Haunting Whiteness: Rhetorics of Whiteness in a 'Post-Racial' Era

full name / name of organization: 
Tammie M Kennedy, Joyce Middleton, and Kris Ratcliffee
contact email: 

The editors invite chapter proposals that work with the collection's title, Haunting Whiteness: Rhetorics of Whiteness in a 'Post-Racial' Era. As imagined in this collection, whiteness is an identification, a trope with associated discourses and cultural scripts for thinking and acting. As an identification, whiteness (via its presences and absences) constructs identities for people and texts as well as for cultural events and institutions. As an identification, whiteness functions as Freud describes all identifications: as a ghost, a haunting, which feeds on invisibility, nostalgia, and melancholy.

Haunting Whiteness seeks contributions that examine how normative whiteness has transformed itself in the 21st century. While a mainstream narrative in the media often depicts President Barack Obama's two-term election as a clear sign of the arrival of a "post-racial" epoch, the editors of this collection reject the notion that race no longer matters. Why? On the one hand, "white" has emerged as a visible racial category, most notably in the 2012 election in pre-election polling efforts and, especially, in GOP post-election analyses. On the other hand, white has emerged as an invisible racial category that has infiltrated various discourse systems by assuming new syntactical, linguistic, and grammatical tonalities. These visible and invisible functions of whiteness in the 21st century demand new scholarly considerations about how whiteness is constructed, deployed, sustained, and disrupted by U.S. and global citizens.

Building on seminal whiteness studies of the 1990s, Haunting Whiteness seeks to update whiteness studies for 21st century readers. Scholars such as Richard Dyer, Neil Ignatiev, George Lipsitz, Ian Lopez, Peggy McIntosh, Toni Morrison, Dave Roediger, and others have written books and articles about how whiteness operates in film, literature, history, legal studies, and across various categories of "difference." To update this scholarship, this collection will articulate the processes and stakes involved in (a) identifying rhetorics of whiteness, especially white privilege, (b) locating its power, (c) defining the ethos needed to serve as an anti-racist ally, and (d) providing scholarly and pedagogical tools necessary to identify, analyze, and evaluate how whiteness haunts U.S. and global cultures.

To that end, the editors seek chapter proposals that address the following topics, or intersections among them, as they relate to whiteness studies.

• Civic and legal discourse (politics, U.S. immigration, censorship, activism, etc.)
• Popular culture (books, film, TV, music)
• Social media (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, virtual gaming, Second Life, Spotify,
• Education (pedagogy, writing, curriculum, technologies, learning modalities, political
• Identity categories (multiracial, disability, and LGBTQI)

This collection of essays will be useful for interdisciplinary experts in whiteness studies, especially but not only for those in rhetoric, composition, and writing studies. Scholars across disciplines will benefit from new perspectives on the rhetorics of whiteness to help them rethink their own scholarship and teaching. Undergraduate and graduate students in rhetoric, composition, writing studies and other significant disciplines will learn about whiteness studies and its history and significance in their disciplines.

Deadline: By 25 April 2013, please submit 2-pp. proposal for 20-page chapters.
Format: 500-word clear statement of your topic, argument, and method plus a clear explanation of how your chapter will be organized and developed.
Submit: Email proposals to the editors of the collection:
Tammie M. Kennedy, University of Nebraska-Omaha
(tmkennedy@unomaha.edu); Joyce Irene Middleton, Visiting Professor at Stony Brook University
(middletonj@ecu.edu); and Krista Ratcliffe, Marquette University (krista.ratcliffe@marquette.edu).
Acceptances: Notifications will be emailed in late May and completed drafts will be due by 1 November 2013.
Publisher: Southern Illinois UP is interested in receiving a proposal for this collection. A press cannot make contract decisions until it sees the quality of a proposal and a few sample chapters; thus, a proposal for this collection will be submitted only after chapter proposals and a couple sample chapters exist.