Manhattanville Reid Castle In the Spring

Manhattanville College Alumna Writes Chapter for Book about Whiteness

Sawsan SamaraSawsan Samara '04, had a chapter she wrote published in the book "Unsettling Whiteness."

 Manhattanville College alumna Sawsan Samara ’04 wrote a chapter for the book “Unsettling Whiteness,” a collection of studies that consider the politics, practices, and representations of whiteness in societies across the world.

When asked what drew her to this project, Samara, who graduated from Manhattanville with bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Communications, explained that her experiences at the College got her interested in the subject.

“Growing up in the Middle East, you are not exposed to intense racial issues, but more to conflicts and wars.  During my time at Manhattanville, I learned about race and what it means to be one race or another,” said Samara, who earned her M.S. in Social Anthropology from Oxford University in 2012.

Throughout her time at Oxford she was exposed to a different type of racial otherness and different aspects of whiteness that she was eager to explore and write about.

Samara explores these different aspects in her book chapter, titled “The Appropriation of the Scottish ‘Other’ as a Race within White Culture in Anthropology,” which focuses on race relations and cultural identity, specifically between Scotland and England.

“Whiteness’, like the concept of ‘race,’ is a social construct that often has political implications that are often enshrined in local laws,” said Manhattanville professor Dr. James Jones. “Sawsan’s recent book chapter on ‘Whiteness’ in Scotland clearly supports this point of view.”

“I was very intrigued with the Scottish case, in light of the complex history of Scotland and England,” explained Samara. “It was extremely interesting to learn about another complex conflict that is not in the Middle East. This interest grew during my time in England. Additionally, looking at the history of anthropology and the making of the discipline drew me to expose the appropriation that the discipline makes to cultures that they write about, perpetuating the concept of 'us' and the 'other', and creating different images of whiteness. The Scottish and the English are all considered whites by race, but then through reading on the anthropology of Scotland, you create a different image of whiteness represented by the inhabitants of the Scottish Highlands and Islands.”

You can read more about “Unsettling Whiteness”, published by the Inter-Disciplinary Press, here.