Critical Studies of Whiteness from Feminist Perspectives
August 25-27, 2009
Deadline for application:
June 24, 2009
Linköping University, Sweden
Dr. Anne Brewster, University of New South Wales, Australia
Dr. Katarina Mattson, University of Uppsala, Sweden
Professor Anne-Jorunn Berg, Bodø University College, Norway
Professor Nina Lykke, Dept. of Gender Studies, Linköping University.
Director of the Research School
Critical studies of whiteness: theories, methodologies and feminist
Critical approaches to whiteness have grown out of postcolonial and
anti-racist studies. The purpose is to analyse constructions of
racialized power differentials focussing not only on the racialized
'other', but instead exposing the construction of the hegemonic, but
'unmarked' normativity related to 'whiteness'. How is 'whiteness'
construed as the taken for granted norm and symbol of civilization,
progress, beauty etc?
The course will give a presentation of feminist contributions to the debate, following the trajectories of feminist whiteness studies in different locations. The US-context, which is very outspoken within the field - with classic feminist interventions such as Vron Ware: "Beyond the Pale. White Women, Racism and History" (1991) and Ruth Frankenberg "The Social Construction of Whiteness. White Women, Race Matters" (1993) - will be confronted with perspectives from the Nordic countries and Australia.
In addition to introductory theoretical and genealogical overviews, the course will give special attention to methodologies and analytical approaches.
Programme (arrival August 24)
August 25, day 1:
9.00-9.30: Registration and welcome
9.30-12.30 (incl. coffee break): Katarina Mattsson (lecture and discussion):
Outside the Comfort Zone – Methodological Dilemmas and Challenges of Anti-Racist White-on-White research
14.00-17.00 (incl. coffee break): Anne Brewster (lecture and discussion): Negotiating Whiteness
August 26, day 2:
9.00-12.00 (incl. coffee break): Workshop with Anne Brewster:
Workshops (3 groups; group 1 led by Anne-Jorunn Berg, group 2 led by Anne Brewster, group 3 led by Katerina Mattson).
August 27, day 3:
9.00-12.00 (incl. coffee break): Anne-Jorunn Berg (lecture and discussion): Visible difference - notes on “race”, racialisation and reification .
Lectures, abstracts and readings:
Outside the Comfort Zone – Methodological Dilemmas and Challenges of Anti-Racist White-on-White research
As a crucial part of gaining access to a privileged and taken for granted position – and the activities, discourses and symbolism involved in that position – qualitative research methods are always part of making and negotiating the same racial, gendered and sexed positions and hierachies, which the research aims at studying. In my talk I will explore some of the dilemmas and challenges facing ”white” anti-racist researchers involved in the field of critical whiteness studies, especially when using qualitative research methods, such as interviews and participant observations.
Readings for Katarina Mattsson:
Ahmed, Sara (2004). Declarations of Whiteness: The Non-Performativity of Anti-Racism, Borderlands ejournal, Vol 3, No 2, 2004, http://www.borderlands.net.au/vol5no3_2006/ahmed_nonperform.htm (around 16 p)
Best, Amy L. (2003). “Doing race in context of Feminist Interviewing: Constructing Whiteness Through Talk” i In Qualitative Inquiry, Vol 9, Number 6, 2003, p. 895-914,
Butler, Paula (2005). Shattering the Comfort Zone. Ethical and Political Aspects of Anti-Racism Research in Churches. In Dei George J. Sefa & Gurpreet Singh Johal. (2005). Critical issues in Anti-racist Research Methodologies. New York: Peter Lang, p. 125-144.
Crenshaw, Carrie (1997). “Resisting Whiteness’ Rethorical Silence.” I: Western Journal of Communication, Vol 61, Issue 3, 1997, p. 253-78.
Mattsson, Katarina (2009). ”Not me, Yet part of Me – Destablizing the Silence of Visual Whiteness”. In: Bromseth, Janne, Lisa Folkmarsson Käll & Katarina Mattsson (eds, 2009). Body Claims. Crossroads of Knowledge 9, Centre for Gender Research, Uppsala universitet, p. 134-153.
Owen, David S. (2007). Towards a critical theory of whiteness. In. Philosophy and Social Criticism, Vol 33, No. 2, pp. 203-222.
Sheshadri-Crooks, Kalpana (2000) Desiring Whiteness: A Lacanian Analysis of Race (London: Routledge), pp. 1-56.
Twine, France Winddance (1996) Brow n Skinned White Girls : Class , culture and the Construction of White Identity in Suburban Communities, Gender, P lace and Culture , Vol. 3 , No . 2 , pp. 205 - 224.
Twine, Twine, France Winddance & Charles Gallagher (2007). The future of whiteness: a map of the 'third wave', Ethnic and Racial Studies, Volume 31, Issue 1 January 2008 , pp. 4-24.
Twine, France Winddance & Jonathan W. Warren (2000). Racing Research – Researching Race. New York: New York University Press., pp. 1-34, 67-164.
Suggested extra reading:
Wise, Tim J. (2005). White like me: Reflections on race from a privileged son. Soft Skull Press. ca. 150 s.
Some of Katarina Mattsson's readings will be sent out as pdf-attachments to the participants.
Anne Brewster: Negotiating Whiteness
During the 1970s and 1980s challenges from women of colour, indigenous women and other minority women prompted white feminists to review and renovate the parameters of first-world feminism. Since that time first-world feminists have been thinking about the ethics of cross-racial and cross-cultural research and collaborative work.
In the 1990s studies such as Toni Morrison’s ground-breaking Playing in theDark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992) fostered the rapid rise of whiteness studies across a wide spectrum of disciplines (including history, legal studies, education studies, literary studies, sociology, postcolonialism and film studies, for example). Whiteness studies introduced a widening of perspective on the subject of cross-cultural research and the question of whiteness is now at the
centre of international debates on race and cross-cultural issues.
