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Arisaka, Yoko, , . Paradox of Dignity: Everyday Racism and the Failure of Multiculturalism
2010, Ethik und Gesellschaft 2
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Yoko Arisaka

Abstract: Liberal multiculturalism was introduced to support integration and anti-racism, but everyday racism continues to be a fact of life. This paper analyzes first some frameworks and problems that race and racism raise, and discusses two common liberal approaches for solving the problem of racism: the individualized conception of dignity and the social conception of multiculturalism. I argue that the ontological and epistemological assumptions involved in both of these approaches, coupled with the absence of the political-progressive notion of «race» in Germany, in fact obscure important paths against racism. Lastly I introduce a politico-existential position from Cornel West and conclude that racism should be seen as a failure of a democratic process rather than a problem of race.

Comment: Offers a short review od the philosophy of race, the pitfalls of liberalism, why liberalism cannot solve racism, the situation in Germany

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Demetriou, Dan, , Wingo, Ajume. The Ethics of Racist Monuments
, In David Boonin (ed.), Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy. Palgrave .
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Dan Demetriou

Abstract: In this chapter we focus on the debate over publicly-maintained racist monuments as it manifests in the mid-2010s Anglosphere, primarily in the US (chiefly regarding the over 700 monuments devoted to the Confederacy), but to some degree also in Britain and Commonwealth countries, especially South Africa (chiefly regarding monuments devoted to figures and events associated with colonialism and apartheid). After pointing to some representative examples of racist monuments, we discuss ways a monument can be thought racist, and neutrally categorize removalist and preservationist arguments heard in the monument debate. We suggest that both extremist and moderate removalist goals are likely to be self-defeating, and that when concerns of civic sustainability are put on moral par with those of fairness and justice, something like a Mandela-era preservationist policy is best: one which removes the most offensive of the minor racist monuments, but which focuses on closing the monumentary gap between peoples and reframing existing racist monuments.

Comment: Frames debates about racist monuments (e.g., Confederate or colonialist monuments), categorizes arguments for and against removal. Suitable for an intro-level course.

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Harris, Leonard (ed.), , . The Critical Pragmatism of Alain Locke a Reader on Value Theory, Aesthetics, Community, Culture, Race, and Education
1999, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Lydia Patton

Publisher’s Note: In its comprehensive overview of Alain Locke’s pragmatist philosophy this book captures the radical implications of Locke’s approach within pragmatism, the critical temper embedded in Locke’s works, the central role of power and empowerment of the oppressed and the concept of broad democracy Locke employed

Comment: Alain Locke (1885-1954) founded the philosophy department at Howard University. (The department is still housed in Locke hall, named for Alain, not John!) He was a pragmatist philosopher, who wrote on cultural relativism, pragmatism, and values. He is best known for his role as an aesthetic scholar of the Harlem Renaissance, but this work has deep connections to his work on the theory of race, on value theory and cultural relativism, and on pragmatism. (See the introductions to the anthologies above for more details.) Locke is an under-appreciated scholar of historical and philosophical significance. His work would provide excellent readings for courses in value theory, ethics and meta-ethics, aesthetics, pragmatism, and the philosophy of race, but would also be interesting reading for courses in epistemology, for instance, given his original stance on relativism, and his pragmatism about truth.

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Narayan, Uma, , . Undoing the ‘Package Picture’ of Cultures
2004, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 25 (4): 1083-1086.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Nadia Mehdi

Abstract: Many feminists of color have demonstrated the need to take into account differences among women to avoid hegemonic gender-essentialist analyses that represent the problems and interests of privileged women as paradigmatic. As feminist agendas become global,  there is growing feminist concern to consider national and cultural differences among women. However, in attempting to take seriously these cultural differences, many feminists risk replacing gender-essentialist analyses with culturally essentialist analyses that replicate problematic colonialist notions about the cultural differences between “Western culture” and “non-Western cultures” and the women who inhabit them (Narayan 1998). Seemingly universal essentialist generalizations about “all women” are replaced by culture-specific essentialist generalizations that depend on totalizing categories such as “Western culture,’ “non-Western cultures,” “Indian women,” and “Muslim women.” The picture of the “cultures” attributed to these groups of women remains fundamentally essentialist, depicting as homogeneous groups of heterogeneous peoples whose values, ways of life, and political commitments are internally diverge.

Comment: This text can be used to teach about the pitfalls of imperialist feminism such as Susan M. Okin’s as well as gender and cultural essentialism. It would also be excellent on any courses that attempt to discuss cultural value or cultural heritage as it complicates the idea of cultures as discrete, bounded and unified entities.

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Song, Sarah, , . Justice, Gender, and the Politics of Multiculturalism
2007, Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Sarah Song

Publisher’s Note: Justice, Gender and the Politics of Multiculturalism explores the tensions that arise when culturally diverse democratic states pursue both justice for religious and cultural minorities and justice for women. Sarah Song provides a distinctive argument about the circumstances under which egalitarian justice requires special accommodations for cultural minorities while emphasizing the value of gender equality as an important limit on cultural accommodation. Drawing on detailed case studies of gendered cultural conflicts, including conflicts over the ‘cultural defense’ in criminal law, aboriginal membership rules and polygamy, Song offers a fresh perspective on multicultural politics by examining the role of intercultural interactions in shaping such conflicts. In particular, she demonstrates the different ways that majority institutions have reinforced gender inequality in minority communities and, in light of this, argues in favour of resolving gendered cultural dilemmas through intercultural democratic dialogue.

Comment: The book combines political philosophy with case studies exploring conflicts between gender equality and multiculturalism. It could be used in graduate or undergraduate courses on the topic of gender and multiculturalism, paired with Susan Okin’s ‘Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?’

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Song, Sarah, , . Multiculturalism
, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Sarah Song

Article: The article examines the idea of multiculturalism in contemporary political philosophy. It considers the variety of justifications for multiculturalism, including communitarian, liberal egalitarian, anti-domination, and historical injustice arguments. It then surveys a number of critiques of multiculturalism. It concludes by discussing concerns about political backlash and retreat from multiculturalism in the Western liberal democratic countries.

Comment: This Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy piece provides an accessible introduction to the idea of multiculturalism and its various justifications and critiques.

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Walsh, Andrea N., , Dominic McIver Lopes. Objects of Appropriation
2012, In Young, James O., and Conrad G. Brunk, eds. The Ethics of Cultural Appropriation: Blackwell Publishing.
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Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes, Contributed by:

Summary: Walsh and Lopes argue that some appropriation can be beneficial and productive: in particular, the appropriation of elements of dominant culture by members of culturally marginalized groups. They explore this idea through discussion of such appropriative artwork by a number of contemporary First Nations artists, which they argue challenges “the assumed alignment of appropriator with oppressor and appropriatee with victim”(227).

Comment: This text serves as a useful counterpoint to the general framework employed in much of the other cultural appropriation literature. It is also a useful selection for course units focusing on art practice.

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