Skip to main content

Mobilizing race: Borders, transitions, movements

Professors Daniel Renfrew and Genesis M. Snyder are featured in the December 2016 edition of City & Society. They co-edited a special journal section representing critical anthropological examinations of the ways race(d) subjects, categorizations and ideologies are mobilized and translated across borders. 

Daniel Renfrew

Renfrew and Snyder approach “mobilization” and movement in a broad sense, as a set of discursive or ideological formulations, as a form of cultural or social movement politics or as the mobility and agency of embodied subjects. Similarly, “translations” occur on or through a number of fields, including the mass media and culture industries, socio-linguistic registers, social movement strategies, racial politics or local/global governance regimes. “Borders” are broadly conceived as encompassing demographic, linguistic, geopolitical, market, historical, race/ethnic, urban or national lines and spaces. 

Their approach to race and racism emphasizes an understanding of the “fluidity, mutability and historical contingency” of these categories and processes, while situating them as fundamentally relational and transnational in character. 

Case studies include analyses of race, racism and racializing processes in North and South America, southern Africa, postcolonial Western Europe, post-socialist Eastern Europe and “fast capitalist” East Asia. 

Genesis M. Snyder

Included within the collection are two co-authored pieces:

Daniel Renfrew and Genesis M. Snyder (2016) “Introduction to Special Section, ‘Mobilizing Race: Borders, Translations, Movements’” City & Society 28 (3): 271-275. 

Daniel Renfrew and Genesis M. Snyder (2016) “‘When Said with a Sneer’: Translating Language, Race, and Culture Through an English Football Race Controversy” City & Society 28 (3): 319-340.

Daniel Renfrew and Genesis M. Snyder draw from a recent high profile English football race controversy involving two world football stars, Uruguayan Luis Suárez and Frenchman of Senegalese descent Patrice Evra, to analyze the shifting racial politics of sports and nationalism in cosmopolitan Europe (England and France) and racializing Uruguay. They examine the varying and changing meanings of race and the problematic nature of cultural and linguistic translation of race categories in globalized and postcolonial contexts, and they analyze the organized Afro-Uruguayan community’s efforts to denounce Uruguay’s enduring “sly racism” and to promote racial inclusion.