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Possessive Investments in Whiteness at a Post-Apartheid University

Sat, May 27, 8:00 to 9:15, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 3, Aqua 309

Abstract

University of Cape Town’s vice chancellor, Max Price, recently withdrew an invitation to Jyllands Poston cultural editor, Flemming Rose. Responses to Price’s withdrawal offer meaningful insights into possessive investments in whiteness. Contentions about blows to academic freedom mask the vested interests behind inviting Rose. P oston’s Muhammed cartoons are a form of liquid racism: “a racism generated by ambiguous cultural signs that encourages the development of entrenched socio-discursive positioning, alongside reactions to racism, when reading these signs. The images are ambiguous because they combine the signs of older racisms alongside those of political and social issues that are not necessarily racist.” This resonates with Steyn and Foster’s argument that “a characteristic of White Talk in post-apartheid South Africa is the interdiscursivity of old and new forms of race talk, providing … continuity and inventiveness.” Old and new forms of racism are articulated with valid concerns about free speech. We thus see how white male privilege is defended and liquid forms of racism and Islamophobia are articulated.

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