This year American scholar Patricia J. Williams was invited to Britain to speak as Reith Lecturer, only the fourth woman and the third black speaker to contribute to the prestigious series of lectures which has a 49-year history. Her chosen subject was as topical as it proved controversial. Professor Williams’s subtle and measured discussion of the persistence of racism in daily life – and in even the most liberal of consciousnesses – struck a chord in British society. The furore that broke in the press was based as much in a certain ‘British’ intransigent refusal to allow that the persistence of prejudice could possibly be as ‘bad’ here as across the Atlantic as it was in a basic reluctance to address distinctive realities in contemporary society. Richard H. King and I interviewed Williams immediately following the transmission of the lecture series on Radio 4 and the transcripts, published by Virago as Seeing a Colour-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race, are reviewed in this issue by Larry Brown. Brown places Williams alongside fellow African-American scholar bell hooks in order to assess the different perspectives they take on issues of race and the politics of identity, and in order to decide on nature of the often very different roles of contemporary black intellectuals.
The Controversy over "Statistiques Ethniques"
Daniel Sabbagh and Shanny Peer
In the United States, while some race-based policies such as affirmative action have faced often successful political and legal challenges over the last quartercentury, historically, the very principle of official racial classification has met with much less resistance. The Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, according to which “no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” was not originally intended to incorporate a general rule of “color blindness.” And when in California, in 2003, the “Racial Privacy Initiative” led to a referendum on a measure—Proposition 54—demanding that “the state shall not classify any individual by race, ethnicity, color or national origin,” this restriction was meant to apply exclusively to the operation of public education, public contracting or public employment, that is, the three sites where affirmative action was once in effect and might be reinstated at some point, or so the proponents of that initiative feared. In any case, that measure was roundly defeated at the polls.
In 2004, for the third successive year, the center-left opposition achieved
political success in the local elections, while the center-right government
suffered a clear defeat. The headlines of the main daily papers
were unequivocal: “Cities and Provinces, the Victory of the Center-
Left” (Corriere della Sera, 15 June); “Olive-Tree Coalition Victorious in
the Cities” (la Repubblica, 15 June); “The Center-Left Wins the Race in
Milan” (Corriere della Sera, 28 June); “The Polo Loses Even in Milan”
(la Repubblica, 28 June); “The Center-Right Hands Milan over to the
DS” (Il Giornale, 28 June). The 2002 and 2003 elections had already
registered clear victories for the center-left, not least because of the
symbolic importance of the successes of Riccardo Illy in Friuli-Venezia
Giulia and Enrico Gasbarra in the Rome provincial elections.
Expo 2015 represented a major challenge for Milan and Italy. Built around the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” it combined local and global traditions, innovation, and technology, while establishing diplomatic and trade relations with many countries from around the world. The conclusion of a long process that had lasted about nine years, Expo 2015 was marked by difficulties in its governance and by delays in the implementation of its projects and works. After a brief review of this process, the chapter focuses on the events of 2015, the final race for the completion of works, and the event itself. It then discusses the theme that was chosen, including its representation by the various pavilions set up by the 158 participating countries. The final section discusses the outcome of Expo 2015 in terms of its legacy—the Milan Charter—and the economic opportunity for future development that the site presents.
Danai S. Mupotsa and Elina Oinas
In this themed issue we explore images that unsettle, disrupt, disqualify, and transgress the visual and affective expectations visited upon contemporary girls. The articles here suggest new ways of seeing, visualizing, and representing the girl, and of feeling and thinking about her. We begin from the recognition that girls are seduced into qualifying and passing in normative, intersecting ways that work along the various axes of sex, gender, age, corporeality, class, and race, and that we need to attend to possible disruptions of this logic. How do girls both entertain and interrupt the presumably obligatory wish to qualify? We attempt to answer this by looking at the intimate and embodied aspects of being a girl, and at the processes of estheticizing, and fetishizing the girly. We ask how the girl as subject-in-process establishes and challenges the notions of failing and passing.
