ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Engaging with Isabel Wilkerson’s Idea of Race

A meditation on Isabel Wilkerson’s critique of race that proceeds through an overview of Wilkerson’s multiple agendas, observations about her arguments, with respect to race, and an analysis of the intertwining of systematised discrimination (knowledge) and legalised violence (force of law).


The author acknowledges with gratitude the Anveshi book discussion on Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of our Discontents, New York: Random House, 2020; and especially the preparatory discussion with D Sujatha, Uma Bhrugubanda, A Suneetha and P Thirumal, which produced a rich set of insights.

It has been a long time since I have read a theoretical book that cannot be put down. So, when we recently decided to discuss Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (2020), I started reading the book with very low expectations. I was in for a surprise as I could not put down the book or stop thinking about it for two weeks. My first response was complete submission to the power of her writing, but as I began thinking more carefully about it, I felt there was something needed to be said if only as a long-range refle­ction and not necessarily for the immediacy of her addressed audience and purposes.

Multiple Agendas

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Updated On : 5th Jul, 2021
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