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«Revisiting The Great White North? Reframing Whiteness, Privilege, and Identity in Education (Second Edition) Darren E. Lund and Paul R. Carr (Eds.) ...»

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Revisiting The Great

White North?

Reframing Whiteness, Privilege,

and Identity in Education

(Second Edition)

Darren E. Lund and Paul R. Carr (Eds.)

Publication Award

Canadian Association

for Foundations in

Education 2009

Canadian Race Relations

Foundation Award of

Distinction 2008

Revisiting The Great White North?


Series Editor:

Shirley R. Steinberg, University of Calgary, Canada

Founding Editor:

Joe L. Kincheloe (1950-2008) The Paulo and Nita Freire International Project for Critical Pedagogy Editorial Board Rochelle Brock, Indiana University Northwest, USA Rhonda Hammer, UCLA, USA Luis Huerta-Charles, New Mexico State University, USA Christine Quail, McMaster University, Canada Jackie Seidel, University of Calgary, Canada Mark Vicars, Victoria University, Queensland, Australia This book series is dedicated to the radical love and actions of Paulo Freire, Jesus “Pato” Gomez, and Joe L. Kincheloe.


Cultural studies provides an analytical toolbox for both making sense of educational practice and extending the insights of educational professionals into their labors.

In this context Transgressions: Cultural Studies and Education provides a collection of books in the domain that specify this assertion. Crafted for an audience of teachers, teacher educators, scholars and students of cultural studies and others interested in cultural studies and pedagogy, the series documents both the possibilities of and the controversies surrounding the intersection of cultural studies and education.

The editors and the authors of this series do not assume that the interaction of cultural studies and education devalues other types of knowledge and analytical forms. Rather the intersection of these knowledge disciplines offers a rejuvenating, optimistic, and positive perspective on education and educational institutions. Some might describe its contribution as democratic, emancipatory, and transformative. The editors and authors maintain that cultural studies helps free educators from sterile, monolithic analyses that have for too long undermined efforts to think of educational practices by providing other words, new languages, and fresh metaphors. Operating in an interdisciplinary cosmos, Transgressions: Cultural Studies and Education is dedicated to exploring the ways cultural studies enhances the study and practice of education. With this in mind the series focuses in a non-exclusive way on popular culture as well as other dimensions of cultural studies including social theory, social justice and positionality, cultural dimensions of technological innovation, new media and media literacy, new forms of oppression emerging in an electronic hyperreality, and postcolonial global concerns. With these concerns in mind cultural studies scholars often argue that the realm of popular culture is the most powerful educational force in contemporary culture. Indeed, in the twenty-first century this pedagogical dynamic is sweeping through the entire world. Educators, they believe, must understand these emerging realities in order to gain an important voice in the pedagogical conversation.

Without an understanding of cultural pedagogy’s (education that takes place outside of formal schooling) role in the shaping of individual identity – youth identity in particular – the role educators play in the lives of their students will continue to fade. Why do so many of our students feel that life is incomprehensible and devoid of meaning?

What does it mean, teachers wonder, when young people are unable to describe their moods, their affective affiliation to the society around them. Meanings provided young people by mainstream institutions often do little to help them deal with their affective complexity, their difficulty negotiating the rift between meaning and affect. School knowledge and educational expectations seem as anachronistic as a ditto machine, not that learning ways of rational thought and making sense of the world are unimportant.

But school knowledge and educational expectations often have little to offer students about making sense of the way they feel, the way their affective lives are shaped. In no way do we argue that analysis of the production of youth in an electronic mediated world demands some “touchy-feely” educational superficiality. What is needed in this context is a rigorous analysis of the interrelationship between pedagogy, popular culture, meaning making, and youth subjectivity. In an era marked by youth depression, violence, and suicide such insights become extremely important, even life saving. Pessimism about the future is the common sense of many contemporary youth with its concomitant feeling that no one can make a difference.

If affective production can be shaped to reflect these perspectives, then it can be reshaped to lay the groundwork for optimism, passionate commitment, and transformative educational and political activity. In these ways cultural studies adds a dimension to the work of education unfilled by any other sub-discipline. This is what Transgressions: Cultural Studies and Education seeks to produce—literature on these issues that makes a difference. It seeks to publish studies that help those who work with young people, those individuals involved in the disciplines that study children and youth, and young people themselves improve their lives in these bizarre times.

Revisiting The Great White North?

Reframing Whiteness, Privilege, and Identity in Education (Second Edition) Edited by Darren E. Lund University of Calgary, Canada and Paul R. Carr Université du Québec en Outaouais, Canada A C.I.P. record for this book is available from the Library of Congress.

ISBN: 978-94-6209-867-1 (paperback) ISBN: 978-94-6209-868-8 (hardback) ISBN: 978-94-6209-869-5 (e-book) Published by: Sense Publishers, P.O. Box 21858, 3001 AW Rotterdam, The Netherlands https://www.sensepublishers.com/ Cover image courtesy of Wim van Passel (© Wim van Passel) Printed on acid-free paper All Rights Reserved © 2015 Sense Publishers No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, microfilming, recording or otherwise, without written permission from the Publisher, with the exception of any material supplied specifically for the purpose of being entered and executed on a computer system, for exclusive use by the purchaser of the work.

