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Professor invited to speak at U of MN will lecture on “decentering whiteness”

Many college campuses across the U.S. have become obsessed with race. In particular, “whiteness.” And our own University of Minnesota is no exception. Next week, the U of MN will host Dr. Lisa Anderson-Levy—a professor at Beloit College in southern Wisconsin—to speak on the “existential threat” of whiteness to the United States, as first reported by Campus Reform.

According to her faculty profile, Dr. Anderson-Levy teaches anthropology under the philosophy that “teaching is a political act.”

Dr. Anderson-Levy will use her presentation titled “The Elephant in the Room: A ‘Grown-Up’ Conversation about Whiteness” to argue that “whiteness poses an existential threat to social, political, and economic life in the U.S.” and that “decentering whiteness is one of the most urgent social dilemmas of our time and demands our immediate attention.”

The description of the lecture also stated “the ubiquity and violence of whiteness” would be discussed, according to Campus Reform, but that language has since been deleted from the U of MN’s website.

Here is the abstract of the event as it currently appears:

Abstract: What do our perennial discussions about terrorism, patriotism, and immigration in the U.S. have in common? There has been little public discussion about the logic of white supremacy and how it contextualizes the ways in which we understand who is a terrorist/what counts as terrorism; who is a patriot/what counts as patriotism; and who is an immigrant and what counts as unfavorable immigration. Dr. Anderson-Levy argues that whiteness poses an existential threat to social, political, and economic life in the U.S. and proposes that decentering whiteness is one of the most urgent social dilemmas of our time and demands our immediate attention.  This presentation explores the ways in which academic institutions are poised to either reproduce or interrupt these discourses. Analyzing and understanding the intersectional operation of whiteness has the potential to shift paradigms, if there is will and courage. This presentation prompts us to ask: what might it look like to decenter whiteness in our scholarship, pedagogy, institutional governance, and broader intellectual praxis – including in our budgets, our curricula, our disciplinary genealogies, our interactions with students, and our relationships with each other as colleagues?

Co-sponsored by: UMN Race, Indigeneity, Gender & Sexuality Studies

A university spokeswoman confirmed to Campus Reform that the U is sponsoring the lecture.

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