This lecture will briefly investigate how minority women have engaged
first-world feminists in dialogue. It will analyse whiteness and its
relation to its cultural and racial ‘others’ and suggest ways in which
we can examine our relationship with the subjects and materials of our
research. Thinking about the ethics of cross-racial research will enable
us to develop writing methodologies which are sensitive to the ways in
which power operates to render some subjects as racially marked and the objects of control and consumerism on the one hand, and on the other hand to mask the privileges and entitlements of those subjects that are identified as white.
Readings for Anne Brewster:
Brewster, Anne. "Beach Combing: A Fossicker's Guide to Whiteness and Indigenous Sovereignity." Practice-Led Research, Research-Led Practice in the Creative Arts. Ed. Roger and Smith Dean, Hazel. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008. 126-49.
---. "Teaching the Tracker in Germany: A Journal of Whiteness." The Racial Politics of Bodies, Nations and Knowledges. Ed. Barbara and Riggs Baird, Damien. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008.
---. "Travelogue." Outskirts: Feminisms Along the Edge, 2009. Vol. 20.
---. "Writing Whiteness: The Personal Turn." Australian Humanities Review 35. June (2005).
Brodkin, Karen. "Studying Whiteness: What's the Point and Where Do We Go from Here." Unmasking Whiteness: Race Relations and Reconciliation. Ed. Belinda McKay. Nathan: Griffith University, 2004.
Ellsworth, Elizabeth. "Double Binds of Whiteness." Off White: Readings on Race, Power and Society. Ed. Lois Weis Michelle Fine, Linda C. Powell and L. Mun Wong. London: Routledge, 1997.
Fine, Michelle. "Witnessing Whiteness." Off White: Readings on Race, Power and Society. Ed. Michelle Fine, Lois Weis, Linda C Powell, L. Mun Wong. New York: Routledge, 1997. 57-65.
Hage, Ghassan. White Nation: Fantasies of White Supremacy in a Multicultural Society. Sydney and London: Pluto Press / Comerford and Miller, 1998.
Lipsitz, George. "The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: Racialized Social Democracy and The "White" Problem in American Studies." American Quarterly 47.3 (1995): 369-87.
Mills, Charles W. "Race and the Social Contract Tradition." Social Identities 6.4 (2000): 441-62.
Moreton-Robinson, Aileen. "Whiteness, Epistemology and Indigenous
Representation." Whitening Race: Essays in Social and Cultural Criticism. Ed. Aileen Moreton-Robinson. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, 2004.
Muecke, Stephen. Joe in the Andamans. Sydney: Local Consumption Publications, 2008.
Nicolacopoulos, Tina and Vassilacopoulos, George. "Racism, Foreigner Communities and the onto-Pathology of White Australian Subjectivity " Whitening Race: Essays in Social and Cultural Criticism. Ed. Aileen Moreton-Robinson. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, 2004.
Somerville, Margaret. Body/Landscape Journals. Melbourne: Spinifex, 1999.
Westcott, Robyn. "Witnessing Whiteness: Articulating Race and the 'Politics of Style'." Taking up the Challenge: Critical Race and Whiteness Studies in a Postcolonising Nation. Ed. Danmien Riggs. Adelaide: Crawford House, 2007.
Wiegman, Robyn. "Whiteness Studies and the Paradox of Particularity." boundary 2 26.3 (1999): 116-50.
Some of Anne Brewster's readings will be sent out as pdf-attachments to the participants.
Anne-Jorunn Berg: Visible difference - notes on “race”, racialisation and reification.
A central theme in feminist theory centers on “how to see”. A view from nowhere (Haraway), seeing from women’s standpoint (Harding) or the male gaze are familiar ways of addressing complex issues. In my talk I will address questions concerning the idea of “race” as visible phenotype difference, as something one presumably can see. In doing so I will revisit the “old” distiction between nature and culture or biology and the social. How is it possible to rethink and explore racialisation without reifying neither “biology” nor “the social”? The idea of “post-race” has been put forward by several scholars in the field of Race and Ethnicity studies – what does this mean and how does this idea affect critical whiteness studies?
Readings for Anne-Jorunn Berg:
Ahmed, Sarah 2007. "A phenomenology of whiteness." Feminist Theory 8(2): 149-168.
Anne-Jorunn Berg: “Silence and Articulation - Whiteness, Racialization and Feminist Memory Work”, i NORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, Volume 16, Issue 4, s. 213 -227
Frankenberg, Ruth ed. 1997. Displacing Whiteness. Essays in Social and Cultural Criticism. Durham and London: Duke University Press; pp. 1-35, 165-180, 283-311
Gilroy, Paul 1998. Race ends here. in Ethnic and Racial Studies, 21(5): 838-847
Gunaratnam, Y. (2003). Researching 'Race' and Ethnicity. Methods. Knowledge and Power. London, Thousand Oaks, New Dehli, SAGE Publications Ltd. Pp. 3 - 213
Solomos, John og Les Back 2000. Theorising race and racism. I L. Back og J. Solomos. Red. Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader. New York: Routledge og Taylor and Francis e-Library 2001, s.1-28
Some of Anne-Jorunn Berg's readings will be sent out as pdf-attachments to the participants.
(Books and book chapters will not be sent out. Participants must buy or borrow these books themselves.)
The course is organized in collaboration with InterGender, Swedish
National and International Research School in Interdisciplinary Gender
13 applicants, 12 participants: Austria 1, Denmark 1, Germany 3 (1 self-paying), Lithuania 1, Netherlands 1, Norway 1, Sweden 2, UK 2
Last updated: 2011-01-20