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The Similarities of Racialization among “Gypsies,“ Jews, and Burakumin in the Middle Ages

Yasuko Takezawa
Thursday, March 23, 2023, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

In Professor Takezawa's previous studies, she has claimed that race is not a modern Western construction but has existed since the Middle Ages at least in some societies. In this talk, she will demonstrate the cases of “Gypsies” in Romania, Jews in Spain, and Burakumin (then called Kawaramono) in Japan in the Middle Ages to point out the striking similarities among them in the way they were marginalized and racialized in their respective societies, including their relationship to their rulers. Race is not only a visibly distinguishable group, but can be a phenotypically invisible as well.

Yasuko Takezawa is a Professor of Cultural Anthropology/Sociology at the Institute for Research in the Humanities of Kyoto University, Japan. She is a pioneer and leading scholar in critical race studies in Japan. Her English publications include: Breaking the Silence: Redress and Japanese American Ethnicity (Cornell University Press, 1995. The Japanese version won the Shibusawa Award from the Japanese Association of Cultural Anthropology); Race and Migration in the Transpacific (Yasuko Takezawa and Akio Tanabe eds., London: Routledge, 2023); Transpacific Japanese American Studies: Dialogues on Race and Racializations (co-ed. with Gary Okihiro, U of Hawai’I Press, 2016); Racial Representations in Asia (Takezawa ed. Kyoto University Press / Transpacific Press, 2011). 


Reception to follow 

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