Archive of Events

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Seminar: Interrogating Race and Achievement: Racialised Facilitative Capital and the Underachievement of Afro-Trinidadian Boys

Start: Oct 1, 2014 5:30:00 PM
End: Oct 1, 2014 7:30:00 PM

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Ravi Rampersad - In Trinidad, dominant discourses on race and education often simplistically labels Afro-Trinidadian boys as the lowest academic achievers.  This underachievement is viewed as pathological and linked to deficient cultural values and single female-headed homes. To interrogate this dynamic, this paper employs a theoretical model that takes into account the nuances of the intersecting trajectories of race, social class and gender in Trinidad. It explores the nature and operation of 'racialised facilitative capital' (RFT) in two Trinidadian state primary schools; one highly acclaimed as a centre of excellence and the other stereotyped as a typical failing urban school. The research emphasises the role of RFC where the 'right' capital can be the difference between social advancement and social stagnation.  It also points to the salience of RFC as a model in examining intersecting issues of race, social class and gender in postcolonial societies such as Trinidad.

Seminar: Evo's Bolivia: Continuity and Change

Start: Oct 23, 2014 6:00:00 PM
End: Oct 23, 2014 8:00:00 PM

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Linda Farthing - When Evo Morales came to power in 2006, expectations were high that Bolivia's first indigenous president would transform the country. Based on a forthcoming book written with Ben Kohl, Farthing’s talk will examine how well Morales and his movement towards Socialism has done in achieving goals of greater equality and inclusion in South America's poorest country.

Seminar: Race, Religion and Culture in Brazilian Social Thought: Some Highlights

Start: Oct 30, 2014 6:00:00 PM
End: Oct 30, 2014 8:00:00 PM

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Roberto Motta (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil) - Brazilian social thought (Pensamento Social Brasileiro, as the discipline is known in Brazil), has dealt, for the last 14 decades, with the study of Brazil’s historical and cultural specificity. In other words, why has Brazil not developed along lines similar to those which prevailed in Western Europe and North America?  Why are we not the United States? Racial explanations have been proposed at least since the end of the nineteenth century. Religious explanations had also been offered even earlier in the same century, in terms at times strikingly similar to some of Max Weber’s explanations in his thesis on the Protestant Ethic.  Such explanations are still very much present in recent and current Brazilian thought, albeit mainly in secularized versions. In contradistinction to the Westernizing paradigm, there is in Brazil the “Tropicalista” interpretation which simply denies the absolute validity of Western models of development. This tendency was has been very much represented by a single, towering writer, Gilberto Freyre.  Nearly 30 years after his death his intellectual spectre is still haunting Brazilian social science, a good deal of which represents an effort to refute Freyre’s pervasive interpretations. The issue impinges not only on models of economic development, but also on questions related to race, discrimination and inequality. This is well reflected by the recent introduction in Brazil of policies of “affirmative action” and of quota systems in the country’s public schools and public service.
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