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- Peripheral Europeans: The history of the racialization of Slavs in Canada
- Jakub M. Burkowicz (author), Wendy Chan (thesis advisor), Dara Culhane (chair), Dany Lacombe (committee member), Robert Menzies (committee member), Simon Fraser University Sociology and Anthropology (Degree granting institution)
- This dissertation investigates the racialization of the Slavs in Canada from the end of the th th 19 century until the middle of the 20 . Utilizing Michel Foucault’s and Ernesto Laclau’s formulations of discourse, Berger and Luckmann’s social constructionism, and, broadly, poststructural theory, the principal aim of this work is to demonstrate that during this period Canadians recognized the Slavs as a distinct, homogenous, denationalized racial type. To this end, this dissertation draws on immigration, eugenic, political, journalistic, art, legal, literary, and other discourses in order to trace the discursive formation of race in Canada while considering how such a formation constructed the racialized figure of the Slav. Historians working in the field of Whiteness Studies have established the racialization of various Europeans outside of whiteness in the United States. This dissertation suggests that Whiteness Studies’ emphasis on the banishment of peripheral Europeans from whiteness, along with the trope of “becoming white,” does not apply to the history of racialization of Slavs in Canada. The argument advanced here is that while Slavic identity was occasionally articulated in a strained relationship to whiteness, it is more accurate to see the racialization of the Slavs as entailing an estrangement from the positive attributes associated with an Anglo-Saxon identity and a simultaneous fitting into a complex racial discursive formation whose categories were denationalized. This dissertation insists on a historical approach to the sociological study of race. Examining what various Canadian discourses had to say about the Slavic artistic ability, suitability for assimilation, criminal tendencies, community life, and potential for participation in democratic institutions, this dissertation historicizes race for the reader who today is not likely to recognize the Slavs as a racialized category. This dissertation also contributes to Slavic Studies, urging a move from “Slavic ethnic cultures” and an experience of “xenophobia,” which are popular moves in that field, to the social construction of the Slavic race and the historical experience of racism.
- In defense of counterposed strategic orientations: Anarchism and antiracism
- Jakub Burkowicz (author)
- Many antiracist theorists allege that antiracism suffers from a crisis of being unable to realize its goals and potential. The fact that we continue to experience racism in the 21st century and that contemporary antiracist movements are fragmented and dispersed is upheld as evidence of an antiracist failure. In light of such alleged shortcomings, Pierre-André Taguieff invites us to rebuild what he calls the “fragile ship” of antiracism, while Paul Gilroy urges us to abandon it altogether. Drawing on poststructuralism and the work of anarchists engaged in antiracist activism, I argue that the proclaimers of an antiracist crisis are unduly influenced by Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony. Gramscian influenced antiracism dismisses non-unified antiracist movements for being ineffectually engaged in, what Michael Omi and Howard Winant characterize as, “counterposed strategic orientations” (1986, 102). This paper will briefly consider Gramsci’s influence on antiracist theory, with a greater focus on Omi and Winant’s racial formation theory. I turn to two case studies of antiracist anarchist movements, anarchist antifascism and Anarchist People of Color, in order to show that rather than being in crisis, antiracism today continues to struggle against racism outside of the logic of hegemony. I demonstrate that without recourse to such Gramscian “solutions” as political unity and intellectual leadership, social movements continue to deal with questions of race and racism and to mount significant opposition to racial hierarchies. In doing so, they constitute not Taguieff’s fragile ship but what I identify as a strategically flexible antiracism.