Rhetoric Review: Whiteness Studies
The idea of a symposium on whiteness studies occurred to Tammie Kennedy, a doctoral student and intern at Rhetoric Review, after she attended a 2004 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) panel on whiteness. Organized by Joyce Irene Middleton, this panel featured Kathleen Welch, Laura Gurak, Michelle Kendrick, and Kris Ratcliffe. The panel’s focus was the matter of whiteness. The matter of the title nods to Judith Butler’s Bodies That Matter, Cornel West’s Race Matters, Ruth Frankenberg’s White Women Race Matters, and Toni Morrison’s “Black Matters”—all of which play with the term matter so that it signifies in three distinct ways: First, it signifies that bodies matter (everyone’s body has value); second, it signifies that bodies are composed of matter (bodies are material entities); and third, it signifies that the matters associated with bodies emerge via cultural socialization (bodies are marked, or coded, by socially constructed cultural categories such as gender, race, class, age, nationality, etc.).