Critical Whiteness Studies Symposium: Schedule

September 23 & 24, 2010
Keynote Speakers: David Roediger, Karyn McKinney, Becky Thompson

This two-day symposium examines the social, cultural and historical production of whiteness, particularly in the age of Obama. The symposium takes up a critical race theory paradigm to engage whiteness and whiteness studies in conversation with the humanities and social sciences. Questions of importance include: How can we interrogate and employ whiteness studies in ways that do not re-center or reify whiteness? Should whiteness studies take an increasingly critical stand in the wake of an Obama Presidency? In other words, how do we maintain a focus on social justice in the face of complacency around institutionalized oppression? We are particularly interested in engaging these and other questions about whiteness in an historical context, thinking through the particular shapes of whiteness, privilege and oppression in the contemporary moment while debunking the ideological lure of a "postracial" America.

Critical Whiteness Symposium Schedule

Thursday, September 23, Day One:

8:30-9:00 Coffee/Muffin/Juice Meet & Greet/Registration, Chicago Lobby



Borders, Space and Neoliberalism, Northwestern Room

• Eric D. Johnson, Department of American Studies, University of Iowa, “'Could if I Wanted To Though': Authentic Genre Narratives and Whiteness in Popular Musical Memory”

• Danielle Olden, Department of History, Ohio State University, “Whiteness and Gender: Mexican American Womenʼs Organizations and White Privilege in the Rocky Mountain West, 1955-1975”

• Lee Bebout, Department of American Studies, Purdue University, “Troubling White Benevolence: Giant and its Chicano Legacy”

• Jolene Hubbs, Department of American Studies, University of Alabama, “Whiteness and Poverty in Contemporary America”

Discussant Deborah Whaley


Whiteness and “the Age of Obama, Ohio State Room

• Jennifer Sherer, Labor Center, The University of Iowa, “ʻOne Really Bad Reasonʼ: Labor 2008 and the Reconstruction of the White Working Class”

• Gregory Laski, Department of English, Northwestern University, “Making Amends, Then and Now: Frederick Douglass, Barack Obama, and the Politics of Racial Reconciliation”

• Bryan Davis, “A Case Study of How White High School Administrators Make Meaning of Their Whiteness”

• Naomi Greyser, Rhetoric, English and POROI, University of Iowa, “Pedagogies for Working With and Against Whiteness In the Classroom: ‘Cultural Diversity’ Requirements and the Paradoxes of De-centering Whiteness for a Largely White Student Body”

Discussant Lenore Maybaum


11:00-12:00 Keynote Lecture by Karyn McKinney, Illinois Room

12:00-1:30 Lunch on own

1:30 - 3:15

Sexuality and the Politics of Whitenes, Northwestern Room

• Dana C. Gravesen, University of Iowa, “I Pledge Allegiance to the F[l]ag; The Rearticulation of Contemporary Queerness as a Threat to Post-9/11 Homogeneous U.S. Nationalism”

• Megan Elizabeth Morrissey, University of Colorado at Boulder, “ʻWhy Not Gay Marriage?ʼ: Focus on the Familyʼs Whitewashing of heterosexuality

  • Michael Litwick, Department of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University, "Beyond Homo(-normative) Oeconomicus: Flexible Masculinities, Flexible Governance"
Discussant Dawn Rae Davis

Reading “Postracial” Literature, Ohio State Room

  • Allyson Hobbs, Stanford University, “Is Passing Passé in the Post-Racial Age?”
  • Veronica Watson, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, “Passing on Race: White Double Consciousness, American Moderation, and the Fantasy of a Post-Racial America”
  • Justin Carville, School of Creative Arts at the Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Dun Laoghaire, "'A Far Flung Race': Diasporic Identity, Whiteness and Documentary Humanism in Dorothea Lange's 'Irish Country People'"
Discussant Miriam Thaggert


3:30-5:00 Performance: "In-Appropriations: Race, Queerness, and the Politics of Intimacy", Illinois Room

  • Kimberlee Perez, De Paul Univeristy
  • Dustin Goltz, De Paul University

Discussant Aimee Carrillo Rowe

5:00-7:00 Film Screening: Blacking Up: Hip-Hop's Remix of Race and Identity, Illinois Room

Discussants Andre Brock & Kembrew McLeod

Friday, September 24, Day Two:

8:30-9:00 Coffee/Muffin/Juice Meet & Greet/Registratio, Chicago Lobby


9:00-10:45 Panel Discussions

“Negotiating Shifting Terrains of Whiteness:

Strategies for Building Alliances and Trans/forming Communities”, Northwestern Room

  • Francesa Royster, DePaul University
  • Ann Russo, DePaul University
  • Laila Farah, DePaul University
  • Sheena Malhotra, California State University
  • Kimberlee Pérez, DePaul University

“Retheorizing Whiteness in Educational Research”, Ohio State Room

The Midwest Critical Whiteness Collective:

  • Timothy Lensmire, University of Minnesota
  • Audrey Appelsies, Unversity of Minnesota
  • Shannon K. McManimon, University of Minnesota
  • Zachary Casey, University of Minnesota
  • Jessica Dockter, University of Minnesota
  • Mary Lee-Nichols, University of Minnesota


11:00-12:00 Becky Thompson: "Pedagogies of Tenderness", Illinois Room


12:00-1:30 Lunch on own


Whiteness in Popular Culture, Northwestern Room

• Rebecca L. Clark Mane, Department of Communication, University of Washington, “Feminist Victories as Alibis for Whiteness: Tracing the Discourses of Imperialist Feminism and the Ghosts of Eugenics in the 82nd Academy Awards”

• Anirban Mukhopadhyay, Texas A&M University, “Neo colonization, Mediated Symbolic order(s) and Voices of Resistance”

• Hunter Hargraves, Department of Modern Culture in Media, Brown University, “National Terrorism, Disembodied Hate: Televisual white Supremacy and the Radical Right”

• Natasha Casey, Department of Communications, McGill University, “Converging Identities: Irishness and Whiteness in Contemporary American Popular Culture”

Discussant Timothy Havens

Whiteness and the Transnational, Ohio State Room

  • Robert D. Taber, University of Florida, "Studying Subaltern Whiteness in the Slave Society of Eighteenth-Century Saint-Domingue"
  • Susana Martinez Guillem, University of Colorado at Boulder, "Theorizing Power in Whiteness Studies: A Dialectical Approach to (new) Europe's Immigration Discourse"
  • Brett L. Shadle, Department of History, Virginia Tech., "White Prestige in Early Colonial Kenya"
Discussant Matt Thomas

3:30-5:15 Workshop, Becky Thompson, Ohio State Room

7:00-8:30: Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor Keynote Lecture by David Roediger (Iowa Room) and catered reception (Penn State Room)

Critical Whiteness Studies is organized by the Project On Rhetoric of Inquiry (POROI) at the University of Iowa. The symposium will consist of two public lectures featuring David Roediger and Karen McKinney, performances, visual installations and scholarly panels that critically examine whiteness. POROI is an interdisciplinary program dedicated to the exploration of how scholarship and professional discourses are conducted through argument, how paradigms of knowledge are sensitive to social-political contexts, and how the presentation of scholarly and professional findings involve the recognition and negotiation of audiences.


Hotels and Lodging in Iowa City

Iowa House, Iowa Memorial union link

Sheraton Hotel, Iowa City link

Hotel Vetro, Iowa City link