University of Notre Dame keeps mum on ‘Confronting Whiteness’ event...but why?

A “Confronting Whiteness” event will be hosted at the University of Notre Dame on Jan. 25, but the school is not offering up many details.

UND’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies will host the event, titled “Confronting Whiteness at Notre Dame: Power, Identity and Exclusion.” Participants will focus “on confronting whiteness, power, identity, and exclusion at Notre Dame.” 

Panelists for the event will be Emmanuel Cannady, a Ph.D. sociology student; Iris Outlaw, director of UND’s multicultural student programs and service; and Laurie Nathan, a mediation professor. The panel will be moderated by peacebuilding and conflict transformation professor David Anderson Hooker.

[RELATED: Univ of Iowa invites students to reflect on their ‘whiteness’]

Cannady’s research interests include “mixed race studies” and “race/ethnicity” and is also examining Black Lives Matter chapters for his dissertation. Meanwhile, Outlaw conducts team-building and diversity workshops not only for Notre Dame affiliates but also two neighboring grade school systems. She frequently shares posts from Barack and Michelle Obama, as well as California Democrat Sen. Kamala Harris on her Twitter feed.

Nathan and Hooker both have backgrounds in mediation and peacebuilding, not only in the United States but around the world. It remains to be seen if their comments during the lecture will focus on how “whiteness” is perceived in America, or if they will draw upon their global experiences and talk about the different ways that Caucasian individuals function in a more comprehensive global society.

[RELATED: Prof calls on art teachers to reject ‘geometry of whiteness’]

Campus Reform reached out to the event speakers and organizer, as well as the school, for comment but received no response in time for publication. The event set to be held at Notre Dame next week does not exist in a vacuum, but is in fact part of a nationwide trend.

Campus Reform reported in fall 2018 on two courses at California State University - San Marcos. The courses were  COMM 454, “The Communication of Whiteness,” and SOC 463 “Seminar in White Privilege.”

In the spring of 2018, Campus Reform reported that the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs was poised to give academic credit to graduate students for attending a conference on “Unmasking Whiteness.” The school later rescinded the offer to grant students credit for attending the seminar, citing the University’s non-discrimination policy that requires all students to have the same access to academic programs. The conference on “Unmasking Whiteness” was “specifically designed for white people.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @VSnitsarUSA