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Steven M. Bialostok

I am an educational and linguistic anthropologist by training. My research typically engages discourse analysis with social theory (mostly Foucault, Bourdieu), combining analysis of linguistic practices with ethnographic research oriented to theoretical debates about power, identity, and inequality. I have published on schooling, neoliberalisim, and late modern capitalism. My research has brought me to the Wind River Reservation as well as Afghanistan. My current five -year ethnography in Denver investigates a group of elderly Black men who have played dominoes together for decades, in a historically Black neighborhood that is undergoing gentrification.  

Clay Fellow | Honors Course

HP 4151: Race and Racism
Instructor: Steven Bialostok
Honors College Attributes: 
Upper-division elective
USP attributes: 
(H) Human Culture
A&S attributes: (D) Diversity in the US
This course is framed by a simple contradiction. Race is a myth, yet it is quite real. Racial categories are rooted in history and culturally constructed through laws, the media, and various institutions. Yet, what makes race real? What animates it with so much power, and fosters its tenacious hold on much of the Western world’s collective psyche?

In this course, we explore race and racism in both its historical construction and its contemporary manifestation as a crucial aspect of American culture and an integral component of people’s identity. Class time will consist of lectures (including guest lecturers), small and large group discussions, watching documentaries and clips from television, movies, and YouTube.

Everyday thinking about race (and racism) in America is almost entirely emotionally laden, even when we are certain that our assertions are logical and rational. Work in cognitive anthropology, psychology, and political science reveal that our “feelings” about emotionally laden topics invariably contradict “facts.” For example, one common assertion is that students of color get more scholarships that white students. Research indicates that is not the case ( Where does this perception then come from?  How is it propagated?  What are the ramifications?

Difficult issues like this will be a common thread in the daily discourse of this class. Students will be expected to listen respectfully, honor diverse beliefs/opinions by allowing them full voice in the classroom discussions, and support their own assertions with facts that emerge from research. While discussions may become impassioned and earnest, disrespectful behavior and language, interruptions, and rudeness will not be permitted or

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