Psychology of Racism in the Light of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

July 14, 2020

Webinar Series

Psychology of Racism in the Light of the Black Lives Matter Movement

Racism is a shapeshifter. Elusive, material for comedians, banal and brutal all at once, it is everywhere and apparently a figment of the psyche. Coloured by specificities of local contexts, yet part of everyday global experience of black lives, we cannot understand the forms, changes and effects of racism without devoting attention to histories, politics and economies of place, region, and the globe.

In comparison to racism, struggles for antiracism in many places have appeared to be tiresomely constant, single-minded in pursuit of their objectives. At the same time, while over the years there have been scholars who have sought to make their disciplines antiracist or use their knowledge to fight racism, racist knowledge seems to have many lives. This country has produced several psychologists who have devoted their intellects and practice to understanding and fighting racism in psychology and society, as well as making psychology antiracist. In 1994, with the birth of what was meant to be a truly new nonracial, nonsexist and egalitarian society, many antiracist and other progressive psychologists in the country, not unlike antiapartheid activists and progressive scholars of all stripes, apparently felt that racism was dead, or on the way to its graves, at least in the country. It is of significance that 1994 was also the year of the birth of a new nonracial organisations for psychologists and psychology students, after decades of a whites-only colonial and apartheid psychology organisations.

In this webinar, leading psychologists who work on race and racism, patriarchy, sexuality, class, and violence will offer their insights on how we are to understand racism today, in the country and elsewhere, interrogating the possibilities and challenges of overcoming racism locally and globally, in daily life, universities, and work environments. The reflections on the past and futures of racism take place in the shadow of the public murder of George Floyd in the United States, and the death of Collins Khosa in South Africa, but also the hope ushered in by the sustained protests led by the Black Lives Matter campaign, and similar social movements in other parts of the world. Finally, the discussion will interrogate the courses and new shapes that racism has taken in the country, bringing into conversation different forms of racism, including scientific, discursive and institutional and interpersonal racisms, and their intersections with sexisms, nationalisms, and antipoor structures and policies.



Prof Norman Duncan

Norman Duncan holds a professorship in Psychology and is the DVC: Academic at the University of Pretoria. His research and publications are primarily in the fields of racism and community psychology. He has co-edited a range of volumes, including Race, Memory and the Apartheid Archive (Palgrave/WUP).

Prof Shose Kessi

Shose Kessi is Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at UCT. She is a social psychologist with research interests in decolonial approaches to the study of  racial and gendered identities. Her work focuses on engaging individuals and groups through Photovoice methods.

Prof Kopano Ratele

How do we become who we are? How might we best think of our being and the world of human and other animals from our situatedness here, today, as men and women and other genders? These are some of the questions that the author of The World Looks Like This From Here: Thoughts on African Psychology (2019), Kopano Ratele. Kopano is the Director of the South African Medical Research Council Masculinity & Health Research Unit and Professor at the University of South Africa where he runs the Transdisciplinary African Psychologies Programme. His research interests include masculinity, race/racism, violence, and African-centred, decolonising critical and cultural psychology. Kopano is a member of the Ministerial Committee on Transformation in South African Universities, former president of the Psychological Society of South Africa, and former chairperson of Sonke Gender Justice. Other recent books are Liberating Masculinities (2016) and Engaging Youth in Activism, Research and Pedagogical Praxis: Transnational and Intersectional Perspectives on Gender, Sex, and Race (2018, co-edited with Jeff Hearn, Tammy Shefer, and Floretta Boonzaier).

Moderator: Prof Garth Stevens

Garth Stevens is the Dean of Humanities, a Professor and Clinical Psychologist in the Department of Psychology, in the School of Human and Community Development, at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. His research interests include foci on race, racism and related social asymmetries; racism and knowledge production; critical psychology, ideology, power and discourse; violence and its prevention; historical/collective trauma and memory; applied psychoanalytic theorising of contemporary social issues; and masculinity, gender and violence

Webinar Details

Date: 29 July 2020

Time: 14:00 – 16:00

Platform: Zoom

Join us on Zoom as we unpack the Psychology of Racism with leading Psychologists in the field, and earn 2 General CEU Points!

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