Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Summer 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in American Studies (MAST)


American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Hill

Second Advisor

Dr. LeeAnn Lands


The basketball court had been locked and chained with a no trespassing sign posted on the gate. In the distance was a police officer who I later discovered was a private security guard. According to my development’s newsletter, the shutdown was due to supposed gang activity seen at and around the court. The rumors of this alleged incident had caused what was later described to me by a long time resident as a “community uprising” or an increased presence of security and residential surveillance fueled by a shift in discourse. What was initially just the place where I lived, the homeowners association governed development (HOAD) was beginning to reveal itself as a powerful and calculated institution motivated by something beyond the espoused need for high property values or safety. Although the preponderant research insists that residents move to HOAD’s as a result of fear, I contend that they are motivated, rather, by self interest which is based on the need to preserve an exceptional whiteness – a whiteness that is exceptionalized through the maintenance and control of the physical and corporeal landscape and is maintained through a process of white governmentality which allows residents to be at the core of surveillance. The white residents use their power to maintain racial order therefore recentralize white power in a changing American landscape.

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