Connecticut Law Review Volume 43 - Issue 5

Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory: Looking Back To Move Forward

This Article revisits the history of Critical Race Theory (CRT) through a prism that highlights its historical articulation in light of the emergence of post- racialism. The Article will explore two central inquiries. This first query attends to the specific contours of law as the site out of which CRT emerged. The Article hypothesizes that legal discourse presented a particularly legible template from which to demystify the role of reason and the rule of law in upholding the racial order. The second objective is to explore the contemporary significance of CRT’s trajectory in light of today’s “post-racial” milieu. The Article posits that CRT emerged between the pillars of liberal racial reform and Critical Legal Studies and that other conditions of its possibility included the temporal, institutional, and ideological nature of race discourse in the mid-eighties. Turning to the contemporary period, the Article posits that the post-racial turn presents conditions that are both parallel to and distinct from those that prevailed during CRTs formative years, and that the challenge of a contemporary CRT is to synthesize a transdisciplinary critique and counter-narrative to the post-racial settlement.

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