The Feminist Lunch Series organized by the UNB Gender and Women Studies Program and the UNB/STU University Women’s Centre started on Jan. 22, 2018 with a talk by Dr. Erin Morton of UNB History on “What Does Whiteness Do? Settler Colonialism, Feminism, and Epistemic Innocence.”
Her talk examined the complex issues with white feminists (such as herself) engaging recent scholarship in Critical Race and Ethnic studies, Indigenous Studies, and African Diaspora and Black Studies. While white scholars who claim to be undertaking solidarity scholarship often think that they know what whiteness does, white scholars are typically the ones who need to think the most about whiteness and its everyday violences.
She discussed her own complicity in what whiteness accomplishes in the conversations that happen between “good white people,” or “good white feminists,” who are trying to dismantle settler colonial knowledge systems or to do anti-racist work in their scholarship, and BIPOC ((Black Indigenous People of Colour) scholars. Her talk asked how, in short, can white settler scholars responsibly engage with Black, Indigenous, and racialized knowledge and intellectual praxis, beyond the hollow reliance on BIPOC intellectual and affective labour to inform whiteness? Or, if these engagements simply were moves towards epistemic innocence that avoid responsibility? This is a recording of her talk, attended by close to 75 people. She was introduced by series organizer, Sasha Mullally.