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The cluster of Race/Critical whiteness focuses on race and whiteness as power structures –politically, symbolically and as embodied in historical and social gendered culture.
White people have always had the privilege of being able to draw out their own portrait representing our/themselves as the norm. The consequence is that white people speak for the human race –in the words of white males, whereas “non-white” people are raced and thus speak only for their own “race”– in an often feminized voice-over. In the United States critical race theory and African American Studies have a long acclaimed tradition and history focusing on the consequences of racial segregation and oppression. Moreover, the black presence in the United States is seen as constitutive of the United States’ self-identity as white.
Europe has different and diverse histories, cultures and socio-political structures and thus the questions of migrations, religions, languages and nationalisms mark exclusions and inclusions. Race and critical whiteness studies in a European context thus include scholarship on various forms of religious and cultural otherness such as for instance the exclusions of Jewish, Islamic and Rom cultures. Racism is a power structure and a factor of social control very much present in everyday lives, and it is often played out on women’s bodies. The cluster aims at examining how these paradoxes and oppressions are constructed and sustained within and through socio-political and cultural representations.