Panel no. 81 - Essentialism in Deprecatory Expressions of the Other: Comparing Mid-19th to Mid-20th Century Examples with Those of the Early 21st Century


Convenor

Title Prof First name Andrew 'Mugsy' Last name Spiegel
Institution University of Cape Town City Cape Town Country ZA

Co-Convenor

Title Prof First name Marie Last name Wallace
Institution name Arizona State University City Tempe, Arizona Country US

Panel

Panel title

Essentialism in Deprecatory Expressions of the Other: Comparing Mid-19th to Mid-20th Century Examples with Those of the Early 21st Century

Panel abstract

Building on the history of racism during the slave trade and the global institutionalisation of slavery, colonialism relied on essentialising constructions (images; expressions) of the colonised to deprecate and subordinate them. Similar constructed images appeared during nationalism's 19th Century rise and nationalism's particularly acute form in much of Europe during the early-mid 20th lead up to and during World War Two. Responses to the atrocities committed during that war led to various efforts globally to overcome the phenomenon. They included commitment to universal human rights including recognising all humans as equal and their socio-cultural practices as equally valid and acceptable, provided they do not interfere with those of others. Yet the 21st Century has seen widespread reversal of those commitments. Despite retention of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, similar kinds of essentialist images are today drawn upon for constructing socio-cultural boundaries that exclude and marginalise many. The panel invites papers offering examples of both earlier and recent uses of essentialist expressions and images for deprecatory purposes. While the panel's goal is to compare how essentialism works in diverse contexts, it welcomes papers offering examples of how essentialist constructions (images; expressions) work for deprecatory purposes in one spatial or temporal context, as well as papers comparing essentialism at work in different periods and/or places. Particularly welcome are papers addressing the relationship between the use of essentialist images or expressions for deprecatory purposes and the particular political-economic context in which they are used - whether empirical or theoretical, or both.

IUAES Commission

IUAES Commission on Marginalization and Global Apartheid