Rounding thirty years since the emergence of a disciplinary “Whiteness Studies” in the 1990s, the subject appears just as reified and opaque as an object of study as it is ubiquitous in contemporary life. Taking a cue from the 20th anniversary edition of Richard Dyer’s White (2017) and its opening chapter “The Matter of Whiteness,” Issue 36 invites scholars to engage how in the interceding decades between the discipline’s advent and its contemporary resurgence whiteness has come to matter for a variety of humanistic and social science fields of study. As whiteness has come to matter newly for visual representation, academic study, and contemporary political life, it has also encountered, per Robyn Wiegman, a “fraught materialization” (2012, 196). If it matters–in its fragility, in its supremacy–scholars like Wiegman, George Yancy, Sara Ahmed, and most recently, Nicholas Mirzoeff, have rightfully questioned the theoretical efficacy of critiquing whiteness as an object alone. Where do we go from here?
When asking how or where whiteness matters in visual culture, methodological approaches to matter are conceived broadly: from historical materialism to new materialism, from questions of value to ecologies of representation. For example, following Dyer’s assertion that the invisibility of whiteness as a racial position allows for an existence as merely human, we invite attention to visual representations of the beyond human or non-human. In thinking through how whiteness matters, we encourage submissions that move beyond representation and attend to the formal and material structures of visibility (or invisibility) and visuality that constitute the “matter of whiteness.”
Contributions to this issue may address (but are by no means limited to) the following topics and themes:
Audiovisual representation of “Whiteness”
Ethnic whiteness on television (The Sopranos, Peaky Blinders, Spanish telenovelas)
The “White Cube”; Arctic Studies; (In)visibility of whiteness in art history
The origins of Classical Hollywood Cinema in D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Extremist racial politics in global contemporary visual culture
White noise and sound studies
Whiteness and musical genre
Cinematic and televisual narratives of racial passing
Whiteness & disability
Ecologies of whiteness
Whiteness & indigeneity
Scholarship on the merely human, beyond human, or non-human
Racial embodiment and the “phenomenology of whiteness”
Whiteness & gender
Whiteness & sexuality
Whiteness & (post)colonialism
Please send completed papers (with references following the guidelines from the Chicago Manual of Style) of between 4,000 and 10,000 words to [email protected] by June 1, 2023. Inquiries should be sent to the same address.
In addition to written materials, InVisible Culture is accepting works in other media (video, photography, drawing, code) that reflect upon the theme as it is outlined above. Please submit creative or artistic works along with an artist statement of no more than two pages to [email protected]. For questions or more details concerning acceptable formats, go to http://ivc.lib.rochester.edu/contribute or contact the same address.
InVisible Culture is also currently seeking submissions for book, exhibition, and film reviews (600-1,000 words). For this issue we particularly encourage authors to submit reviews of games or other forms of interactive media. To submit a review proposal, go to http://ivc.lib.rochester.edu/contribute or contact [email protected].