March 06, 2012

Sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva will give the talk, "The Invisible Weight of Whiteness: The Racial Grammar of Everyday Life in Contemporary America," Thursday, March 22, at 7 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Social Science Colloquium series, "Shades of Black and Brown: Afro-Latino/a Interactions."

Professor of sociology at Duke University, Bonilla-Silva argues that "There is a racial grammar that structures cognition, vision and even feelings on a variety of racial matters. This grammar normalizes white supremacy as the standard for social events and transactions.

"The talk will illustrate how this grammar works and highlight what it helps to accomplish. Racial grammar is as important as all the visible practices and mechanisms of white supremacy and we must fight its poisonous effects even if, like smog, we cannot see how it works clearly," he said.

Born in Bellefonte, Pa., Bonilla-Silva was raised in Puerto Rico where he received his bachelor's degree in sociology and economics in 1984.  He received master's and doctoral degrees in sociology in 1987 and 1993 respectively at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He is the author of "Rethinking Racism: Toward a Structural Interpretation," where he challenged social analysts to analyze racial matters from a structural perspective rather than from the sterile prejudice perspective, published in American Sociological Review in 1997. He received the 2007 Lewis Coser Award given by the Theory Section of the American Sociological Association for Theoretical-Agenda Setting.

His research has appeared in journals such as Sociological Inquiry, Racial and Ethnic Studies, Race and Society, Discourse and Society, Journal of Latin American Studies, Contemporary Sociology, Critical Sociology, and Research in Politics and Society among others.

He is the author of five books, White Supremacy and Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era, co-winner of the 2002 Oliver Cox Award given by the American Sociological Association; Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States, a 2004 Choice Award expanded and revised in 2006 and again in 2009 with a chapter examining the Obama phenomenon; and White Out: The Continuing Significance of Racism with Ashley Doane. In 2008, he finished an edited book with Tukufu Zuberi -- White Logic, White Methods: Racism and Social Science, also co-winner of the 2009 Oliver Cox Award. His most recent book, with Moon Kie Jung and João H. Costa Vargas, is State of White Supremacy: Racism, Governance, and the United States (Stanford Press).

Bonilla-Silva is working on four book projects: Anything but Racism: How Social Scientists Minimize the Significance of Racism (Routledge), a project examining the characteristics of the emerging racial order in the USA provisionally titled, "We are all Americans: The Latin Americanization of Racial Stratification in the USA," the book The Invisible Weight of Whiteness: The Racial Grammar of Everyday Life in America; and a textbook on race and ethnicity with Professor David G. Embrick (Loyola at Chicago).

Bonilla-Silva also will participate in a faculty colloquium on March 22.

The series is held in recognition of the United Nation's declaration of 2011 as the International Year of People of African Descent. The final speaker in the series is Patricia de Santana Pinho who will discuss blackness, whiteness and resistance to racism in Brazil on April 5.

The series is sponsored by the Provost's Office; the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender; the Office of the President; the departments of sociology and anthropology, political science, and economics; and the University Lectureship Committee.

Contact: Division of Communications

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