Lecture: The Ancient Roots of Modern Scientific Racism THURSDAY @7:30

“The Ancient Roots of Modern Scientific Racism”

Rebecca Futo Kennedy, Associate Professor, Department of Classics, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Environmental Studies at Denison University and Director of Denison Museum, will present a lecture entitled “The Ancient Roots of Modern Scientific Racism” on Thursday, February 27, at The College of Wooster. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Wishart Hall, Lean Lecture Room (303 E. University) at 7:30 p.m. Professor Kennedy says that the lecture will explore “the myriad ways in which ancient approaches to race and ethnicity, studied in the 19th and 20th century as part of standard classically focused educations, were recreated and manipulated as a science of man to justify slavery, eugenics, and white supremacism in the United States.”

Professor Kennedy is the author most recently of Immigrant Women in Athens: Gender, Ethnicity, and Citizenship in the Classical City (Routledge, 2014) and editor of the Handbook to Identity and the Environment in the Classical and Medieval Worlds (Routledge, 2015). She is a translator and editor of Race and Ethnicity in the Classical World: An Anthology of Primary Sources (Hackett, 2013) and editor of the The Companion to the Reception of Aeschylus (Brill 2017). She is currently writing a book on race and ethnicity in antiquity and its entanglements in modern white supremacy and is co-translating a sourcebook of ancient texts on women in ancient Greece and Rome.

Professor Kennedy’s visit is sponsored by Eta Sigma Phi (the Classical Studies honorary organization), the Department of Classical Studies, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Cultural Events Committee. Additional information is available by phone (330-263-2575) or email (jshaya@wooster.edu).

Research Annotations

Avis Mysyk, “Land, Labor, and Indigenous Response: Huaquechula (Mexico), 1521–1633,” Colonial Latin American Review 24, no. 3 (September 2015): 336–55, https://doi.org/10.1080/10609164.2015.1086595.

Mysyk focuses on the use of the encomienda system in the town of Huaquechula in Mexico. This article discusses the attempts of the native population to fend off the colonizing Spanish forces, and how they were, overall, relatively successful. This article will be useful for my essay because it gives me an example about how native peoples have been fighting back against the oppressive force that is white European/Anglo-Saxon rule since the two racial groups made first contact.

István Szászdi, “The ‘Protector de Indios’ in Early Modern Age America: EBSCOhost,” accessed February 24, 2020, http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=7&sid=39e9ea19-ce81-44c3-870b-910995f4e2b0%40pdc-v-sessmgr02&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=139447439&db=a9h.

In this article Szászdi discusses the Protectores system set in place by the Spanish King Phillip II in 1589. This system was designed to protect the rights and privileges of the native population and ensure that they were treated fairly. It was fairly efficient and ended up making a positive impact on a damaged people. This source is interesting for me, as it provides almost a counter-argument for my essay, allowing me to discuss how the encomienda system was, at least initially, designed to be a force for good for everyone.

Research annotations

Medland, William J. 1990. “The Cuban Missile Crisis: Evolving Historical Perspectives.” The History Teacher 23 (4): 433-47.

Medland, Professor of American History at Saint Mary’s College of Minnesota, reviews three works on the Cuban Missile Crisis in his article. The article includes mainly four aspects related to the crisis, including the 1) the basis for Soviet emplacement of missiles in Cuba, 2) the response of the United States to the missiles in Cuba, 3) the leadership of President John F. Kennedy during the crisis, and 4) the consequences or results in the aftermath of the nuclear confrontation. The article sheds light on my research question by providing background information on the development of the crisis and the difficulties Cuba, the Soviet Union, and the United States faced when they were dealing with the brink of nuclear disaster.


Sanghro, Rafi R., Jalil A. Chandio, Siraj A. Soomro, and Javed A. Mahar. 2018. “How Did the Tripartite Relationship Among the United States, the Soviet Union and Cuba Lead to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Complicate Efforts to Resolve the Crisis?” Journal of History Culture and Art Research 7 (3): 199-207.      

