Race in Inverted Commas: The Mythology of Race in Criminological Theory and Lessons From African Fractal Theory of Articulation

Biko Agozino, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

How do you say race in inverted commas, given the fashionable way that some scholars now spell the word as 'race'? Do you pronounce this word with a roll of your eyeballs and a curving of your index fingers with a comical nod of the head (nudge-nudge, wink-wink)? I asked my former colleagues this question when they outlined my area of expertise and included race in inverted commas whereas I do not follow that style of spelling in my own work. Why did they put race in inverted commas but left gender and class without any inversions in the description of my areas of interest? Race in inverted commas is a fad among liberal European scholars who argue that there is no such thing as race (in the biological sense but we can say that even class and gender are also socially constructed rather than being natural) and so the inverted commas around the term, race, are the badge of their liberalism or proof of their skeptical scientific scholarship. This fad is found among black and white scholars alike but I have noticed that it is not very fashionalbe in Africa and America yet, in spite of the Chicago School claim by a prominent black scholar (now in Harvard) that the significance of race is declining in positivismn, to post-structural skepticism. Finally, the African fractal theory of articulation will be applied to develop a more dynamic conceptualization of the politics of race in criminology.

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006