Author, UNC Charlotte philosophy professor Shannon Sullivan speaks about “Becoming White”

Shannon Sullivan, Professor of Philosophy and Health Psychology at University of North Carolina at Charlotte

GREENVILLE, S.C.—Shannon Sullivan, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Professor of Philosophy will speak on the Furman University campus Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. in the Bryan Garden Room of Daniel Memorial Chapel.

Her talk, “Becoming White: White Education and Erasure of Black Suffering” is free and open to the public and is presented by Furman’s Office of Spiritual Life. It is part of Furman’s month-long celebration of Black History Month.

Sullivan will speak about how the habits of whiteness are developed in white children, before those habits become relatively sedimented in adulthood. Approaching the issue as both a phenomenological and a transgenerational question, she addresses how the adult world passes down raced habits to the next generation and, in the case of whiteness, how do adults engender these habits so “invisibly” that they do not even appear to exist?

Sullivan will tackle those questions by examining a particular type of white habit: not perceiving the suffering of people of color. Sullivan will connect the historical realities of the erasure of black suffering with its occurrence on college campuses, giving insight into the cultural phenomena of whiteness and its origins.

Shannon Sullivan is Chair of Philosophy and Professor of Philosophy and Health Psychology at UNC Charlotte. She specializes in feminist philosophy, critical philosophy of race, American philosophy (especially pragmatism), and continental philosophy.

She is the author of four books, most recently, Good White People: The Problem with Middle-Class White Anti-Racism (2014) and The Physiology of Sexist and Racist Oppression (2015). She also is co-editor of four books, including Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance (2007) and Feminist Interpretations of William James (2015).

Sullivan holds a bachelor’s from Trinity University (Texas) and master’s and doctorate degrees from Vanderbilt University.

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.