This event is free and open to all. It will be followed by a modest reception, hosted by the University of Alberta Academic Women’s Association.
Professor Razack’s talk is part of a two-day conference held at the University of Alberta on April 24 and 25. For more information about the conference and to see the full conference program, please visit:
Closing keynote lecture by Parin Dossa (Saturday, April 25)
Full conference program on FB
Full conference program on website
“Poor prognosis is associated with being religiously devout. In other words, the more religious the person, the more poor (sic) the prognosis.” (Michael Welner, psychiatrist, expert witness for the prosecution in the sentencing hearing of Omar Khadr at Guantanamo about Jihadists.)
The argument that Muslims possess a genetic incapacity for rational thought, an argument given credibility in the security hearing, requires a connection to be made between race, religion and culture. There has to be something innate (the race part) to Muslims, something they get from their religion or culture, that predisposes them to terrorism. In zones of an authorized non-legality such as Guantanamo, the argument about a pre-disposition to violence can be stitched together appealing to a repertoire of racist ideas. In this presentation, I explore the role that psychology and psychiatry play in establishing who is beyond the boundary of civilization, and thus who is an inmate of the zone where law has authorized its own suspension. In security hearings, psychologists and psychiatrists serving as expert witnesses guide the court in understanding Muslims and their religious/cultural predisposition for violence. Muslim savagery is read in the personality of the detainee, and in his practices of religiosity. Through a close reading of the sentencing of Omar Khadr by a military commission at Guantanamo, and specifically of the testimony of the psychiatrist Michael Welner, testimony that was the core of the state’s case against Khadr, I explore the key ideas of the security hearing that establish that Muslims have, in the words of Nicolai Sennels, a Far right propagandist of anti-Muslim racism, “a catastrophically damaged gene pool.”
ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Sherene Razack is Professor of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. She is the author and editor several books on feminism, race, gender, settler colonialism, and imperialism, including Race, Space and the Law: Unmapping a White Settler Society (2002); Dark Threats and White Knights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping and the New Imperialism (2004); Casting Out: Race and the Eviction of Muslims From Western Law and Politics (2008); and States of Race: Critical Race feminism for the 21st Century (with Malinda Smith and Sunera Thobani) (2010).
ABOUT THE CONFERENCE:
This interdisciplinary conference brings together emerging and established scholars from across Canada and around the world to discuss the post-colonial conditions of identity formation, and cultural, social, and political transformation in diverse contexts where Muslims live. Some panel titles include “Islamophobias, (War on) Terror, and Their Rising Complexities”; “Orientalism and Its Critical Reception”; “Gender Dynamics, Religion, and Cultural Belonging”; and “Limits of Multiculturalism.” Conference keynote lectures will be delivered by Sherene Razack (University of Toronto), and Parin Dossa (Simon Fraser University). To see full conference program visit: http://ucmconf.com/program/
* Office of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Alberta
* Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta
* Kule Institute for Advanced Study, University of Alberta
* Alberta Public Interest Research Group
* Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta