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Unsettling Whiteness (339-0-20)


Herman Barnor Hesse
1860 Campus Dr Crowe 5-131

Meeting Info

Online: Mon, Wed, 11:00AM - 12:20PM

Overview of class

Whiteness refers to the meaning of racially specific, dominating and violating forms of being, seeing, doing and ordering, that define, assemble and rule the worlds of white and non-white populations. Whiteness, whether it occurs under the heading of white supremacy, white privilege or white authority is the meaning that defines just the way things are, a normal state of affairs, like in the phrase, ‘getting back to normal'. However, of the various populations, groups, communities, ethnicities, nationalities and identities western scholarship in the humanities and social sciences has deemed worthy of legitimate study, it remains the case that whiteness as it shapes and affects both white populations and non-white populations is routinely exempted from analysis. All of which raises the question of how and why this particular white elephant in the nation's room has remained unstudied and understudied for so long, so much so that many white individuals appear to be oblivious to the racial issues of whiteness and their own whiteness, until they encounter people of color. At the same time people of color find so much of their lives involve protracted and difficult encounters and negotiations with institutional and individual forms of racially discriminatory whiteness, that simply cannot be ignored. This course will examine whiteness in four main ways: as the racialization of white populations; as the formation of white supremacy; as the cultural institution of the White Gaze; and as the regime of White Democracy.

Class Materials (Suggested)

Elizabeth Abel, 2010, Signs of the Times: The Visual Politics of Jim Crow, University of California Press.

Richard Dyer, 1997, White, US: Routledge.

Mathew Frye Jacobson, 1998, Whiteness of a Different Color, Harvard University press.

Joel Olson, 2004, The Abolition of White Democracy, University of Minnesota press

Class Attributes

Historical Studies Distro Area
Interdisciplinary Distro-rules apply
Social & Behavioral Sciences Distro Area
Synchronous:Class meets remotely at scheduled time