N.J. college invites students to 'White Fright,' 'Rethinking Masculinity' forums

The College of New Jersey is hosting a month-long series of events tackling several issues.

Among the issues are "white fright" and "masculinity."

A New Jersey college is hosting several events in March focused on discussing fear in white Americans and how students can “rethink” the definition and concept of masculinity.

The College of New Jersey is planning to host a series of events pertaining to Women’s History Month during most of March, with some events extending into April, including functions on subjects ranging from masculinity in transnational practices to white “fright” in white Americans. Other featured events will address the subject of political activism and advocacy in the current day.

On March 11, the school will host one of its five lecturers, The College of William and Mary professor Gul Ozyegin, who will host a seminar about “Unpatriarchal Desires: Rethinking Masculinity in Transnational Practices.” Ozyegin, a Turkish-born author and professor, previously criticized “protective masculinity” in her book “New Deals, New Selves,” which examined patriarchy and social transformation in Turkey.

“As Ozyegin evocatively shows, the quest for sexual freedom and an escape from patriarchal constructions of selfless femininity and protective masculinity promise both personal transformations and profound sexual guilt and anxiety,” NYU Press’ book description said.

A flyer for the month-long series of events shows the rest of the functions being hosted.

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On March 28, TCNJ will host a seminar from alum Ashley Reichelmann, who serves as  sociology professor at Virginia Tech, called “White Fright: Collective Threat as a Racialized Feeling in White Americans,” to talk about fear in white Americans. Reichelmann, who has a Ph.D. in sociology and anthropology from Northeastern University, has been studying the topic since 2016.

“I am exploring the role that collective threat plays in White Americans’ reactions to representations of slavery and the impact those reactions have on intergroup relations [via] contemporary racial attitudes,” Riechelmann said during a Spotlight interview for Northeastern University.

Reichelmann also has recently published a 290-page study titled “Threatened by Memory: White Americans’ Reactions to Representations of Slavery,” which analyzed white Americans’ guilt, shame, and reactions to “collective threat” in terms of racial identity and issues.

“The overall findings of the dissertation present a compelling narrative worthy of further exploration: White Americans experience feelings of threat when they are reminded about slavery, and those who have stronger White and American identities, or who are in more direct competition with Blacks (such as lower class Whites), feel it more intensely,” Reichelmann wrote in the summary of the study.

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The events will wrap up on April 4, with a lecture from Patricia Hill Collins titled “Generational Power: Intersectionality, Youth and Political Activism,” which plans to combine how youth and political activism can be used to promote change.

Additionally, the month will start off with a lecture from Colombian-born performance artist Kata Mejia, titled “When Paint Becomes Movement” on March 5, followed by a panel featuring alumni from the college the next day. 

TCNJ will host Tarana Burke, the founder of the “#MeToo” movement, who will participate in a lecture titled “Compassionate Advocacy” on March 27.

The events are sponsored by several on-campus agencies such as the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Alan Dawley Center for the Study of Social Justice, and the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department. Other departments, such as the Political Science Department and the School of Arts and Communication, are also sponsoring the events.

Campus Reform reached out to many of these sponsors and event organizers for additional comments regarding their respective events, but did not respond in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JesseStiller3