Last week Dr Ruth Adams travelled to Oxford to attend a conference entitled ‘Whiteness: Exploring Critical Issues’, which was organised by Inter-Disciplinary.Net and held at Harris Manchester College from 22-24 July 2013.
Since the publication of King’s College London’s Professor of Film Studies Richard Dyer’s seminal study White in 1997, academics have increasingly turned critical attention to the subject of racial whiteness, and explored issues such as the emergence of whiteness as a racial category and the representation and construction of white identities in popular culture.
The global interest in the topic was reflected in the demographic of the conference delegates, who came from a wide range of ethnic and national backgrounds, including South Africa, Australia, USA, China, Germany and Finland. Papers examined issues of whiteness in literature, film and media, in relation to gender and sexuality, in education and tourism, and in colonial political structures.
Ruth appeared on a panel which focussed on Appropriation and Subversion, and presented a paper called ‘Who Says White Men Can’t Dance? Deconstructing Racial Stereotypes in ‘Windowlicker’’. This offered a critical textual and socio-cultural analysis of the music video for ‘Windowlicker’, a 1999 track by the avant-garde UK electronic music producer Aphex Twin. Conceived and directed by long-time collaborator Chris Cunningham, the film is a dark parody of Hip Hop music video clichés, which inverts and deconstructs racial stereotypes.
Further information about the conference: http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/critical-issues/ethos/whiteness/conference-programme-abstracts-and-papers/
Read Ruth’s abstract: http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/critical-issues/ethos/whiteness/conference-programme-abstracts-and-papers/session-8a-appropriation-and-subversion/