Ghassan Hage is the University of Melbourne’s Future Generation Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Hage’s scholarship, from his early White Nation: Fantasies of White Supremacy in a Multicultural Society (1998) to his most recent Is Racism an Environmental Threat? (2017), presents some of the most incisive anthropological work on the enduring presence of race in our contemporary world.

Racist Sorcery: Can Anthropology provide the counter-spell?

04:00 PM – 05:00 PM
Grote Zaal

In my recent work I have criticized a tradition of anti-racism that thinks of racists as people with whom one is having an intellectual disagreement and who can be convinced how wrong they are with rational arguments and empirical evidence. Racism I have argued is a form of magical performative practice aimed at having effects on (basically aiming to hurt) the people it is directed against. In this presentation I want to show how racist pronouncements and practices work not as analytical pronouncements but as a type of evil spell that can unravel people. As such the task of anti-racism is not to counter racism with empirical evidence but to create a form of anti-racist counter spell. Can Anthropology with its long expertise in the domain of magic help with this task?


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