'How to write about race when you’re white? Shifting blinkers, changing audiences'
From Clare de Mowbray on May 31st, 2021
by Gauthier Marchais, Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
Chaired by SJ Cooper-Knock, Lecturer in International Development at the Centre of African Studies, The University of Edinburgh
This presentation will reflect on the process of writing about race from the perspective of a white man. Gauthier Marchais will present his book, “Le Deni Blanc: Penser autrement la question raciale”, which was published in January 2021 at Éditions de l’Aube, in France. The book is a reflection on the mental architecture of whiteness ‘from within’ and its implications, building on the author’s personal experience. The presentation will reflect on the challenges of writing about the personal and intimate dimensions of whiteness, and notably the multifaceted and evolving blind spots which such a positionality inherently carries. It will also reflect on the moral dilemmas of the process, notably the risk of reinforcing the centrality of white voices, and the ways in which the question of the audience shapes the formulation and reception of the arguments. The presentation will open to a broader consideration of the role of ‘white voices’ in contemporary debates on race.
Gauthier Marchais is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. He works on social transformation in contexts of violent conflict. His current research focuses on education in contexts of protracted violence, with a focus on the provinces of South Kivu and Tanganyika, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has also worked on race and whiteness, particularly how they appear in the context of academic research.
This event was organised in collaboration with RACE.ED and the Centre for African Studies.