The construction of sexuality through culture and history essay

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The construction of sexuality through culture and history essay

Though it was once claimed to be, race actually has no biological basis, but rather is a social idea that uses skin color to assign meaning, divide people, and to legitimate enslaving blacks. In the s, scientists and anthropologists began working on a project to classify humans into different species, and some began to pose pseudo-scientific theories of biological differences among races, and with it a theory of racial inferiority and superiority.

Many scientists considered these theories strictly speculative, attributing differences in skin color and other phenotypical traits to climate alone, and concluding there was otherwise racial equality. American scientist Samuel Stanhope Smith stated that: In fact, this era saw the rise of various evolutionary theories and psuedo-scientific studies that served to solidify claims of racial difference and hierarchy, which deemed nonwhites as inferior.

Racialized studies of crania, brains, hair, and even body lice—though admittedly, even by the scientists themselves, deemed inconclusive and fallacious—took hold, fueling the racism and legitimation of domination, which had spawned the pseudo-scientific studies in the first place.

In particular, in this highly politicized antebellum period when slave revolts and abolition was on the rise, these scientists were central to the protection of white supremacy. These theories of the racial superiority of whites, though again entirely false, still took hold throughout and beyond the era of slavery in the US.

That is, while Reconstruction and the Progressive Era are remembered as times for advancement in thought about race, they occurred amidst the American eugenics movement, which sought to perpetuate ideas of biological racial inferiority.

However, the movement against this thinking was also gaining influence, lead by anthropologists and historians like Franz Boas and W.

The construction of sexuality through culture and history essay

Of the former, Lee D. He effectively directed the anthropology of race away from theories of evolution and guided it to a consensus that African Americans, Native Americans, and other people of color were not racially inferior and possessed unique and historically specific cultures.

These cultures, he argued, were particular to geographic areas, local histories, and traditions. Furthermore, one could not project a value of higher or lower on these cultures—cultures were relative.

Despite this history, many continue to believe that race is a biological phenomenon. Thus, the next activity is meant to anchor our studies in not only debunking this myth, but also in the essential act of naming our own assumptions and misconceptions.

Perhaps even more importantly, though, is the study of a history and a society in which pseudo-science can be developed and deployed to serve the purposes of white supremacy. Students are asked to stand next to the person or people with whom they believe they have most in common, biologically or genetically.

Students are likely to stand next to people whose skin color or race they share, and when asked why they chose to stand where they did, they answer simply and clearly: The following quotes will be read and posted for students to hear and read, and after each quote they will be given time to write or draw as a personal reflection, and then to discuss with partners.

What is the history of race and racism in the US? The idea of race and racism as we know it has not always existed, and is not natural. It came into existence in a particular context—namely Colonial America—and toward a specific purpose that would serve the interests of owning class Europeans.

However, to reduce the histories and cultures to only three is limiting, as they were actually far more vast and nuanced than three distinct cultures or histories.

This section is intended to illustrate to students, who were the many different people that formed the foundation of what is now America, how did their treatment of one another vary and change over time and across space, how did those enslaved and indentured resist, and how did those in power create laws to divide and conquer.

Finally, how did this process and motives of profit all function together to create the concepts of racism and race? Only a short while prior to the English invasion of North America, in the mid-sixteenth century, the English began to colonize Ireland.

Though it was not skin color—or what would be later understood as race—that divided them. Rather, it was linguistic, religious, and other cultural differences that the English used to legitimate their conquer of the Irish.

Given this history, it is perhaps not surprising that it was Irish who were indentured servants in the New World, and also that they among other European groups were not immediately considered white as the color-based concept of race emerged in America. As a backdrop to this narrative of European conquest over Native Americans and Africans, it is essential to note that at this time in history the idea of race had not yet developed into a cohesive or even clear concept.

Quite the opposite, it was this very history that would lead to a construction of the idea of race. Race theory, then, had up until fairly modern times no firm hold on European thought. On the other hand, race theory and race prejudice were by no means unknown at the time when the English colonists came to North America.

Undoubtedly, the age of exploration led many to speculate on race differences at a period when neither Europeans nor Englishmen were prepared to make allowances for vast cultural diversities. After the Europeans began taking that land, the number of Indians was reduced until, in time, fewer than a million remained.

What happened in America in the actual encounters between the Indians and the English strangers was not uniform. In Virginia, Indian savagery was viewed largely as cultural: Indians were ignorant heathens. In New England, on the other hand, Indian savagery was racialized: Indians had come to be condemned as a demonic race, and their dark complexions signifying indelible and inherent evil.

Why was there such a different between the two regions? Possibly the competition between the English and the Indians over resources was more intense in New England than in Virginia, where there was more arable land. More important, the colonists in New England had brought with them a greater sense of religious mission than the Virginia settlers.

Furthermore, this is to say nothing of the varied treatment of different Native American tribes across North America by other European conquerors, namely the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and French.Essay Popular Culture Affect Gender and Sexuality - Gender is a sociological factor which is a set of relationships, attributes, roles, beliefs and attitudes of human.

On the other hand, sexuality can be referred into two traits. Foucault’s History of Sexuality, to use Butler’s more technical language, exposes the “mechanism of coercion” behind the modern preference for heterosexual sex in the hope of liberating a.

The construction of sexuality through culture and history essay

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