White Reconstruction and the Impasse of Racial Genocide
Dylan E. Rodríguez, UC Riverside

Monday, April 23rd • 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
370 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley

Across our different social positions, we live and die inside the reformed, restructured, and reinvigorated logics of racism and white supremacy that have emerged since the 1960s.  This extended half-century period, which can be named the contemporary time of White Reconstruction, has distended the legacies of multiple racial genocides while producing an almost complete misrecognition of their human and material violence as such.  During such times, racism’s logics of dominance seep into other institutional forms, constitute new (or modify old) regimes of racial violence and repression, and articulate into cultural practices that appear dramatically different from the previous eras.  It is within this condition that the last half-century—the alleged “post-civil rights” era—marks another vital moment of national racial reform and “progress” in which the structuring social violence of systemic racial dominance has neither subsided nor dissipated, but has instead permeated the very institutional structures and cultural discourses through which this reform and progress has supposedly occurred.  Reflecting on several well-known, little-known, and almost unknown political and cultural texts, the lecture draws linkages between Barry Goldwater, Colin Powell, the 2011 Pelican Bay prison hunger strike, and the apparatuses of contemporary multiculturalism to consider the persistence and multiplicity of our standoffs with racial genocide.  We must ask:  within this impasse, what is the task?


Dylan Rodríguez is Professor and Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Riverside, where he began his teaching career in 2001. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned two B.A. degrees and a Concentration degree from Cornell University. He was nationally recognized by Diverse magazine as one of its Emerging Scholars of 2006, and has been a Ford Foundation Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellow.

Prof. Rodríguez is the author of two books: Forced Passages: Imprisoned Radical Intellectuals and the U.S. Prison Regime (University of Minnesota Press, 2006) and Suspended Apocalypse: White Supremacy, Genocide, and the Filipino Condition (University of Minnesota Press, 2009).  His political and intellectual work addresses the social logics of racial genocide as they operate through the changing systems of racist state violence, global white supremacy, and other forms of institutionalized dehumanization.  His scholarly and pedagogical practices move across the fields of critical race and ethnic studies, radical social thought, and cultural studies.  He is a founding member of Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex, a national movement building collective that seeks to fulfill the social and historical vision of abolition, and has worked closely with numerous organizations and scholarly collectives.

Co-sponsored by Ethnic Studies, Center for Race and Gender, American Cultures Studies program, Social and Cultural Studies in Graduate School of Education, African American Studies, the Rhetoric Department, and the Center for Research on Social Change