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The persistence of racial discomfort on campus: Ethnographic perspectives from under-represented student researchers

Priscilla Fortier

This article describes the findings of an undergraduate Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI) course in which students examined the university's efforts to improve the racial climate of the campus. These institutional efforts are intended to create a more comfortable environment for under-represented minority students who often comprise a significantly smaller group on campus than in their home neighbourhoods and high schools. Many minority group students experience isolation and discomfort connected to a lack of 'ownership' of campus spaces and traditions, which tend to be monopolised by white students. In my EUI class, which was sponsored by the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA) at the University of Illinois (U of I), under-represented minority students focused their ethnographic projects specifically on campus-sponsored programmes intended to facilitate interaction across racial and ethnic groups. Of particular interest to students were programmes related to residence halls and campus social spaces. The findings presented here indicate that campus-sponsored programmes to increase race awareness that depend upon students' voluntary participation may be less effective in bringing students together than required classroom-based programmes and informal interaction through shared extra-curricular passions.

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Making the ambiguities, absent presences and contradictions of racialisation analytically legible

Reflections on a critical intellectual imperative

Faye V. Harrison

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Shades of otherness

Representations of Africa in 19th‐century Iceland

Kristín Loftsdóttir

Scholars have emphasised the importance of Africa as a counter‐identification in shaping European identity, and stressed the multiplicity of categories of ‘us’ and ‘other’. My discussion focuses on images of Africa in Iceland during the 19th century, when Iceland was seeking independence from Denmark. I suggest that by repeating clichés of European representations of Africa, Icelanders situated themselves within the space civilisation, culture and progress in contrast with earlier representations of Icelanders as lazy, childlike and ignorant. The paper shows shifting categorisations of ‘us’ while also emphasising the changes that followed growing nationalism and racialisation of diversity in the 19th century.

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Proprietary freedoms in an IT office

How Indian IT workers negotiate code and cultural branding

Sareeta Amrute

This article explores how Indian IT workers who have been hired on short‐term contracts in Germany negotiate their racialisation as fast, cheap and disposable. They elaborate modes of freedom that take advantage of the pace of work and its varied temporalities while simultaneously developing a critique of corporate coding as limiting mobility. Their critique upends the usual way that freedom and ownership are conceived, since they try to own the code they write rather than making claims for ‘open’ or ‘free’ software. Indian IT workers’ strategies demonstrate the need for a reconsideration of the meaning of freedom within corporate coding economies and neoliberal knowledge regimes more generally. This article develops a concept of ‘proprietary freedom’ to do so.

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The comforts and discomforts of race

Soo Ah Kwon

Drawing on existing literature and student ethnographic projects, this article examines Asian American undergraduates' overwhelming focus on individual racial identity and practices of racial segregation in their ethnographic research about the University of Illinois. The author examines how such racial segregation is described and analysed as a matter of personal 'choice' and 'comfort' rather than as the result of racial inequality, racism and the marginalisation and racialisation of minority groups. This lack of structural racial analysis in the examination of Asian American students' experiences points to the depoliticisation and institutionalisation of race in higher education today. Race is understood and more readily analysed as a politically neutral concept that invokes celebration of racial diversity and 'culture' and not as a concept marked by power and inequities as it once may have been.

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Anti-racist teaching, student ethnography and the multiracial model of Islam

Junaid Rana

My Ethnography of the University (EUI) course 'Muslims in America' introduces undergraduate students to the racialisation of Islam and Muslims in the U.S. at large, and in the University in particular. In this article, I describe how an anti-racist pedagogy coupled with student ethnographic research can yield a rich learning process. Beginning with one of the key debates in the scholarship on Muslims in the United States, I introduce students to the productive ways in which a multiracial history of American Islam can inform their ethnographic research. Additionally, I elaborate the potential for student research to transform university policy. The University offers a valuable ethno- graphic site for the critical study of the history and place of Muslims in U.S. society, politics and culture.

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The colour of family happiness

Adoption and the racial distribution of children in contemporary France

Sébastien Roux

In France, the notion of ‘race’ – which echoes both (post‐)colonialist discourses and a long history of state‐regulated racism – is itself usually publicly inexpressible, despite its implicit presence that nonetheless saturates public debates. However, in some specific cases, such as transnational adoption, the verbalisation of racial preferences and desires is encouraged by social workers and family experts as a means to prevent racism. This article aims to analyse the kind of practical institutional framing that produces and supports such verbalisation, and to explore its consequences with respect to the definition of racial hierarchies. Hence, instead of considering the preference of skin colour as a pre‐established parental desire that informs the racial distribution of children, I suggest focusing on the French case to analyse the racialisation of familial desires produced and the apparatus that frames adoption. Thus, by concentrating on the governance of family intimacy, this article aims to question the social dynamics that construct race as a meaningful performative category requiring professional expertise and action, that allow its public expression and that even facilitate the verbalisation of racial preferences in an institutional context supposedly defined by colour‐blindness.

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Book Review

Larisa Carranza

of the cultural make up of citizenship; rather, racialisation and ‘othering’ of those of migrant backgrounds perpetuates immigration policies that conceptualises Italian born/raised generations as inauthentic and maintains the requirement of legal

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The irony of an ‘international faculty’

Reflections on the diversity and inclusion discourse in predominantly White institutions in the United States

Chenyu Wang

foreign-born faculty. Conceptual framework: A postcolonial view on racial formation This article is informed by the theory of racial formation. In particular, it draws from Michael Omi and Howard Winant's definition of racialisation as ‘the extension

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Cécité partielle

Procédure d'adoption et colorblindness institutionnelle en France

Solène Brun

article explore les contours d'une telle exception institutionnelle à la colorblindness et propose d'identifier ce qu'elle révèle des processus de racialisation en France et de leur statut dans le discours public. Dans un premier temps, l'enquête montre