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RICSRE Seminar Series, Paula Moya

"Reading Race: From Ferguson, Missouri to Morrison’s A Mercy and Back Again”
Despite claims by some that they do not "see" race, researchers using a variety of measures have established that racial perception in the US is automatic and widespread. But Americans do not just "see" race-we also "read" it, actively engaging in interpretive practices that draw upon widely available meanings attributable to particular bodies, behaviors, styles, and places. Such meanings motivate choices and also are recruited to justify behaviors. When white police officer Darren Wilson described the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown to the grand jury as huge, threatening, and "demon"-like, he tapped into a familiar narrative of black men as brutish, menacing, and singularly invulnerable - ostensibly providing the jury with the alibi they needed to absolve him of responsibility. In this talk, Moya discusses the phenomenon of racial illiteracies before exploring how literary representations by writers such as Toni Morrison and Junot Diaz work to both examine and reshape Americans' skewed racial schemas.
Paula M. L. Moya is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Program in Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford University. She is the author of Learning From Experience: Minority Identities, Multicultural Struggles (UC Press 2002) and has co-edited three collections of original essays, Doing Race: 21 Essays for the 21st Century (W.W. Norton, Inc. 2010), Identity Politics Reconsidered (Palgrave 2006) and Reclaiming Identity: Realist Theory and the Predicament of Postmodernism (UC Press 2000). Moya has received the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching, a Ford Foundation postdoctoral fellowship, the Outstanding Chicana/o Faculty Member award, a Brown Faculty fellowship, and a Clayman Institute fellowship. Her most recent book, The Social Imperative: Race, Close Reading, and Contemporary Literary Criticism is forthcoming from Stanford University Press in late 2015.
Sponsored by the Research Institute of Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (RICSRE). Co-sponsored by the Program in Modern Thought and Literature (MTL).
Lunch will be served. RSVP on this form.



Thursday, January 15, 2015. 12:00 PM


Terrace Room, 4th floor, Margaret Jacks Hall, Bldg. 460


Program in Modern Thought and Literature, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity


Open to all Stanford faculty, graduate students, and CCSRE affiliates.