White Space
284 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:15 Aug 2022
Release Date:15 Dec 2021
Release Date:15 Dec 2021
Release Date:15 Dec 2021

White Space

Race, Privilege, and Cultural Economies of the Okanagan Valley

UBC Press

Much attention has been paid to the changing culture and construction of the Canadian metropolis, but how are the workings of whiteness manifested in the rural-urban spaces? White Space analyzes the dominance of whiteness in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia to expose how this racial notion continues to sustain forms of settler privilege.

The region was formed under the racialized politics of nineteenth-century Canadian federalism and in the absence of treaties with the Okanagan Nation. Its demographic remains predominantly white today, while other densely urban Canadian regions embrace diversity. Using tools such as media analysis, interviews, and autoethnography, contributors to this perceptive collection critique the cultural economics of whiteness and white supremacy. The first half documents the historical construction of whiteness: how settlers and their ancestors have sought to exalt pioneers by erasing non-whites from the region’s heritage while Indigenous peoples resist this white-out. The second half explores the persistence of whiteness as an invisible organizing principle in the neoliberal deindustrialized present.

White Space moves beyond appraising whiteness as if it were a solid and unshakable category. Instead it offers a powerful demonstration of how the concept can be re-envisioned, resisted, and reshaped in a context of economic change.

Researchers, students, and activists focused on issues of whiteness and locality, particularly in western Canada, will find this work indispensable. It will also interest a wider readership of those attuned to issues relating to neoliberalism, colonization, whiteness, class, gender, and privilege.

With its focus on regional specificity, White Space makes a distinctive contribution to the critical literature on white privilege and spatial imaginaries of race in Canada. Jennifer Henderson, associate professor, Dept. of English and School of Indigenous & Canadian Studies, Carleton University

Daniel Keyes is an associate professor in the department of English and Cultural Studies at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan, and was the founding coordinator of its Cultural Studies program. Along with a variety of book chapters, he has contributed articles to Theatre Research in Canada/Recherches théâtrales au Canada and Home Cultures: The Journal of Architecture, Design and Domestic Space. Luis L.M. Aguiar is an associate professor of sociology in the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. He is co-editor, with Andrew Herod, of The Dirty Work of Neoliberalism: Cleaners in the Global Economy and, with Christopher J. Schneider, of Researching amongst the Elites: Challenges and Opportunities in Studying Up.

Contributors: Luis L.M. Aguiar, Lawrence Berg, Natalie Chambers, Dr. Bill Cohen, Jon Corbett, Carl E. James, Daniel Keyes, Audrey Kobayashi, Sheila Lewis, Janet MacArthur, Donna M. Senese, Stephen Svenson, Delacey Tedesco.


Part 1: Historical Erasures and Re-inscriptions of White Fantasies

1 Emerging from the Whiteout: Colonization, Assimilation, Historical Erasure, and Okanagan-Syilx Resistance and Transforming Praxis in the Okanagan Valley / Bill Cohen and Natalie A. Chambers

2 Niggertoe Mountain: Colouring Hinterland Fantasies / Daniel Keyes

3 Nkwala: Colouring Hinterland Fantasies with the Indigenous / Daniel Keyes

4 The Rhetoric of Absence: Susan Allison’s Racial Melancholia / Janet MacArthur

5 Camp Road / Audrey Kobayashi

Part 2: Revealing and Challenging Contemporary White Fantasies

6 Mapping White Consumer Culture: Kelowna’s Tourist Maps 1983–1999 / Jon Corbett and Donna M. Senese

7 Fantasies of Encore Whiteness in the Central Okanagan Valley / Luis L.M. Aguiar

8 White Supremacy, Surveillance, and Urban Aboriginal Women in the Kelowna, BC, Housing Market / Sheila Lewis and Lawrence D. Berg

9 "The Jamaicans are here and working": Race and Community Responses / Carl E. James

10 Okanagan in Print: Exalting Typographical Heimlich Fantasies of Entrepreneurial Whiteness / Daniel Keyes

11 Emplacing and Displacing Whiteness in Kelowna: Aporetic Urbanization and the Limits of Modern Politics / Delacey Tedesco

12 The Imaginary of Redneck Okanagan Whiteness: A Sketch / Stephen Svenson

Contributors; Index

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