This article is completed by two Assistant Professors and two P.h.D students from different colleges. It reveals the political leadership roles of Cuba, the United States, and the Soviet Union played to avoid the nuclear disaster. It focuses on the motives of the three countries’ involvement in the Cuban Missle Crisis based on their political situation at that time. Apart from the authors’ arguments, pictures and maps showing the geographical aspect of the crisis are also included in the article. The article sheds light on my research question by providing the interests and objectives of the three main countries involved in the crisis. 

Research Annotations

Kittleson, R. A. (2014). The country of football soccer and the making of modern Brazil. Berkeley: University of California Press.

The country of football: soccer and the making of modern Brazil examines the cultural, racial and nationalist ties between soccer and Brazil. It starts first in the 1950’s explaining how Brazilian pride needed to be ignited and soccer was the way to do it. It looks into how the race of players in the game during the time was felt lacking in afro-brazilian  representation. This need for representation and national pride is what helped to drive Brazilian soccer to great heights heading into the modern era. Allowing for great prosperity in Brazil and growing the countries notoriety as premier soccer fans, players, and culture.

Baumann, R., & Matheson, V. (2017). Mega-Events And Tourism: The Case Of Brazil. Contemporary Economic Policy36(2), 292–301. doi: 10.1111/coep.12270

In Mega-Events And Tourism: The Case Of Brazil, the article examines the economic growth generated in host countries of mega events like the FIFA World Cup. Specifically the article focuses on the 2014 FIFA World Cup hosted in Brazil, this is because this event generated far more tourists and revenue than previous mega events. The reason for this exponential growth was attributed the successful run of the Argentine national team. From this discovery this article explores how the on field success of teams plays largely into the significance in host countries returns. It also looks into how the location of the event and the teams winning might also play a part in these bursts of revenue increase.



research annotations

Mae M. Ngai, “The Architecture of Race in American Immigration Law: A Reexamination of the Immigration Act of 1924,” The Journal of American History 86, no. 1 (June 1999): 67, https://doi.org/10.2307/2567407.

A Reexamination of the Immigration Act of dives into the structure of the immigration act itself, showing quota maxes for specific races during any immigration. This quota system was instilled to essentially reserve a sense of nationalism within the American people. Racial “quotas were to be allotted to countries in the same proportion that the American people traced their origins to those countries,” essentially forming a colonial mindset within the immigration process, maintaining a balance of “what is American.” This determined eligibility for citizenship leads to further racial biases and discrepancies, most highly against far Eastern nations, pushing notions of conformism in return for immigration.

“The Bridge: Critical Theory: Critical Race Theory,” accessed February 23, 2020, https://cyber.harvard.edu/bridge/CriticalTheory/critical4.htm.

This article breaks down some of the aspects of the critical race theory into the structurality, the critique, and intersectionality. The critical race theory is a held notion of communal principals which determine racial in-groups and out-groups. This categorization of people apart from others by descriptions and culture is defined as people “being race-d,” rather than the constructions we reside within. This article offers more solid insight into the theory behind this, as well as explains how it can be applied to other aspects of life such as variance in gender or sexual identities within different races. By further understanding the structurality of this ideology, I can offer the “reasoning” behind many conformist notions within immigration methods.

Research Annotations

Burton, Julianne. “Culture and Imperialism” Sage Publications. (1978): 2-10.

Culture and Imperialism explains the repercussions that capitalism and technology have produced, in terms of the effects they have had on culture. The author claims that capitalism divides and transforms culture, whereas technology is intertwined with culture, as it is an avenue for cultural exchange. This article was published in a magazine, Latin American perspectives, yet it fails to present much of a Latin American perspective at all. There are a few sentences here and there that demonstrate this perspective, but overall the article appears to be more an overview on the inner-workings of capitalism, technology, and culture. This article, while useful on showing the relationship of capitalism, media, and culture, isn’t extremely helpful in showing a Latin American perspective, it practically fails to incorporate Latin America at all.

