Crisis Consciousness, Utopian Consciousness, and the Struggle for Racial Justice
William Paris (University of Toronto, St. George Campus)

November 12, 2021, 3:30pm - 5:00pm

This event is online


University of Western Ontario


Title: Crisis Consciousness, Utopian Consciousness, and the Struggle for Racial Justice

Abstract: For many, the George Floyd Protests of 2020 seemed like a watershed moment in the long struggle for racial justice in the United States. The images of large multiracial protests along with utopian calls to “defund” or “abolish” the police suggested that an historic change in public consciousness was underway. More people than ever were now viscerally aware of what racial injustice looks like in the United States. And yet, any honest assessment of what followed the protests would have to admit that the social order of the United States has remained fundamentally the same. In this talk, I assess the role of consciousness in struggles for social transformation. I argue against what I take to be an overemphasis on making agents aware of injustices as sufficient for social transformation. Instead, it is when agents find a social order can no longer satisfy their normative expectations and grasp how they can alter these structures do we find the seeds of social transformation. What I will identify as “crisis consciousness” and “utopian consciousness,” respectively, offers a more plausible account of the pragmatics of social transformation while explaining why the focus on curing the ignorance of those with privilege tends to frustrate struggles for racial justice.

Zoom Invitation:

Topic: William Paris Philosophy colloquium talk

Time: Nov 12, 2021 03:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 955 6894 7501

Passcode: 428376

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