Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum

ENTERTAINMENT/ ARTS/ LITERATURE => Books & Reviews => Topic started by: Tian on November 09, 2003, 01:12:58 PM

Title: Racism and the end of anthropology
Post by: Tian on November 09, 2003, 01:12:58 PM
 Greetings all!

I am currently reading a book titled "African Images. Racism and the end of anthropology" by African anthroplogist Peter Rigby at Moi University in Kenya.

He is doing an anthropological study of those Western academics and others who promote and theorize racism. He critically examines the culture of White, male, bourgeois power, as well as the implications of this intellectual work.

Although this is an academic book, it is only about 100 pages and written in clear language, something I appreciate as many academics' writing style makes reading their books a very time-consuming activity.

The thesis of his book is as follows:

Since racism is constitutive of the capitalist mode of production, it is still a crucial element, albeit in different forms, in contemporary bourgeois ideological formulations and related practices.

Racism cannot be dispelled by social engineering and moral exhortation.

... and he finds that:

Africans have suffered the most from it for the past 400 years, even though it is amuch more generalized historical phenomenon.

There is no doubt either that capitalist slavery is closely linked to racist ideology.

The continued growth of racism has at least some of its roots in the New World, particularly in the USA and the Caribbean.

Rigby's framework is basically Marxist, and from an African perspective.

He asserts that the primary reason anthropologists avoid discussing the topics of race and racism, is that they do not recognize that racism was a historically fundamental constituent element in the rise of capitalism, bourgeous culture and alienated science, and is still necessary for their reproduction in their present form.

In this book, Rigby traces the origins of the current ideology of racism to the time of European enslavement of Africans, and discusses the academic and scientific theorists who developed this ideology in the last two centuries. He focusses especially on sociobiology's attempts to establish links between race, IQ, crime and sexual restraint.

Further, he investigates the "Hamitic Myth", and how it was used by Belgian colonialists to "create" the tribes of Hutu and Tutsi, that led to the genocide in Rwanda/Burundi.

Rigby concludes with an exploration of what African knowledge can add to the struggle to undermine the concepts of race and racism, classism and sexism, but more importantly, what it can teach the bourgeois West about its own past and future.

His references include Frantz Fanon (Black Skin, White Masks), Jean Paul Sartre (Critique of Dialectical Reason), and Manning Marable (How Capitalism underdeveloped Black America), among others. I am planning to post reviews of these as I proceed in my readings.