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3/23 – Elvira Basevich, “W.E.B. Du Bois’s Racialism and Two Liberal Conceptions of Plurality” @ Brooklyn Public Philosophers

March 23 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


It’s become something of a commonplace to say that race is “socially constructed”. But what does that mean? Who or what does the constructing, and how? And if race is socially constructed, what difference does that make to how we should get along with each other?

Enter Elvira Basevich (CUNY Graduate Center)! Coming up on March 23rd at 7:00 P.M. at the Brooklyn Public Library (10 Grand Army Plaza), she’s going to share some of her work on what W.E.B. Du Bois can teach us about the social construction of race and how to live in a pluralistic society. Here’s a bit more about the talk, in Elvira’s words:

“W.E.B. Du Bois’s Racialism and Two Liberal Conceptions of Plurality”

What do we mean when we say that race is “real”? Political philosophers and philosophers of race overwhelmingly agree that what makes race “real” is the social meaning society gives it. This position identifies race as a social construct. On this view, race is “real” not because it is based on biological facts about social groups, but its “realness” reflects the differential treatment social groups experience in the light of the racial categories society imposes. Yet, how society comes to impose these categories, as well as their moral and political significance, remain a point of disagreement.

In this talk, I present W.E.B. Du Bois’s account of the social construction of race – which he calls “racialism” – and illustrate why it is superior to dominant accounts for understanding the nature and meaning of race, as advanced by the political philosophers Margaret Gilbert and John Rawls.

Tell your friends/students/strangers! Bring your favorite fact that raises trouble for conventional thinking about race! Bring someone with whom you’ve recently disagreed about whether something is racist!

See you there, Brooklyn.


March 23
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Categories:


Brooklyn Public Library, Dweck Center
10 Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11215 United States


Brooklyn Public Philosophers