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Whiteness studies is an interdisciplinary arena of academic inquiry focused on the cultural, historical and sociological aspects of people identified as white, and the social construction of whiteness as an ideology tied to social status. Pioneers in the field include Ruth Frankenberg (White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness, 1993), author and literary critic Toni Morrison (Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, 1992), and historian David Roediger (The Wages of Whiteness, 1991). By the mid-1990s, numerous works across many disciplines analyzed whiteness, and whiteness has since become a topic for academic courses, research and anthologies.

A central tenet of whiteness studies is a reading of history and its effects on the present, inspired by postmodernism and historicism, in which the very concept of race is said to have been socially constructed in order to justify discrimination against non-whites. Since the 1800s, critics of the concept of race have questioned if human races even exist and pointed out that arbitrary categories based on phenotypical characteristics are chosen, and that the idea of race is not about important differences within the human species.

Major areas of research include the nature of white identity and of white privilege, the historical process by which a white racial identity was created, the relation of culture to white identity, and possible processes of social change as they affect white identity. Many scientists have demonstrated that racial theories are based upon an arbitrary clustering of phenotypical categories and customs, and can overlook the problem of gradations between categories. A reflexive understanding of such presumptions also informs work within the field of whiteness studies

*You can see all my work on the subject The Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta here. HERE MY THEME

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