Norwegian University Studies Role of White Paint in Promoting Racism

Norway’s University of Bergen has launched a study of the role played by white paint in extending white supremacy around the globe.

The university has received a $1.2 million government grant for its research project “How Norway Made the World Whiter” (NorWhite) to investigate “how white paint has contributed to white supremacy around the world.”

The project studies the Norwegian innovation of the white pigment titanium dioxide to show “how Norway has played a globally leading role in establishing white as a superior color.”

Looking through a “historical, aesthetic, and critical lens,” NorWhite attempts to connect the topics of whiteness, technological innovation, and mass-exploitation of natural resources in a single case study.

Led by architecture historian Ingrid Halland, the project also proposes to explore how the white pigment titanium dioxide “not only led to an aesthetic desire for white surfaces, but was also connected to racist attitudes.”


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