The Anthropology of Race, Racism and Ethnic Animosities
*CANCELLED* Racism is defined as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized; and hence the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities that mark them as inferior or superior to one another. So, what defines “race?” Ethnicity, tribe, nationality, geography? Customs, behavior? Physical appearance? Drawing from its ethnological and biological perspectives, anthropology shows that the whole concept of race is socially constructed, with no basis in biology. Racism is a form of a universal cultural sense of superiority over others, and is probably rooted in human evolutionary biology.
Phil Stevens retired in 2019 after 48 years in the Anthropology Department at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. He received his B.A. in English from Yale in 1963, then served with the Peace Corps in Nigeria for three years. Those experiences brought him into anthropology, and he entered the graduate program at Northwestern University. He conducted dissertation research in different areas of Nigeria, 1969-1971, and received his Ph.D. in 1973. He has conducted subsequent anthropological research in West Africa and the Caribbean. He is the author of many publications in cultural anthropology and African studies, and he is the recipient of two awards for excellence in teaching. One of his most popular courses at UB was on the anthropology of Magic, Sorcery, and Witchcraft; and he is writing a book on that topic. He lectures frequently to community groups on subjects of current concern.