Spring 2014 Critical Race Theory Seminar

Professor Powell has asked that the following course description for the Spring 2014 seminar in Critical Race Theory be made available to students.


"Critical Race Theory ("CRT") questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law."  Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, CRITICAL RACE THEORY: AN INTRODUCTION 3 (NYU Press 2001).  Advancing an interdisciplinary approach to critique the law and its role in preserving structural inequality, CRT focuses on analyzing several recurrent themes in the law:  (i) interest convergence (the concept that any "progess" on racial issues is purely the product of whether it contributes to the status quo of inequality); (ii) revisionist history (a critique of how history has been de-contextualized to advance a distorted historical narrative of America's racial progress); (iii) colorblindness and post-racialism (a critique of "neutrality" and the role it plays in the maintenance of systemic subordination of people of color); and (iv) structural determinism (the proposition that racism is structural and adaptable so that societal change is incremental and limited).  These principles will be applied and discussed in a variety of contexts.