Call for Papers ‘Off-white: When Whiteness Isn’t Enough’ 25 March 2022

Call for Papers

Off-white: When Whiteness Isn’t Enough
March 25, 2022, Virtual Workshop
Co-sponsored by Department of Teaching and Learning, Long Island University-Post Campus and Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies (CERS), University of Leeds

Whiteness is often considered to be homologous with hegemony and centrality. At the same time there is a recognition of a hierarchy of whiteness, often inflected through the categories of gender, class, and ethnicity. This workshop sets out to explore whiteness by focusing on subjectivities that are articulated as white but find themselves positioned at the subaltern end of the scale.

Off-white builds on several concepts in the literature. It accepts the contingency of whiteness, the historical, political, social, economic conditions which give it form in a particular context. However, it then follows this up by suggesting that this contingency also places limits on whiteness within itself. Thus, the questions of which white groups are included and which ones are excluded and under what conditions (national, transnational, historical, political, social, ideological, economic, etc.) remain open and fluid.

Off-white accepts that whiteness is constituted as meaningful through what is excluded from it. However, the focus of off-white is not on the racial/political divide between white and non-white groups, but rather on the nuances among white groups. Thus, its attention is on factors such as gender, class, religion, ethnicity, and coloniality, including the impact of colonial histories and postcolonial presents. Rather than defining the limits of whiteness exclusively through the outside, through non-white groups, it asks what are the tensions and contradictions that contest the hegemonic formation of whiteness from within.

By exploring the category of the off-white, the workshop seeks to understand transnational connections within how whiteness operates. Trump’s (2016-2020) white nationalist political agenda provided an opening that was replicated in other countries in Europe, in the UK and in Canada, and vice versa. This global circulation gave legitimacy to claims from far right, white supremacist groups that they are at risk of losing, or have lost already, what they believe is and was their ‘rightful’ place in their respective societies. Off-white offers tools to analyze how the circulation of this ‘crisis of whiteness’ is more than an outcome of national politics.

We invite papers which engage with and expand upon these threads, themes, and questions as part of an analytical contribution to critical whiteness studies. Other topics include, but are not limited to:

The limits of whiteness and the Black/white racial divide

White subjectivity in minority contexts

Comparative or transnational political histories of white minorities

Whiteness and the limits of the nation/the national

We invite papers from a range of disciplines, including history, politics, sociology, anthropology, education, religious studies, and philosophy of race. The workshop will take place virtually on Friday, March 25, 2022 and will be focused on discussion, rather than the typical conference type presentation.

Working papers (3000-4000 words, including references) will be developed into full- length journal articles to be published in a special issue on the topic.

If you are interested in participating, please submit an abstract of 300-500 words and a short bio of 100 words here: https://forms.gle/3PkauSsUVL3hqwWC6
If your abstract is accepted, you will be invited to submit a working paper for the workshop.

Timeline:

Abstract submission: January 20, 2022
Notification of acceptance: January 27, 2022
Working paper submission for circulation to attendees: March 11, 2022 Workshop: March 25, 2022
Full paper submission: July 31, 2022

If you have any questions, please contact the organizer, Dr. Uzma Jamil (uzma.jamil@mail.mcgill.ca).

Co-sponsors:
Prof. Shaireen Rasheed, Long Island University-Post Campus

Prof. Salman Sayyid, University of Leeds

Prof. Ivan Kalmar, University of Toronto