• Shona Hunter

Routledge Handbook of Critical Studies in Whiteness Published

Updated: 5 days ago

Four years of painstaking collaborative work on the Routledge Handbook of Critical Studies in Whiteness has come to fruition in its publication on the 21st December 2021.

Co-Edited by Shona Hunter and Christi van der Westhuizen, in 6 parts, with 28 Chapter contributions and a final Epilogue, the Handbook represents the efforts and commitment of 35 authors; numerous anonymous reviewers; 5 very generous endorsers; various Editors and Editorial Assistants at Routledge and in South Africa via NMU; and the generous gifting of the use of the Anti-Apartheid artist Norman Catherine's artwork 'Show and Tell 5' to the cover image. It is the product of very very many intricate, complex and generous relationalities across the globe.

A different sort of decolonial critique of the operations of whiteness

'The handbook offers a unique decolonial take on the field of Critical Whiteness Studies by rehistoricising and re-spatialising the study of bodies and identities in the world system of coloniality.

Situating the critical study of whiteness as a core intellectual pillar in a broadly based project for racial and social justice, the volume understands whiteness as elaborated in global coloniality through epistemology, ideology and governmentality at the intersections with heteropatriarchy and capitalism. The diverse contributions present Black and other racially diverse scholarship as crucial to the field. The focus of inquiry is expanded beyond Northern Anglophone contexts to challenge centre/margin relations, examining whiteness in the Caribbean, South Africa and the African continent, Asia, the Middle East as well as in the United States and parts of Europe. Providing a transdisciplinary approach and addressing debates about knowledges, black and white subjectivities and newly defensive forms of whiteness, as seen in the rise of the Radical Right, the handbook deepens our understanding of power, place, and culture in coloniality.'

For more on the contents and ordering information check out the Product Page at Routledge.

Check out the Beckett Talks podcast discussion on the Handbook where the Co-Editors Shona Hunter and Christi van der Westhuizen discuss many of the themes and issues and overview the range of contributions.

Open access materials available:

There is free to access preview material available to access via the Product Page. This includes:

  • the volume 'Preface'; by Shona Hunter and Christi van der Westhuizen

  • most of the first chapter 'Viral Whiteness: Twenty-first century global colonialities' by Shona Hunter and Christi van der Westhuizen;

  • The introduction to Part 1: Onto-epistemologies: Theory Against Whiteness

  • most of the second chapter 'Emerging whiteness in early-modern India: A Nietzschean reading of Jan Huygen van Linschoten'

The whole of the first chapter on 'Viral Whiteness: Twenty-first century global colonialities' is available in Taylor Francis Ebooks along with the Preface, Contents, Contributor information all to download via PDF.


The generous endorsers for the Handbook suggest that it is 'hard to think of a more necessary critical renewal of whiteness studies' (Naser Meer, Whiteness and Nationalism).

An 'insightfully curated, scholarly tour de force' which makes for 'captivating reading' (Norman Duncan,‘Race, Memory, and the Apartheid Archive )

A 'fiery examination of whiteness; its intersections, infusions and leaching logics across time, place and systems of colonial and racial domination' and 'A treasure trove for teachers, students and activists' (Yasmin Gunaratnam, Researching Race and Ethnicity and Death and the Migrant)

'An insurgent call for racial justice ... a provocation, a challenge, and a conversation, offering new constellations of possibilities to approach the field of critical whiteness studies. in which 'chapters rumble with a thoughtful intensity that both activists and intellectuals require to carry forth visions of radical change, especially in these times when events in one part of the world cascades in another."

(Nalini Mohabir, The Fire that Time: Transnational Black Radicalism and the Sir George Williams Occupation)

That it will 'infuriate those who are invested in maintaining the status quo; and only encourage those who are determined to act together to change it'. (Vron Ware, Out of Whiteness)  

We very much hope that all of our efforts live up to this praise offered and we are looking forward to the conversations and actions and relationships that continue to grow out of the producing of this volume and now through its voyage out into the world.

As Shona said yesterday to one of the contributors Jamie Kherbaoui, 'it is a volume with heart'. I have a full heart now for a little while.

Futures plans

A range of launch events are planned for 2022.

If you want to review the volume

If you are interested in reviewing the volume for Journals or other sources please be in contact with Shona or Christi at our institutional addresses s.d.hunter@leedsbeckett.ac.uk or Christivdw@mandela.ac.za or Lakshita Joshi at Routledge on Lakshita.Joshi@tandfindia.com

Alternatively if you comment in response to this post I'll be able to pick this up.

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