SSI1 174

Lethal Othering: Critiquing Genocidal Prejudice

The anthropological study of prejudice looks critically at the process of "othering" - that is, the fear-based tendency to regard groups who are "different from us" in ways that emphasize (their) threat versus (our) safety. Logically, this perspective can lead to attitudes, policies, and actions that aim to annihilate the difference between "us" (the in-group) and "them" (the dangerous outsiders) - either by forced assimilation or even by genocide. This course examines the ways that prejudice has been a part of such murderous and inhumane activity, beginning with a sustained exploration of the role of anti-Semitic prejudice in pogroms that took almost immediately after the Holocaust. Following the first section of the course, students will be guided to examine other situations of prejudicial, even murderous thinking and actions against Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Latino Americans, and Arab and Muslim Americans. Students will choose one of these five groups as the subject of further, more independent scholarly exploration, while concluding the course with a consideration of yet another kind of "othering": the practice, in some US locales, of local governments enacting legislation to exclude certain types of people from certain neighborhoods. Affiliate department: Comparative Sociology.