The 2012 election this fall will afford many opportunities to connect concepts learned in the classroom to events outside of it. In the most recent episode of Office Hours, Kia Heise and Lisa Gulya speak with Professor Enid Logan about her book, “At This Defining Moment”: Barack Obama’s Presidential Candidacy and the New Politics of Race. Like other episodes of Office Hours, this podcast could be assigned in place of or in addition to reading. It could also be played in the classroom. We suggest the first twenty minutes (or so), though we would welcome your input on which parts of the podcast you chose to play.
1) What are the new politics of race, and how do they differ from those in the past? What does Logan say that this means for African American politicians and middle class blacks? Why are these prescriptions particularly directed at blacks in America?
2) Logan mentions the term “intersectionality.” What does that term mean?
3) What is ‘colorblind racism’ and how, according to Logan, has colorblind racism been central to Obama’s presidency?
4) What does Logan have to say about the respective importance of race and gender to liberalism in the United States? Explain Logan’s conclusion that Obama won the election because he ‘did race’ better than Clinton ‘did gender.’ Why, according to Logan, was voting for Obama redeeming to many white Americans?
5) During the 2008 election, Republican candidates claimed they were defending “real” America. Is Mitt Romney able to do this? Why or why not? What does Logan say about Obama’s populist appeal?
6) With the vast demographic changes in the United States, what does Logan say about how conceptions of ‘whiteness’ have changed for many white Americans?
7) Logan forecasts that race will not play as prominent a role in the 2012 election as it did in the 2008 election. Why is this the case? Based on what you have seen, do you agree?
8) What does the term ‘differential racialization’ mean? How does class make a difference? Based on what you have learned from this podcast, where does Obama fall in this formulation and why?