Theory of Racelessness: A Case for Antirace(ism)
Dr. Sheena Mason, Department of English
Dr. Sheena M. Mason (English Department) offers a three-part solution for how scholars and people aspiring toward anti-racism can avoid unintentionally upholding racism, using literary studies as a case study to show how “race” often translates into racism itself. Theory of Racelessness: A Case for Antirace(ism) (Palgrave 2022) presents a skeptical eliminativist philosophy of race and the theory of racelessness, a methodological and pedagogical framework for analyzing “race” and racism. The theory of racelessness is an imaginative and new future-making process rendered tangible in the here & now. The theory gives people the knowledge & tools they need to free themselves from racism, stopping it in its tracks so that more people fully embrace themselves outside of race(ism) & extend that grace to others.
Dr. Mason earned her Ph.D. in English literature from Howard University, her M.A. from the University of Houston, and her B.A. from SUNY Plattsburgh. Before coming to SUNY Oneonta, she taught at the College of William and Mary, California Lutheran University, and Howard University. Her book, Theory of Racelessness: A Case For Antirace(ism), was published in early 2022. Additionally, she co-authored “The Harlem Renaissance,” a chapter of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Art; “‘A WHITE SLAVE:’ Albinism in Barbara Chase-Riboud’s Sally Hemings” from Cosmopolitanisms, Race, and Ethnicity (2019), and “No Malcolm X in My History Text” (2018). In her teaching, scholarship, and service, Dr. Mason consistently and unwaveringly promotes anti-racism, though her “anti-racism” necessarily differs from traditional thought and practices. Her sustained interest in understanding systemic racism and being a change agent for social justice resulted in her primary specialization in African American literature. Her secondary specializations are American and Caribbean literature. One of her mantras is “freeing ourselves together,” which she aims to cultivate: healing, unification, and recognition of shared humanity.