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Libraries video viewing/discussion series on
"Race: the Power of an Illusion"

Image Courtesy of 'RACE-The Power of an Illusion,' California Newsreel
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The Rutgers University Libraries welcome members of the Rutgers community, and the general public, to participate in an engaging and myth-busting interactive three session video screening/discussion series using the video program "Race: The Power of an Illusion." Dr. Edward Ramsamy, associate professor in the Department of Africana Studies, will facilitate a discussion of the program's content following each presentation.

The video screenings and discussions on July 22nd and July 29th have been moved to the faculty lounge of the School of Communication and Information (formerly known as SCILS). The School of Communication and Information building is located next to Alexander Library and the faculty lounge is on the 2nd floor near the dean's suite of offices.

"Race—The Power of an Illusion" is a provocative three-hour series that questions the very idea of race as biology. Scientists tell us that believing in biological races is no more sound than believing the sun revolves around the earth. So if race is a biological myth, where did the idea come from? And why should it matter today? "Race—The Power of an Illusion" provides an eye-opening discussion tool to help people examine their beliefs about race, privilege, policy, and justice.

"Race—The Power of an Illusion" is a three-part documentary produced by California Newsreel, the oldest non-profit, social issue documentary film center in the country, in association with the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and sponsored by the Ford Foundation. The video series was aired nationwide by PBS in 2003.

The Rutgers University Libraries video screening/discussion series will be held on Wednesday nights for three consecutive weeks.

Part One -- Differences between us
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Part One looks at the biology of human variation, and race as a social construct, inviting the viewer to re-examine assumptions regarding appearance of "difference".

Part Two -- Story we tell
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Part Two builds on the first program, inviting the viewer to consider how one assigns meaning to how one looks--the lens through which one views the world, examining power relationships and changing perceptions.

Part Three -- House we live in
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Part Three challenges the cultural lens, describes the evolution of varied definitions of "race" and how those definitions impacted access to property, work, even citizenship.

All three video screenings and discussions will be held from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.

Dr. Edward Ramsamy is an Associate Professor in Africana Studies, and a member of the graduate faculties of Geography and Urban Planning and Policy Development. Professor Ramsamy holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning (African Development, Political Theory). In 2005, he published the book, From Projects to Policy: The World Bank and Urban Development.

Dr. Ramsamy is a member of Rutgers' Committee to Advance Our Common Purposes. He is currently a faculty fellow at the Institute for Research on Women. He has been a fellow of the Rutgers Center for the Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture and the Social Sciences Research Council, among other honors. He also has served as editor of The Common Purposes Journal, a Rutgers University publication exploring pluralism and cross-cultural understanding.

For further information or to register for the screenings, contact Marilyn R. Wilt, Libraries' Training and Learning Coordinator, by email,, or by telephone, (732) 932-7505.

Posted June 23, 2009; July 21, 2009