Bodies of Knowledge: Race, Power, and Pedagogy

Colloquium | April 5 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 140 Barrows Hall

 Center for Race and Gender, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

The CRG Thursday Forum Series presents...

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 Latino Male Teacher: Discursive Formations, the Pressure to Perform, and the Possibility of Disidentification
Michael Singh, 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.


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.