100 Workshop Seven: Racecraft in the Odyssey with Professor Jackie Murray

Mini-Workshop in preparation for conversation with Professor Jackie Murray

20-25 minutes

Please take the first 5 minutes to check-in.  You will not need a notetaker or scribe today, but, at then end of your small-group time, you may wish to appoint one or two group members to report out or ask questions for the group.

Before reconvening to the main room at 1:20 for a 10-minute break, please utilize the remaining 15-20 minutes to prepare for Professor Murray’s visit today

Please consider the following questions:

In her presentation, Professor Murray utilized the concept of Racecraft (Fields and Fields 2014) to describe how racism constructs race.  Prof. Murray stated (more or less — this is from my notes, so not a direct quote) that racism is ontologically prior to racial categories and the concept of race. Racial categories are imposed by the dominant group on the oppressed group.  Race itself is an illusion — a lie — made to seem true through the deployment of false logic and fictive rationalizations.  Racecraft imagines an inalienable humanity inherent in those with power by alienating and dehumanizing others, who are racialized to justify their subjugation.  Professor Murray showed this as a continuum (which, perhaps, we might ask her to show us again.)

1.  Although slavery is not intrinsically linked to race in the Odyssey, do you think there ways that the representation of either female characters or slaves, especially female slaves — how they are portrayed, how they are treated — can be interpreted as a form of ‘Racecraft’?

Please consider Eumaios (the swineherd — Book 14), Eurykleia (Odysseus’s nurse — book 19, 310ff.), the female servants in Odysseus’s house (book 18, 300 – 345 and book 22, 410ff.)

2. What passage(s) from the Odyssey would you be interested to discuss further with Professor Murray?

3. Do you have any other questions for discussion today?


Gender & Sexuality in Ancient Greece Copyright © by Jody Valentine. All Rights Reserved.

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