Bodies of Knowledge: Race, Power, & Pedagogy

Thursday, Apr 05, 2018 | 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

140 Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley (please note room change)
Location is ADA accessible

The CRG Thursday Forum Series & the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues present…

Bodies of Knowledge: Race, Power, & Pedagogy

All You Need is Love: “Benevolent Whiteness” and Love Language as Colonial  Violence
Natalee Kēhaulani Bauer, PhD

This presentation argues that love language in urban schools, particularly when coupled with “benevolent whiteness” (ideological whiteness gendered feminine), is an invocation of colonial violence rather than an act of “authentic caring” (Noddings, 2015) or “reciprocal love” (Jackson, Sealy-Ruiz, & Watson, 2014). Following a historical analysis of the roots of contemporary U.S. schooling with a focus on 19th-century missionary teachers, the author demonstrates the ways in which love language and benevolent whiteness have historically been used to further the U.S. colonial capitalist project of white supremacy. Key Words: love, whiteness, teachers, white womanhood, educational history

The Neoliberalization of Latino Male Identity: Resistance and Complicity in a School-Based Mentorship Program
Michael Singh, Graduate School of Education

The current educational crisis of Latino young men and boys has led to a proliferation of district and non-district programs seeking to remedy the achievement gap experienced by Latino boys through Latino male mentorship programs. Indicative of neoliberal shifts in Latinx education, these programs often involve public-private partnerships and assume a damaged Latino boy in need of technocratic and innovative solutions, rather than structural changes. Through an ethnographic case study of one Latino men and boys mentorship program for an urban school district in California, this study explores the ways the administrative power of Latino male programming constructs the ideal Latino male subject through neoliberal values of individualism, excellence and earning potential, and pushes boys to be the future heterosexual patriarchs of their community. Furthermore, based on in-depth interviews with the 10 mentors of the program as well as participant observations, this paper uncovers deep tensions in the ways mentors attempt to incite racial critique while still adhering to the neoliberal values of the program and its funders.


Natalee Kēhaulani Bauer is a Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) scholar born in Honolulu and raised between/across Hawai’i and the San Francisco Bay Area. Natalee received her BA in English and American Literature from Mills College in 1997. After teaching in public schools for eight years, she returned to Mills College to complete a Masters degree in English and American Literature in 2007. Her masters thesis is titled, “Marked Difference: Monsters, Miscegenation, and Marking in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,” and it explores the “black mark” the creature leaves, like a signature, on the necks of his victims, proposing that this mark operates as a metaphor for miscegenation, the feared “one-drop” of black blood that threatens to contaminate a vulnerable whiteness. After again returning to public education in 2007, Natalee shifted her scholarly focus from literature to social and cultural studies in education, beginning a doctoral program at UC Berkeley as a Chancellor’s Fellow from 2010-2015. Her doctoral dissertation titled, “(En)gendering Whiteness: A Historical Analysis of White Womanhood, Colonial Anxieties, and “Tender Violence” in US Schools,” uses a historical lens to analyze the trope of white female teachers (~80% of the profession) as benevolent mothers/saviors in communities of color, finding its discursive roots in the early 19th century missionary project and US imperial expansion.

In addition to teaching and research, Natalee supervises pre-service student teachers in the UC Berkeley Developmental Teacher Education Program, facilitates an inquiry group for new teachers of color in the Bay Area, collaborates with the feminist collective Hinemoana of Turtle Island, is raising two babies with her partner, and is training for her black belt in Kajukenbo Kung Fu.

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.


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