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Twenty-Five Years of Charles Mills’s Racial Contract in Sociology

Twenty-Five Years of Charles Mills’s Racial Contract in Sociology How have sociologists engaged the late philosopher Charles Mills’ landmark The Racial Contract (1997) in the twenty-five years since its publication? I first synthesize and periodize the corpus of sociological research citing The Racial Contract into two chronological and epistemological waves. The first wave (1997-2009) is distinguished by the scholarship of a vanguard who drew on the text, and direct engagement with Mills himself, in a paradigmatic shift away from the sociological study of race relations to the study of racism. The second wave (2010-present) is characterized by a fivefold increase in the text’s citation, tied to a resurgence of Du Boisian sociology and the early-career projects of a new generation of sociologists, as the text diffused from the sociology of race into other subfields of the discipline. I then go on to describe the influence of The Racial Contract on theory, data, and method in my own scholarship on racialization, first during my graduate studies in the United States, and later, as Sociology faculty in Canada at the University of Toronto, Mills’ alma mater. I end the essay with proposals for how a third wave of sociological engagement with The Racial Contract can more rigorously engage the text’s originating relationship to feminist political theory, as well as more actively be in dialogue with a new generation of critical philosophers who are already speaking back to us by centrally drawing on the work of sociologists. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sociology of Race and Ethnicity SAGE

Twenty-Five Years of Charles Mills’s Racial Contract in Sociology

Sociology of Race and Ethnicity , Volume 8 (4): 10 – Oct 1, 2022

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© American Sociological Association 2022
ISSN
2332-6492
eISSN
2332-6506
DOI
10.1177/23326492221119888
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

How have sociologists engaged the late philosopher Charles Mills’ landmark The Racial Contract (1997) in the twenty-five years since its publication? I first synthesize and periodize the corpus of sociological research citing The Racial Contract into two chronological and epistemological waves. The first wave (1997-2009) is distinguished by the scholarship of a vanguard who drew on the text, and direct engagement with Mills himself, in a paradigmatic shift away from the sociological study of race relations to the study of racism. The second wave (2010-present) is characterized by a fivefold increase in the text’s citation, tied to a resurgence of Du Boisian sociology and the early-career projects of a new generation of sociologists, as the text diffused from the sociology of race into other subfields of the discipline. I then go on to describe the influence of The Racial Contract on theory, data, and method in my own scholarship on racialization, first during my graduate studies in the United States, and later, as Sociology faculty in Canada at the University of Toronto, Mills’ alma mater. I end the essay with proposals for how a third wave of sociological engagement with The Racial Contract can more rigorously engage the text’s originating relationship to feminist political theory, as well as more actively be in dialogue with a new generation of critical philosophers who are already speaking back to us by centrally drawing on the work of sociologists.

Journal

Sociology of Race and EthnicitySAGE

Published: Oct 1, 2022

Keywords: racial contract; racism; critical philosophy of race; sociology; knowledge

References