States of Race

States of Race

Critical Race Feminism for the 21st Century

Edited by Sherene Razack, Malinda Smith and Sunera Thobani


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What is a Canadian critical race feminism?

As the contributors to this book note, the interventions of Canadian critical race feminists work to explicitly engage the Canadian state as a white settler society. The collection examines Indigenous peoples within the Canadian settler state and Indigenous women within feminism; the challenges posed by the settler state for women of colour and Indigenous women; and the possibilities and limits of an anti-colonial praxis.

Critical race feminism, like critical race theory more broadly, interrogates questions about race and gender through an emancipatory lens, posing fundamental questions about the persistence if not magnification of race and the “colour line” in the twenty-first century. The writers of these articles – whether exploring campus politics around issues of equity, the media’s circulation of ideas about a tolerant multicultural and feminist Canada, security practices that confine people of colour to spaces of exception, Indigenous women’s navigation of both nationalism and feminism, Western feminist responses to the War on Terror, or the new forms of whiteness that persist in ideas about a post-racial world or in transnational movements for social justice – insist that we must study racialized power in all its gender and class dimensions.

The contributors are all members of Researchers and Academics of Colour for Equity.

Sherene Razack is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies, University of Toronto. She is the author and editor of a number of books, including Casting Out: The Eviction of Muslims from Western Law and Politics, and Race, Space, and the Law: Unmapping a White Settler Society. Sunera Thobani is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies, University of British Columbia. She is the author of Exalted Subjects: Studies in the Making of Race and Nation in Canada. Malinda Smith is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Alberta, and author of Beyond the ‘African Tragedy’: Discourses on Development and the Global Economy.

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States of Race will be useful for those already knowledgeable about the subject, as well as for novices. [It] is a valuable resource for anyone interested in critical race feminism and its application in a Canadian context.

– Shameless magazine

A refreshing and thoughtful collection that explores a range of realities faced by women and feminists of colour…. The editors and contributors have interwoven critical race and transnational feminism, post-structuralist feminist theory, and philosophy to offer incisive analyses on a range of current topics of interest to all critical thinkers across the globe. This volume – subtle, illuminating and accessible – should be required reading for students and faculty in critical race theory, women’s studies, and political and feminist philosophy courses.

– Falguni A. Sheth, Philosophy and Political Theory, Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass.

With theoretical sophistication and analytical brilliance, this collection is essential reading that provides readers with critical tools to understand the relation between Canadian (and North American) racisms, neoliberalism, and the War on Terror. These eight essays incisively reveal the multiple, interconnected, and transnational projects of racism through a critical race feminism that is an exemplary practice of solidarity, coalition, and critique.

– Inderpal Grewal, Women’‘s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Yale University


Preface A Decade of Critical Race Studies
Introduction States of Race: Critical Race Feminism for the 21st Century
Sherene Razack, Malinda Smith, and Sunera Thobani
Part I Race, Gender, and Class in the Canadian State
Chapter 1 Race, Gender, and the University: Strategies for Survival
Patricia Monture
Chapter 2 Gender, Whiteness, and Other: Others in the Academy
Malinda S. Smith
Chapter 3 Doubling Discourses and the Veiled Other: Mediations of Race and Gender in Canadian Media
Yasmin Jiwani
Chapter 4 Abandonment and the Dance of Race and Bureaucracy in Spaces of Exception
Sherene H. Razack
Part II Race, Gender, and Class in Western Power
Chapter 5 Indigenous Women, Nationalism, and Feminism
Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez
Chapter 6 White Innocence, Western Supremacy: The Role of Western Feminism in the War on Terror’’
Sunera Thobani
Chapter 7 New Whiteness(es), Beyond the Colour Line? Assessing the Contradictions and Complexities of Whiteness in the (geo)Political Economy of Capitalist Globalism
Sedef Arat-Koç
Chapter 8 Questioning Efforts that Seek to do Good: Insights from Transnational Solidarity Activism and Socially Responsible Tourism
Gada Mahrouse