Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Cultural Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Race
Secondary Theme: Class
How are ethnoracial identities complicated by socioeconomic class, and vice versa? Recent social and political developments across the United States from surging nationalist and xenophobic rhetoric to the increased visibility of popular resistance movements suggests the (re)entrenchment of racialized worldviews along class lines. Yet, despite the growing calls for a more engaged, activist anthropology grounded in antiracist and decolonizing methodologies that critically engages such developments, comparatively few Americanist ethnographers have explicitly analyzed racial projects (Omi & Winant 1994) through the lens of class.
This panel recognizes a need among anthropologists of the United States to contribute nuanced, ethnographic insight into contentious debates regarding the fraught interstices of racial- and classed subjectivities as they are lived everyday. Altogether, these papers challenge the notion that “social class” is a more sociological, rather than anthropological, topic while also addressing how we, as Americanist anthropologists and Americans ourselves, navigate our own intersectional identities vis-à-vis our interlocutors. As class and racial inequalities garner ever-increasing media and public attention, this panel asks: How has the racialization of class impacted ethnographic studies of disparate socioeconomic communities throughout the U.S.? Does adopting class-centric analyses shed light on the contradictions, fissures, and liminal spaces in how emic racial categories are understood in the U.S.? Why, and how, are racial lives performed in response to, or against, stereotypical classed assumptions of “appropriate” behavior? Moreover, each paper in this panel addresses the methodological complexities of being an Americanist anthropologist “at home” in the present cultural and political moment, and in particular how each author differently navigates their own intersectional identities vis-à-vis their ethnographic subjects.