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The 2010s saw a revival of reactionary politics on college campuses, which now appear to have paved the way for contemporary right-wing culture-war talking points regarding K–12 education. Revanchist attitudes around race, as well as gender and sexuality, can be linked to White Americans’ affective attachments to ideas of historical entitlement, which can be seen both in campus responses to university art programming and in acts of student vandalism. I describe a campus gallery exhibition I organized in 2016 around the theme of White affect, and I make connections between expressions of rage, anguish, and reasonableness on the part of White people within White-dominated institutions of art and education, before considering what possibilities and difficulties may exist for leading substantive classroom discussions and projects that engage explicitly with race generally, and Whiteness in particular.

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Art and Design


This article was published in Studies in Art Education64, no. 2 (2023): 198-218. DOI: 10.1080/00393541.2023.2180257.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

Stoic indulgence, gratuitous restraint: White feelings and campus art