A foucauldian (genealogical) reading of whiteness: The production of the Black body/self and the racial pathology of pecola breedlove in Toni Morrison's the bluest eye
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Radical Philosophy Review 4 (1/2):1-29 (2001)
This article provides a Foucauldian analysis of whiteness as a philosophical, political, anthropological and epistemological regime, undergirded by a power/knowledge nexus, which shapes what it meansto embody whiteness vis-a-vis the Black body/self. As a specific historically constructed standpoint, one that takes itselfas a “universal” value, and through a genealogical reading, whiteness is revealed as akind of emergence (Entstehung), a reactive value-creating power which shapes how the Black body/self is disciplined and how the Black body/selfcomes to introject a self-denigrating episteme. This introjected episteme is explored as being fueled by white ressentiment. Coming under normalizing disciplinary techniques of whiteness, which is historically demonstrated, it is argued that Blacks carne to intemalize a form of self-ressentiment. Through the existentially rich narrative text of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the author shows that Pecola Breedlove, though a fictional character, is the racially distorted (and racially self-hating) product of certain contingent interpersonal and historical practices that once genealogically revealed create the possibility of radically dismantling their impact.
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