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Title: Dear White Academia : examining the relationship between architectural objects, whiteness and higher educational spaces in selected works of literature, film and other contemporary media
Author: Mason, Alex
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 151X
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis constitutes the first comprehensive literary examination of the relationship between architectural objects, whiteness and higher educational spaces. Focusing specifically on the post-Civil Rights period, I investigate the metaphorical and material impact windows, desks, desk-tops and doors have on Black students attending elite universities and colleges in Northeast U.S. In order to conduct this research, I focus on four main texts; critically close reading Joyce Carol Oates’s Black Girl, White Girl (2007), Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s Americanah (2014), Zadie Smith’s On Beauty (2006) and Paul Beatty’s The White Boy Shuffle (1996). Framed by Critical Race Theory and drawing on methodologies from Hip Hop Studies, Critical Whiteness Studies and Educational research, my analysis addresses intersecting systems of power, such as gender, class, dis/ability and nationality, to show the specific ways in which Black students, occupying different social locations, are effected by architectural objects in higher education institutions. Research on architecture, race and higher education often focuses on overtly racialised objects, such as statues and portraits of colonialists and slave owners. This thesis makes an important contribution to current scholarship by revealing how more foundational and seemingly mundane objects, typically deemed neutral in the university space, also fundamentally shape the physical and ideological structure of higher education. I show how within a wider network of white bodies and discourse, these objects perpetuate and intensify the containment, coercion and control of Black students at elite, predominately white institutions. I also demonstrate how the investigative and imaginative power of literature and other cultural media can help better identify, extrapolate, examine and dismantle invisible and allusive expressions of systematic white dominance, impressing the value of a methodological approach that can be productively applied to further studies of systems of power in higher education and beyond.
Supervisor: Van Duyvenbode, Rachel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available