How does one “deploy love” in the process of critically engaging whiteness? George Yancy, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows’ 2019 distinguished guest speaker, will examine this question in “A Letter of love: An Encounter with White Backlash.” He will also address what it means for whiteness to be in crisis, which he argues is a positive way of beginning to undo it. The talk will take place on Friday, April 26, at 4.30 p.m. in HEC Auditorium (GSH 132).
“Professor Yancy is a phenomenal critical thinker and speaker who has the distinct and distinguishing ability to articulate complex and controversial issues around race in a clear and compelling manner. His talk is a wonderful opportunity for Cornell's Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows and the Cornell community more broadly to engage with a renowned scholar on critical issues,” said Samantha Sheppard, faculty director of Cornell’s Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) Program.
Yancy, professor of philosophy at Emory University and a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College, is the author of “Black Bodies, White Gazes, On Race: 34 Conversations in a Time of Crisis,” and “Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly About Racism in America.” He works primarily in the areas of critical philosophy of race, critical whiteness studies, and philosophy of the Black experience and is particularly interested in the formation of African-American philosophical thought as articulated within the social and historical space of anti-Black racism, African-American agency, and questions of Black identity formation. His current work focuses on the theme of whiteness and how it constitutes a site of embedded social reality and a site of deep and enduring opacity, which is related to what he has theorized as white ambush. He is concerned with the ways in which whiteness as an embodied phenomenon is a reality underwritten by historical forces and practices.
“The objective of MMUF is to transform the academy by increasing the number of minority students who want to pursue a Ph.D. and to reduce, over time, their under-representation in academia. This opportunity to host Dr. Yancy as a distinguished guest speaker speaks to MMUF's mission to illuminate the people within and elucidate the pipeline to academia,” said Sheppard, the Mary Armstrong Meduski ’80 Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Yvette Ndlovu is a communications assistant for the College of Arts & Sciences