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ENGLISH 3A03 CriticalRaceStudies

Academic Year: Winter 2017

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Daniel Coleman


Office: Chester New Hall 303

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23717


Office Hours: Tuesdays, 1:30-3 pm.

Course Objectives:

Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • have a good grasp of the history and dynamics of race and racism as described and analyzed by major 20th and 21st-century scholars in the field of critical race studies;
  • understand the intersectional nature of race relations: how race interacts with other major elements of human identity such as gender, sexuality, class, nationality, and political system;
  • understand how social conventions and institutions construct and maintain the meanings of race and racism;
  • have paid particular attention to the dynamics of race and racism in Canadian society and history;
  • have completed assignments that encourage them to apply the historical and theoretical understandings of race and racism gained in the class to practical circumstances in their own communities;
  • met activists and scholars who are engaged in everyday work to dismantle race thinking, its systems, and its hierarchies in our communities.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

1. Basic Call to Consciousness, Ed. Akwesasne Notes. Summertown,TN: Native Voices, 2005.

2. Courseware package of critical and theoretical readings designed for this course.

Method of Assessment:

Critical Response Statements/Participation    20%

Project Proposal Essay                                    15%

Final Project                                                    35%      

Final Exam                                                      30%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

All assignments must be given to your seminar tutor in class. There are no penalties for late papers; however, essays handed in after the due date will be graded without comment. Term work will not be received or reconsidered after the final day of this class. Since the end of term is a very busy time, you are strongly advised not to leave the completion of your paper till this time. To be on the safe side, please discuss any concerns about term-work grades with your seminar tutor or me before the last day of classes.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Week One (January 10):  



Week Two (Jan 17) What Is “Race”?

Doug Daniels, “The White Race Is Shrinking.”

Ricki Lewis, “Race & the Clinic: Good Science?”

Vic Satzewich, “Race, Racism, Racialization: Contested Concepts”


Week Three (Jan 24): Race and Representation

Edward Said, “Imaginative Geography and Its Representations: Orientalizing the Oriental.”

Stuart Hall, “The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power”


Week Four (Jan 31): Internalizing Race

W.E.B. Du Bois, “Of Our Spiritual Strivings” from The Souls of Black Folks

Frantz Fanon, “The Fact of Blackness”

Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege and Male Privilege”


Week Five (Feb 7): Opposing Representations

*Proposal Essay Due in Tutorial this week. No response paper due this week

Basic Call to Consciousness, “Preamble” by Chief Oren Lyons (13-25), “Thoughts of Peace” by Sotsisowah (John Mohawk, 31-40), “Deskaheh, An Iroquois Patriot’s Fight for International Recognition” (41-47), “Last Speech of Deskaheh” by Deskaheh (Levi General, 48-51)


Week Six (Feb 14): Opposing Representations, continued

Basic Call to Consciousness, sections by Sotsisowah (John Mohawk): “Introduction” (80-84), “Spiritualism, The Highest Form of Political Consciousness” (85-91), “The Obvious Fact of Our Continuing Existence” (92-102), “Policies of Oppression in the Name of Democracy” (103-118), “Our Strategy for Survival” (119-125)


Feb 21 Reading Week – no classes this week


Week Seven (Feb 28): Legislated Race:

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. “Writing ‘Race’ and the Difference It Makes”

Jo-Ann Episkenew’s ch. 2 “Policies of Devastation”


Week Eight (Mar 7): Race and the Sex/Gender System

Bobby Jean Noble. “Our Bodies Are Not Ourselves: Tranny Guys and the Racialized Class Politics of Incoherence.”

Sherene Razack, “Introduction: Race Thinking and the Camp”


Week Nine (Mar 14): Race, Nation, and Religion:

Etienne Balibar, “The Nation Form: History and Ideology”

David Theo Goldberg, “A Political Theology of Race”


Week Ten (Mar 21): Race, Settler Colonialism, and Canadian Multiculturalism:

* Final Project due in tutorial this week* (no response paper this week)

Eva Mackey, “Introduction: Settler Colonialism and Contested Homelands”

Patrick Wolfe, “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native”

M. NourbeSe Philip, “Why Multiculturalism Can’t End Racism”


Week Eleven (Mar 28): Race and Whiteness

Ross Chambers, “The Unexamined”

Robin DiAngelo, “White Fragility”


Week Twelve (April 4): If we’re Anti-Racist, what are we For?

Martin Luther King, Jr. “Nonviolence: The Only Road to Freedom.”

bell hooks and Thich Nhat Hanh. “On Building a Community of Love.”