Wan-Chuan Kao
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White environmentality
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This chapter considers whiteness as a form of privileged environmental comfort and as an operation of racial recognition politics. I open with a reflection on modern whiteness as a deadly form of Foucauldian environmentality, then investigate the intersection among postmodern neomedievalism, environmental activism and nostalgic Southern pastoralism in crafting the ideology of American white supremacist groups, especially the fraternity formerly known as Identity Evropa that rose to international prominence in the aftermath of Charlottesville 2017. I also explore the intellectual underpinnings of Identitarianism in the work of Guillaume Faye, whose strategic deployments and polemical contortions of ‘ethnicity’ and ‘race’ both mimic and co-opt academic discourse within early medieval studies; the rhetorical elision of ethnicity and race provides a convenient cover for mainstreaming pan-European white nationalism and revisionist historiography. Identitarians, by upgrading ecofascist tactics and Malthusian logic, situate themselves at the nexus of late capitalist precariat and contemporary economic, environmental and political crises. In contrast to Hedley Bull’s neomedievalism, Faye’s New Middle Ages is an archeofuturistic racialist imperium that rejects neoliberalism’s multiracial globalisation, revives fictive ancestral values and envisions a medievalised geopolitical sanctum of whiteness. I then shift to a reflection on white environmentality as a technique of racial violence in The Buried Giant, arguing that it takes the form of what Sloterdijk terms atmoterrorism. I end with a consideration of the politics of white fragility and precarity in the neoliberal university. Teaching Ishiguro’s novel, part of the literature of white liberalism, demands resistance to a racialised comfort zone of learning.

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