Inspired by his own personal experiences in the borderlands of racial intelligibility, Jon Iftikar introduces racial subjection theory in this conceptual book. The theory contributes to the “third wave” of college student development theory by drawing upon insights from cultural studies, critical and postmodern theory, and Critical Race Theory. Through racial subjection theory, Iftikar demonstrates how racial identity is not a stage, status, nor an internal essence but instead, an on-going process that informs and is informed by experiences with White supremacy where college students are positioned as racial subjects through racial ideologies and within hegemonic Whiteness. Iftikar also utilizes the theory to analyze how students’ racial identifications and interests are formed, and how students embody and enact their racial identities. Re-envisioned as racial subjection, racial identity formation is thus a site of struggle, of both domination and empowerment, and a space for reproducing and/or challenging racial inequities in higher education contexts.
In addition to its theoretical contributions, the book aims to facilitate critical consciousness about race and racism in higher education among policymakers and practitioners that can reveal alternative sites for struggling against White supremacy and to provide conceptual tools for better understanding, supporting, and re-envisioning important racial identity-based forms of activism.
Jon S. Iftikar, Ph.D., is an independent scholar.
Chapter 1: Racial Subjection Theory
Chapter 2: Racial Citation
Chapter 3: Racial Identification
Chapter 4: Racial Embodiment
Racial Subjection Theory in Higher Education is conceptually rich and both politically and educationally wise. It is a welcome contribution to our understanding of issues of race in higher education.
Jon Iftikar has emerged as the consummate scholar/researcher who intersects personal narrative, research, theory, and practice into a book that helps us delve deeply into helping us understand the concept of “racial subjection.” Racial Subjection Theory in Higher Education: Re-envisioning Racial Identities, Interests, and Inequities is timely given the boundaries and impenetrable walls that have been created because people have been given permission to remain steadfast in their perceived beliefs about others based on stereotypical beliefs or immutable characteristics. The Racial Subjection Theory encourages seeking truth, embracing otherness and framing identity as non-linear which is empowering. Higher education leaders, practitioners, and graduate students in preparation programs should read this important work because taking the time to reflect on the Racial Subjection Theory and in turn use the concepts to reframe as well as nurture our own sense of racial identity could improve our passion for the profession, enhance our personal as well as professional environment, and empower others.
Grounded in critical theory and the complex realities of human life, Jon Iftikar provides much-needed and profound insight into the connection between society and identity formation processes. The theory and ideas in this book will surely catapult higher education into a new era of deeper and richer conversations about the nature of social identity in college and beyond.