Book Review

Published in 2009, the present collection of essays originates in a conference held in 2007 and organized by ACRAWSA (Australian Critical Race And Whiteness Studies Association). This fact anticipates the book’s scope and although the title does not suggest it explicitly, most contributions are firmly located in Australian whiteness studies. Whiteness studies, more generally, proliferated in the United States in the 1990s with influential studies by Ruth Frankenberg, Toni Morrison and other cultural critics who pointed to the social construction of whiteness and challenged its racial privileges. In the Australian context, the discourse has emerged, to a large extent, as a response to debates on Indigenous sovereignties in the late 1990s and gained momentum in early and mid-2000s. ACRAWSA was founded in 2003 and started a regular e-journal a year later, the same year borderlands published a special issue dedicated to whiteness studies, bringing together contributions from prominent Australian theorists of whiteness and critical race theory—Ghassan Hage, Aileen Moreton-Robinson and Damien Riggs were among them. The main initiative of whiteness studies is presumably to investigate how whiteness, as a normative category and a structural authority, operates in various spaces to secure its privileged position in political, economic, legal, educational and cultural spheres. In other words, the aim is to “unsettle” whiteness’ invisibility. ….

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