Whiteness as wise provincialism: Royce and the rehabilitation of a racial category

Shannon Sullivan
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Against the backdrop of eliminitivist versus critical conservationist approaches to the racial category of whiteness, this article asks whether a rehabilitated version of whiteness can be worked out concretely. What might a non-oppressive, anti-racist whiteness look like? Turning to Josiah Royce’s “Provincialism” for help answering this question, I show that even though the essay never explicitly discusses race, it can help explain the ongoing need for the category of whiteness and implicitly offers a wealth of useful suggestions for how to transform it. “Provincialism” is an exercise in critical conservation of the concept of provincialism, and while not identical, provincialism and whiteness share enough in common that “wise” provincialism can serve as a model for “wise” whiteness. Royce’s concept of provincialism thus can be a great help to critical philosophers of race wrestling with questions of whether and how to transformatively conserve whiteness. Exploring similarities and differences between wise provincialism and wise whiteness, I use Royce’s analyses of provincialism to shed light on why whiteness should be rehabilitated rather than discarded and how white people today might begin living whiteness as an anti-racist category.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 40,131
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
67 ( #112,888 of 2,237,162 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #779,349 of 2,237,162 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature