Critical Whiteness Study Group


What is the Critical Whiteness Study Group?

This study group was formed in 2022 by an interdisciplinary collection of UVA graduate students and postdocs who share common research interests in advancing racial equity. Several inspiring chats over coffee shop meetings, group projects in courses, conference attendance, work dates, and much-needed walks around Charlottesville, led to the formation of this study group. Many classes, workshops, and discussions focus on supporting diversity, racial equity, and disrupting bias. Yet, we don’t often enough have structured, ongoing conversations about dismantling white supremacy culture, which continues to stand in the way of equity.

As Matias (2022) writes, “Together this research is built on the explicit connection between how whites operate under white supremacy and how that operation then impacts people of Color… [We must] research the inextricable tie between the liberation of whites and that of people of Color.” (p.5). We need a collaborative, interdisciplinary focus to challenge hegemonic research practices and forefront critical perspectives with and from scholars of Color.

Basically, this book group is open for anyone to join our shared reading and critical discussions about disrupting white supremacy culture (e.g., racial hierarchy, white privilege, capitalism) at the root of the inequity. This is the first year of our grant funding, and we aim to meet monthly over the summer to discuss a book that addresses whiteness and disrupting white supremacy. At each meeting, we will vote on the next book to read together, beginning with Margaret Hagerman’s 2018 book White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America, which is a critical ethnography of ethnic-racial identity development in White, affluent children.

 

What is the mission and vision of our group?

  • To support emerging and established scholars committed to doing research that advances equity
  • To deepen understanding of Critical Whiteness Studies through reading and discussion
  • To critically examine existing research and literature that addresses white supremacy culture (e.g., How will we apply CWS to our research? What are the commitments/next steps of extending anti-racism from personal work to community action to empirical evidence? What are existing strategies for dismantling whiteness? and how do we research them? How does our research perpetuate or disrupt oppressive norms?)
  • To connect emerging and established scholars for potential future research collaborations
  • To extend beyond our knowledge of individual, institutional, and systemic oppression toward research on how to address white supremacy culture
  • To promote equitable climate at EHD and UVA by expanding the offering of equity-focused learning and collaboration opportunities

 

Who can be a part of this study group?

Anyone! We welcome anyone who is interested in critically studying whiteness and addressing the individual and systemic factors that maintain racial hierarchy. We welcome emerging and established scholars from various disciplines with a connection to education to join us.

Contact Allison Rae Ward-Seidel for more information, sup5dk@virginia.edu.