The 5th Annual CRS Symposium will explore the relationship between race and sovereignty. Sovereignty, like race, has been invoked, understood, and deployed in contradictory ways. Historically, sovereignty has been an important vehicle through which hegemonic power has been enforced, for example, by articulating citizenship as a racial project rooted in the power to exclude. Sovereignty has also been an important tool of anti-colonial resistance crucial to liberatory struggles of people of color in the U.S. and worldwide. Race shares this complex dimension, serving as both a technology of oppression and a vehicle for resistance to that oppression.
Despite these parallels, race and sovereignty have, for the most part, been engaged as separate and mutually exclusive projects: sovereignty has primarily been linked to the struggles of Native Americans and other indigenous peoples, while the struggles of other people of color have largely been cast through a standard anti-racist narrative of citizenship and inclusion. The symposium proposes, instead, to examine how race and sovereignty intersect and are mutually constitutive, even as important distinctions remain. We propose to examine how race enters into concepts of sovereignty and how sovereignty enters into concepts of race.
Among the questions to be considered are the following:
· How has the exercise of national sovereignty explicitly and implicitly relied upon race as a criterion of membership?
· How might a sovereignty framework provide a counter-narrative to the story of inclusion often associated with civil rights?
· How can a comparative racial analysis contribute to understanding the possibilities and limits of sovereignty?
· How has race influenced the cognizability of claims to sovereignty?
· Does the assertion of sovereignty by oppressed peoples stand subject to the same or similar critiques of the exercise of sovereign power by dominant national formations?
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Call for Proposals:
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Principal Co-sponsor: UCLA American Indian Studies Center