Potthast-Jutkeit, Barbara. The history of family and colonialism: Examples from Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. History of the Family, 1081602X, 1997, Vol. 2, Issue 2

Barbara Potthast-Jutkeit’s article examines the effects that colonialism has had on traditional cultural values in Latin America and Africa, with a particular emphasis on family forms. The article goes into detail concerning the replacement of traditional culture with the typical values and norms of Christians and Europeans. One such example given is the replacement of matrilineality and polygamy by monogamy and patrilineality. This article is useful because it provides specific examples of the effects of colonialism upon traditional culture in Latin America and Africa, instead of merely providing an overview. This article also appears to provide evidence and conclusions similar to other articles concerning the same subject matter, there is a pattern when it comes to cultural imperialism and colonialism: white, Christian men colonize a society whose ideals and cultures are different. This leads to a loss of traditional culture due to an enforcement of European values. This article provided me with specific evidence of negative effects concerning imperialism upon culture.

Research annotations

Teague, Aileen. 2019. “The United States, Mexico, and the Mutual Securitization of Drug Enforcement, 1969–1985.” Diplomatic History 43 (5): 785–812.
This academic journal is about the United States’ and Mexico’s efforts regarding the drug war and drug trade. Among the various themes covered, the most useful to my research are: the response Mexico had towards the drug control policies that the United States implemented, The political violence that these policies brought, and factors that contributed to the militarization of both regions. The author’s use of primary sources to back up their argument and the use of secondary sources to strengthen them is remarkable. This source is useful when trying to measure the impact that US policies have had in Mexico and its people.

Hunt, Edward. “Staying the Course in Mexico: The Role of the US in the Drug War, 2006–present.” Third World Quarterly, vol. 40, no. 6, June 2019, pp. 1184–1205.
The author argues that the Merida Initiative was one of the main factors that contributed to the violence. The Merida Initiative was a multi billion dollar US assistance that, after its put into effect, drug related violence increased, when replaced in 2012 there was an observable decrease in violence, and when a similar program was brought again, the violence increased again. Although the article does make a lot of speculations, it does make a good job at backing up their argument with credible evidence. This source is perfect when looking directly at the impact that the US had in Mexico with a specific policy.

Research Annotations

Johnson, Loch K. “Congressional Supervision of America’s Secret Agencies: The Experience and Legacy of the Church Committee.” Public Administration Review 64, no. 1 (2004): 3-14.

Author and political scientist Loch Johnson analyzes the creation of the Church Committee and its dealing with United States secret agencies. He argues that the creation of these agencies was grounded in the need to protect the United States against foreign attacks, but also poses a threat to democratic society. He draws on sources such as political theory journals, as well as intelligence and counterintelligence records, to support his argument. His work provides a view of secret agencies that is less grounded in skepticism, as many works tend to be, and more grounded in professionalism that can be accredited to his editorial position for the Journal of Intelligence and National Security. Loch’s piece will be useful for me because it provides a professional view of the Church Committee and its proceedings, and provides a modern context to the activities of secret agencies during the Cold War.

Falcoff, Mark. “Head-Hunting: Assassination As a Policy.” The National Interest, no. 24 (1991): 103-05.

American scholar and policy consultant Mark Falcoff examines the role of planned assassinations in the activities of the secret service. He argues that assassination attempts were common under many presidents during the Cold War, especially in Latin American countries, such as Chile and Cuba. He uses proceedings from the Church Committee itself and pairs it with historical documents from Cuba and other countries to emphasize the role that secret agencies played in Latin America. His scholarship provides a way to see the effects of alleged misconduct by United States intelligence and counterintelligence in Latin American societies. I will be able to utilize this work to analyze the Church Committee’s proceedings and how they related to the Latin American countries whose leaders’ lives were possibly in danger through assassination attempts.


For this post, I read a Wikipedia article written on economic discrimination. This highlighted animosity in the workforce and how this has been derived from colonial attitudes as “economic discrimination is usually performed by whatever groups are held to be “in power” at the time.” And how this “power” often leads to discrimination in worker’s pay which directly affects the livelihood of there own and family’s lives. This also dives into the structure being placed in the hiring process, creating an even stronger power imbalance by not even allowing one to have the opportunity. While I thought this was all said well, and with the credited sources, I do believe during some places the text got a little tangled, almost in an attempt to use too many “academic” in places where a more colloquial form of language would portray the information in a much better light. This whole idea, however, is exactly what appears in the immigration process. Colonial attitudes are so intensely rooted in aspects of the idealized white  “American ”culture that discrimination is still holding strong in aspects of peoples’ lives that are essential for living, which opens up a whole other discussion of human and racial morality.