Object lessons in whiteness: Antiracism and the study of white folks

Authors
Citation
J. Hartigan, Object lessons in whiteness: Antiracism and the study of white folks, IDENTITIES, 7(3), 2000, pp. 373-406
Citations number
57
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Sociology & Antropology
Journal title
IDENTITIES-GLOBAL STUDIES IN CULTURE AND POWER
ISSN journal
1070-289X → ACNP
Volume
7
Issue
3
Year of publication
2000
Pages
373 - 406
Database
ISI
SICI code
1070-289X(200009)7:3<373:OLIWAA>2.0.ZU;2-N
Abstract
This payer examines the convergence of antiracist politics and theorizing w ith the emergent ethnographic attention to cultural constructions of whiten ess. The methodological, conceptual, and political crossing points between antiracist scholarship and cultural anthropologists' burgeoning interest in the construction of white racial identity raise a host of provocative issu es about the political stakes involved in studying whiteness. Drawing on my fieldwork on whites in Detroit, Michigan, I offer a critical reflection on the influence that antiracist projects have had on anthropologists' effort s to analyze whiteness. The core of this discussion involves an evaluation of the centrality of "racism" in the analytical judgments of antiracist and ethnographic studies. Though it is perhaps more politically useful and app ealing to develop emphatic assessments of how whites reproduce and imbibe r acism, I argue that it is also critical to consider the highly contradictor y and ambiguous aspects of white racial identification. Through a critique of the way antiracists analyze the stories white people tell, I delineate t he comparative advantages that an ethnographic attention to the ambiguities of racial matters brings to the tasks of understanding whiteness.