Instructor Jeff Spires
, senior lecturer in university studies Description
This course claims that whiteness — white racial identity — is more about language than biology. Whiteness is a rhetorical construct that exists only in discourse, yet its concrete effects impact societies all over the globe. Drawing on texts from around the world, this course traces the evolution of this construct from its inception up to the present day, examining the rhetorical strategies whereby whiteness is both hidden and revealed in a variety of genres: personal memoirs, philosophical essays, scientific investigations, political writings, legal documents, critical analyses, historical essays, and such mass media as television, film, newspapers, and magazines. By engaging in the rhetorical analysis of these texts, this course examines how the discourses of whiteness continue to frame reality and mediate power relations. A required evening film series accompanying the class has students viewing, discussing, and analyzing feature films, documentary films, and television shows. This course counts toward the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement.