Audience and Author: The Reading of the ‘White Expert’
University of Utah
This paper uses performativity theories to explore the question of audience as it relates to reading the performance of the ‘white expert’. The ‘white expert’ is one whose words play them out to be someone with certain knowledges about racism; someone using those knowledges to work against racism and inequality. Yet, the ‘white expert’ is also bodily/performatively positioned as an accessory to racism and inequality. When audiencing a text, the audience/reader is influenced by both the identity posed by the author (expert/ally) and the white author’s body (oppressor). There are times when the body’s performance of whiteness upstages the text’s performance of expert. This paper seeks to understand when and how the performance of ‘white body’ upstages the performance of ‘expert body’. What are the implications of audience/reader focus for an author? What kind of imaginings and positions are produced when the white expert is abjected by the audience?
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© borderlands ejournal 2008