The Construction of WhitenessAn Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity

The Construction of WhitenessAn Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity

Stephen Middleton, David R. Roediger, and Donald M. Shaffer

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9781496805553

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

The Construction of Whiteness is an interdisciplinary collection of essays that examines the crucial intersection between whiteness as a privileged racial category and the various material practices (i.e. social, cultural, political, and economic) that underwrite its ideological influence in American society. In truth, whiteness has rarely been understood outside of academic circles as a problem to be examined, questioned, or interrogated. This is because the ubiquity of whiteness—its pervasive quality as an ideal that is at once omnipresent and invisible—makes it the very epitome of the social and cultural mainstream in America. Yet the undeniable relationship between whiteness and structures of inequality in this country necessitate a thorough interrogation of its formation, its representation, and its reproduction. The essays in this collection seek to do just that; that is, interrogate whiteness as a social construction, thereby revealing the underpinnings of narratives that fosters white skin as the ideal standard of beauty, intelligence, and power. The essays in this collection examine whiteness from several disciplinary perspectives, including history, communication, law, sociology, and literature. Its breadth and depth makes The Construction of Whiteness a standard anthology for introducing the critical study of race to a new generation of scholars, undergraduates, and graduate students. Moreover, the interdisciplinary approach of the collection will necessarily appeal to those with scholarly orientations in African and African American Studies, Ethnic Studies and Cultural Studies, Legal Studies, etc. This collection, therefore, makes an important contribution to the field of whiteness studies, broadly conceived, in its multifaceted connections to American history and culture.