Jennifer Mueller: ICPSS COLLOQUIUM (Rescheduled)




"Building a Critical Race Theory of Ignorance: From Theory to Empiricism and Back Again.

Dr. Mueller will discuss her efforts to elaborate a Theory of Racial Ignorance (TRI) for the United States. Building from critical race theory and the philosophical construct white ignorance, she defines five tenets that explain how racial ignorance bolsters white supremacy, attending to mechanisms of knowledge evasion and resistance that facilitate racial reproduction—in everyday life, through the work of institutions, and across societies more broadly. She illustrates TRI’s assets by comparison with the prevailing materialist theory of racial cognition—color-blind theory (CBT). She advances TRI as an alternative to CBT—one that generates returns to analysis by shifting focus from racial ideology to racial ignorance, from rules-based to ends-based cognition, and from era-defined structures to ongoing historical processes. Finally, she will show how TRI is uniquely equipped to explain changes in dominant logics, predict the conditions by which such transformations occur, and support more strategic resistance.

Dr. Mueller is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Intergroup Relations Program (IGR) at Skidmore College, a liberal arts college in upstate New York. Their research and teaching interests are focused on race and racism, culture, knowledge and ignorance, social inequality, critical race theories (and social theory more broadly) and critical pedagogy. 
 They are committed to examining mechanisms that sustain racism and other forms of structural domination, as well as factors that promote social consciousness. These motives align the two primary aims of their work: to produce publicly relevant research on matters that impact the lives of everyday people; and to engage learners in a dynamic process that illuminates both the influence of larger social forces on everyday life and our power to shape the social world we encounter

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