Bodies of Knowledge: Race, Power, & Pedagogy

Nov 30, 2017 | 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

CRG Conference Room, 691 Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley
Location is wheelchair accessible

The CRG Thursday Forum Series presents…

Bodies of Knowledge: Race, Power, & Pedagogy

(En)Gendering Whiteness: A Historical Analysis of White Womanhood, Colonial Anxieties, and “Tender Violence” in US Schools

Natalee Kēhaulani Bauer, Graduate School of Education

My dissertation explores the over-disciplining of students of color by taking a thus far unconsidered stance and asking how white women have historically understood their roles in the disciplining of nonwhite student bodies. By asking, “How and why has the role of the heroic white female teacher developed over time and in varying geographic locales?” this study provides a gendered historical analysis of the reinforcing relationship between settler colonialism and anti-Blackness as it manifests itself in schools contemporarily.

This project employs two main methodologies: (1) critical case studies of three pivotal moments in 19th Century US educational history, and (2) Foucauldian discourse analysis, which I use in constructing a genealogy of heroic white womanhood (“benevolent whiteness”). Through this analysis, I explain how the collective acceptance of and participation in the discursive construction of heroic white womanhood has been the normative underpinning of US educational and disciplinary practice for nearly two hundred years. Thus, this dissertation offers a critical link between past and present as a way through which teachers and researchers can consider the over-disciplining of students of color, a task largely performed by white females in an institution haunted by the specter of an imagined benevolent whiteness.

The Latino Male Teacher: Discursive Formations, the Pressure to Perform, and the Possibility of Disidentification

Michael Singh, Graduate School of Education

This presentation looks at the ways dominant discourses surrounding Latino male teachers seek to construct and regulate Latino male subjectivity in schools. Taking a cultural studies approach, this work looks at the ways a variety of discourses surrounding male of color achievement enters schools and culturally produces the ideation of the adult Latino male role model. Through an ethnographic case study of a middle school program for Latino boys in the San Francisco Bay Area, I explore the ways one Latino male teacher navigates the cultural politics of race, gender, and schooling. This study undercovers the ways the rarity of Latino male educators creates a pressure to perform specified notions of masculinity; particularly that of hyper-masculine disciplinarian. Furthermore, this study looks at embodied resistance to dominant discourses of Latino masculinity through deviant gendered performances, locating the body as a key site of resistance.


Michael Singh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a member of the Designated Emphasis program in Women, Gender, & Sexuality, and a graduate fellow at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues. Michael was born and raised in Woodland, California near Sacramento, and attended UC Berkeley from 2008-2012 for his undergraduate degree in Ethnic Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies. His forthcoming doctoral research is an ethnographic case study of one urban school district’s Latino male mentorship program and the way the program envisions the problems of Latino boys and the embodied solutions of Latino male mentors. His work brings an intersectional approach to the cultural politics of Latino male mentorship and explores the way the image of the male mentor is implicated in the distribution of educational resources as well as the reproduction of hetero-patriarchy in schools.

Thursday Forum Series

Faculty and graduate students are welcome to submit proposals to present at the CRG Thursday Forum Series. Proposals to present as an individual or a panel are invited each semester.

about proposal deadlines, download proposal forms, and check out the latest upcoming forums.