being. “Raceless States,” a chapter from the book, argues that self-proclaimed raceless states, in their various configurations of colorblindness in the United States, racial democracy in Brazil, nonracialism in South Africa, ethnic pluralism in Europe are in fact late modern modes of the racial state.