Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy, Emory University
Montgomery Fellow, Dartmouth College
The White Gaze, Black Embodiment, and the Elevator Effect
In this lecture, I will explore the impact of the white gaze on the Black body within quotidian spaces. Through a brief encounter between a Black man and a white woman, I will use the context of an elevator to theorize some of the raced phenomenological dynamics that unfold within the elevator space. This will allow us to unpack how some spaces are always already “unraced” as normative (that is, white), and how Black bodies undergo experiences of being stopped, unwanted, and essentialized within those spaces. I will also wonder aloud if this leaves the two within a form of antagonism that inevitably cannot be resolved as whiteness is both a site of opacity and social embeddedness.
The MIRA (Mind-like Intelligence, Research, and Analysis) Group at Penn is an innovative, interdisciplinary research and training group. Topics of interest range across issues in philosophy of mind and language, cognitive science, and epistemology. We also study epistemic and normative issues concerning these topics, especially as they relate to diversity, wellness, and social justice. MIRA-Open meetings promote community and creative thinking centered around issues in philosophy of mind, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, epistemology, and related normative issues.