William Edelglass – A History of the Concept of Race

Humanities – A History of the Concept of Race

We are very pleased to be welcoming Professor William Edelglass back to Castleton Free Library for another Vermont Humanities Council event on Thursday, May 16th at 7:00 pm.  Edelglass will present a slide lecture entitled “A History of the Concept of Race” (you may have attended his well-received “Genealogy of Happiness” lecture last year at this time).  The program is free and open to all, funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This lecture will trace the intellectual history of the concept of race in the West, from its prehistory to the present time. “The first European to divide the peoples of the world into distinct races, in the seventeenth century, claimed that the Sami people of northern Scandinavia were one of four races on earth; Native Americans, Europeans, South Asians, and North Africans together were considered a second race, while sub-Saharan Africans were the third, and East Asians were the fourth.  How did such a bizarre distinction among groups of people develop into one of the most historically significant ideas of the modern world?”

Professor Edelglass approaches this question from a broad, interdisciplinary perspective. While his teaching post at Marlboro College is focused mainly on philosophy, particularly Buddhist and environmental studies, he has strong interest in questions of ethics, aesthetics, and meaning. His course offerings as well as published works often pull in many other disciplines; e.g. phenomenology and climate ethics, deep time, place-based pedagogy, and the science of meditation. He is the principle scholar for the Brattleboro Words Project, using spatial storytelling to bring together the people and institutions of the area, creating a multilayered map to reflect the intersection of people, history and place. He has taught previously at Colby College, in a NY federal prison, and in Nepal; and he presented a version of this lecture at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay last year.

The library is located at 638 Main St., Castleton, with limited accessible parking and entrance from the west side (additional street parking). For more information contact Mary Kearns at 468-5574 or email castletonfreelibrary@gmail.com.

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