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(Not) feeling the past: boredom as a racialized emotion

Teeger, Chana ORCID: 0000-0002-5046-8280 (2023) (Not) feeling the past: boredom as a racialized emotion. American Journal of Sociology, 129 (1). 1 - 40. ISSN 0002-9602

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Identification Number: 10.1086/725803


This article centers boredom as a racialized emotion by analyzing how it can come to characterize encounters with histories of racial oppression. Drawing on data collected in two racially diverse South African high schools, I document how and why students framed the history of apartheid as boring. To do so, I capitalize on the comparative interest shown in the Holocaust, which they studied the same year. Whereas the Holocaust was told as a psychosocial causal narrative, apartheid was presented primarily through lists of laws and events. A lack of causal narrative hindered students’ ability to carry the story into the present and created a sense of disengagement. Boredom muted discussions of the ongoing legacies of the past and functioned as an emotional defense of the status quo. I discuss the implications for literatures on racialized emotions, collective memory, and history education.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The University of Chicago
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 09 May 2023 09:54
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2024 16:46

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