Reviews of the first edition of The Great White North? Exploring Whiteness, Privilege, and Identity in Education (2007, Sense Publishers) I found this book as interesting, provocative, and productive as its cover blurbs promise. The editors have chosen a wide range of authors, most of whom are Canadian, who are able to speak knowledgeably about particular local situations, events, and structures, but who are also able to situate these in wider discourses (e.g., in the history of Western philosophy – see chapter by Lindo). This book should serve to alert researchers and teachers to undeniable examples of how racism has been experienced in a wide range of situations (from the perspectives of the colonized, but also from the perspectives of critically aware White people), and how the Whiteness discourse legitimates historical structures of privilege. Readers who are not Canadian should find the examples resonant with events with which they are more familiar. I see it as useful for researchers, graduate students, and teachereducation students in mounting a strong argument for recognizing that Whiteness has structured many contemporary institutions and that resistance to Whiteness discourse is a responsibility of all, especially those in education.

Kelleen Toohey Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University International Migration & Integration, 9, 423–424. (2008).

The Great White North? constitutes an important contribution to the field, particularly for those who struggle with how to make Whiteness and its effects visible to our White students, our colleagues, and those who develop educational policies on equity and curriculum development. In this edited volume, Carr and Lund create an opportunity to extend the work relating to the pedagogy of antiracism education. They do this by interrogating how educators’ failure to engage in critical self-reflective practice runs the risk of their being complicit in perpetuating racist structures, including the institutionalization of White privilege. It is important to note that two of the contributors are community activists. Each chapter concludes with a set of questions for reflection. These will be useful for teachers practicing in a range of contexts from the university classroom to informal, community-based environments.

Evelyn Hamdon Faculty of Education, University of Alberta Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 54(4), 482-488. (2008).

Carr and Lund, both White Canadian antiracist scholars, have created a space for established and emerging scholars, approaching Whiteness from varied epistemic terrains, to articulate its tensions and its societal and institutional implications. The strength of this volume lies in its exploration of the nuances of racial (and other) identities as they intersect the trump-card of White identity and how the complexities of anti-oppression theorizing and practice are taken up; specifically, Indegeneity, cultural, gender, and religious identities are explored vis-à-vis White identity, creating an effective overview of the vastness and richness of the intersections of White studies in Canada and beyond. This volume is a must read for educators and practitioners committed to anti-oppression work. Concluding each chapter are a series of critical questions, providing the reader with the opportunity to develop a heuristic for the task that Dei names as “how we can deconstruct White identity without falling into the easy slippage of acknowledging responsibility and complicity” (p. ix).

Maryam Nabavi Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia Multicultural Perspectives, 10(4), 236. (2008) By challenging all of us to broaden our perceptions and to examine and question the latent whiteness permeating the very pores of our social universe, Carr and Lund and those who have contributed to their work invite us to journey and live and teach differently. A Canadian work, theirs certainly has applicability and interest for readers both within and beyond Canada. This reviewer signals a tip of the hat to them for this worthwhile and timely contribution to antiracist literature. I invite you to read and ponder Carr and Lund’s message and decide for yourself if it can help bring about constructive change in you, your ways of perceiving, and what and how you teach.

Peter Heffernan Faculty of Education, University of Lethbridge Notos: Journal of the Second Languages and Intercultural Council of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, 8(1), 30-31.



The Great White North? provides a timely and important mode of addressing and examining the contradictions of Whiteness, and also challenging its insinuation into the very pores of the Canadian social universe. While the context of the book is distinctly Canadian, there are urgent messages here on race and anti-racism for the international community. Carr and Lund have provided educators with a vibrant contribution to the critical anti-racist literature. This is a book that needs to be put on reading-lists across the disciplines!

Peter McLaren Professor, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies University of California at Los Angeles Naming Whiteness and White identity is a political project as much as an intellectual engagement, and the co-editors of this collection must be commended for creating the space for such naming to take place in public and academic discourses. Is it noteworthy to acknowledge that both Paul and Darren are White, and that they are overseeing this work on Whiteness? I believe that it is, not because others cannot write about the subject with clarity and insight, as is clearly evident in the diverse range of contributors to this book. Rather, naming their positions as White allies embracing a rigorous conceptual and analytical discourse in the social justice field is an important signal that White society must also become intertwined in the entrenched racism that infuses every aspect of our society. As Paul and Darren correctly point out, race is still a pivotal concern for everything that happens in society, and especially in schools.

–  –  –

Revisiting The Great White North? Reframing Whiteness, Privilege, and Identity in Education offers terrific grist for examining the persistence of Whiteness even as it shape-shifts. Chapters are comprehensive, theoretically rich, and anchored in personal experience. Authors’ reflections on the seven years since publication of the first edition of this book complexify how we understand Whiteness, while simultaneously driving home the need not only to grapple with it, but to work against it.

Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita California State University Monterey Bay

Our understanding of racial inequities in education will be impoverished unless we look deeply at White privilege, its variation in different contexts, and resistances to change. Such is the call in this important book by Lund, Carr, and colleagues, whose analyses within Canadian contexts, framed and re-framed for this captivating revised edition, will be useful to educators and scholars around the world. Read this book today.

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