Kao Book Webinar

Zoom Webinar 

January 25, 2024, 5:00–6:30 pm EST 

Please join us for the book launch of Wan-Chuan Kao’s White before Whiteness in the Late Middle Ages (Manchester University Press, 2024).

This book is supported by the Medieval Academy Inclusivity and Diversity Book Subvention award.

What difference does temporality make in the recognition politics of whiteness? If whiteness has hardened into a modern identity politics defined by skin tone, it has not always been so. 

Resisting a reflexive, biopolitical understanding of whiteness, White before Whiteness interrogates how whiteness as a representational trope produces and delimits a range of medieval ideological regimes: love, aesthetics, subjectivity, salvation, chivalry, labour, materiality and sociality. The book analyses works such as Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess, Pearl, The King of Tars and others, rethinking premodern whiteness as operations of fragility, precarity and racialicity across bodily and nonbodily figurations. 

Deploying diverse methodologies, this ground-breaking book offers a series of provocative diagnoses and original readings that reconceive whiteness as a systemic edge, generating operative differences that are never transparent, stable or permanent.


Nancy Coleman (Washington and Lee University)
Lisa H. Cooper (University of Wisconsin–Madison)
Sarah Friedman (University of Wisconsin–Madison)
Carissa Harris (Temple University)
Mike Hill (University at Albany, SUNY)
Elliot Kendall (University of Exeter)
Mariah Min (Brown University)
Susie Phillips (Northwestern University)

Register for Zoom webinar at whiteb4whiteness@gmail.com by January 24, 2024.

Participants will receive limited-time e-access to the Introduction and a discount code.

Sponsored by Washington and Lee University Library and The Medieval Studies Program, University of Wisconsin–Madison

This entry was posted in Announcements. Bookmark the permalink.