Graeme Smart and Amelia Yeates
The study of Victorian masculinities is now a burgeoning field. In 1995 an emphasis on pluralities was registered in titles such as Herbert Sussman’s Victorian Masculinities: Manhood and Masculine Poetics in Early Victorian Literature and Art and Joseph A. Kestner’s Masculinities in Victorian Painting. Ten years on, Martin A. Danahay’s Gender at Work in Victorian Culture: Literature, Art and Masculinity would still be concerned with the many and competing ways in which masculinity was represented in the nineteenth century. This is not the only task of writers on masculinity, however. In 1995 R.W. Connell noted: ‘To recognize more than one kind of masculinity is only a first step. We have to examine the relations between them. Further, we have to unpack the milieux of class and race and scrutinize the gender relations operating within them.’ Much recent work on masculinity does just that and the essays published here reflect this imperative.
Social Quality, Values, Convergence and the European Social Model
Unlike the last issue of the European Journal of Social Quality, which dealt entirely with social quality in individual nations, this issue focuses exclusively on the European dimension with particular emphasis on values associated with social quality in both an historical and comparative context. A central question running through several papers relates to convergence: are European societies converging and, if so, then to what are they converging? Is the European Social Model still viable or is the enlarged EU moving inexorably towards a ‘race to the bottom’ in the context of trying to reach the Lisbon goal of becoming the world’s most dynamic and competitive economy in the dog-eat-dog political economy of an unstoppable globalisation?
Penny Welch and Susan Wright
Welcome to Volume 4 of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. LATISS has been gradually widening its focus from its point of origin in the U.K. and this issue is truly international with material from Latin America, U.S.A, Sweden and England. LATISS’s approach – to study and reflect on the detail of teaching and learning practices in contexts of institutional change and national and international policies – is also well exemplified by the articles in this issue. For example, three of the articles explore issues of ‘race’ and ethnicity in connection with programme design, institutional politics and classroom relations respectively and in very different historical and policy contexts. Two articles also connect to topics on which LATISS has recently published special issues: on gender in higher education and on using the university as a site to critically explore the meaning and operation of neoliberalism.
Engagements, Contexts, Reconsiderations
At one hundred, we are told, a book becomes a classic; at one hundred Simone de Beauvoir has surely become a legend. And yet, like all legends, she remains something of an enigma, yet to be discovered. To be discovered, perhaps, in a way similar to her own attempt at self-discovery in Hard Times (the second volume of The Force of Circumstance), which results in a moving encounter with symptoms, repressions, and defenses that reveal those darker unrepentant forces―dreams and nightmares―that haunt her life. To discover is also to uncover the pages of a partly-written life that recurs in a succession of dreams and nightmares. As Beauvoir puts it: “In my dreams … there are objects that have always recurred” as “receptacles of suffering … the hands of a watch that begin to race [moved] by a secret and appalling organic disorder; a piece of wood bleeds beneath the blow of an ax … I feel the terror of these nightmares in my waking hours, if I call to mind the walking skeletons of Calcutta orthose little gourds with human faces―children suffering from malnutrition.”
Jean Elisabeth Pedersen
“What is a nation?” Ernest Renan’s famous rhetorical question to an audience at the Sorbonne on 11 March 1882 has remained vital for a wide variety of scholars in fields as diverse as history, literary criticism, sociology, philosophy, and political science. Renan initially posed the question barely ten years after the close of the Franco-Prussian War, which had sparked the establishment of the French Third Republic, the unification of Germany under the leadership of Wilhelm I, and the transfer of the disputed territory of Alsace-Lorraine from French to German control in the months between July 1870 and May 1871. Renan made no overt mention of these events while he was speaking, but he rejected any possible answer to his question that might attempt to base the creation of nations and national identities on shared “race, language, [economic] interests, religious affinity, geography, [or] military necessities.” This explicit refusal constituted an implicit rejection of the entire range of German justifications for the acquisition of the two recently French border provinces.