Call for Presentations

Conceptions of Whiteness: White Privilege

The Images of Whiteness Project: 5th Global Meeting

Sunday 10th May – Tuesday 12th May 2015
Dubrovnik, Croatia


Call for Presentations
In recent years the issue of racial whiteness has emerged as an area of enquiry, as academics, artists, and practitioners from a range of positions and national contexts have turned their critical attention to the ways in which whiteness is constructed, represented, and contested. Historical accounts have detailed the emergence of whiteness as a racial category, alongside projects identifying the impact of regimes of whiteness upon social policy, while media and literature studies have considered narratives of white people as reflecting white themes, obsessions and anxieties. Artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers have also made whiteness ‘visible’ in works which interrogate the discursive practices of this social identity, critiquing the extent to which whiteness frames art and culture, and presenting culture which challenge the privilege of whiteness in traditional Western society.

Consistent with the shift away from the exclusive examination of ‘minority’ identity formations within academic and artistic practices, and an increasing consideration of the ways in which ‘normative’ identities are constructed, depicted and embedded, the study of whiteness is increasingly understood as central to understanding the operation of ‘race’ as a social categorisation.

Inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary perspectives are sought from those engaged in any field relevant to the study of whiteness, including history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, media studies, performance, literature and creative writing. Artists within photography, film, literature, visual art, graphic design and digital media are invited to display and discuss their work within the context of whiteness, along with academics and practitioners who share their preoccupations. Participations from civil servants, activists, fundraisers, and those working for non-government and non-profit making organisations are also encouraged. Non-traditional presentations which combine scholarly content with creative practice are also encouraged as a means of bringing together those who study culture and those who create. The event is intended to foster dialogue and collaborative practices between individuals exploring whiteness within academia, and those within artistic communities or culture industries whose work engages with the meanings of this racial formation.

This year’s conference is organised around the concept of ‘white privilege’ as a discourse which has gained much momentum within recent years as a means of articulating the advantages afforded to those people, practices, and perspectives associated with white identity. The dominance of whiteness in the arts and culture industries, in the corridors of power, in narratives of history, politics, culture and civilisation, has been critiqued by many recent artists and scholars. We invite papers and creative work which explores the nature of such structures, their social and cultural operation, and the ways in which white privilege intersects with other dominant formations. Also of interest are the ways in which white privilege is and has been challenged, negotiated, and subverted within art and culture.

Proposals, presentations, artistic works, workshops and pre-formed panels are invited on issues related to any of the following themes:

  • Histories of whiteness in scholarship, art, and popular culture
  • Nationally-specific formations of white identity
  • Whiteness and multiculturalism
  • Images of whiteness in serial television, their critique and their production
  • Constructions and criticisms of whiteness in painting, photography and the visual arts
  • Performances of whiteness, from the perspectives of performers and critics
  • Practices of writing whiteness in fiction and non-fiction
  • The politics and ethics of White Studies
  • Racial whiteness, fashion and cosmetics industries
  • Teaching whiteness
  • Intersections between whiteness, gender and sexuality
  • Religion and whiteness
  • Whiteness and the criminal justice system
  • Space and whiteness
  • Online constructions of white identity

The Steering Group welcomes the submission of proposals for short workshops, practitioner-based activities, best practice showcases, how-to sessions, live demonstrations, performances, and pre-formed panels. We particularly welcome short film screenings; photographic essays; installations; interactive talks and alternative presentation styles that encourage engagement.

What to Send
300 word proposals should be submitted by Friday 30th January 2015. All submissions are at least double blind peer reviewed. Proposals should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Whiteness5 Proposal Submission.

All abstracts will be at least double blind peer reviewed. Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs
Ewan Kirkland: ekirklanduk@yahoo.co.uk
Rob Fisher: white5@inter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the ‘Ethos’ series of research projects, which in turn belong to the Critical Issues programmes of ID.Net. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and challenging. All proposals accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook.  Selected proposals may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.

Appropriation of racial ‘otherness’ within white culture

Images of whiteness in popular culture

Nationally-specific formations of white identity

Whiteness and multiculturalism

Constructions of whiteness in painting, photography and the visual arts

Performances of/performing whiteness

Writing whiteness in fiction/non-fiction

The politics and ethics of White Studies

Racial whiteness, fashion and cosmetics industries

Whiteness and absence, emptiness and death

Teaching whiteness

Intersections between whiteness, gender and sexuality

Conceptions of whiteness in non-white cultures

Whiteness and consumer culture

Music, music videos and whiteness