|Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-07-09 14:46Z by Steven|
Mississippi State University
Contact: Allison Matthews
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Two Mississippi State faculty members helped lead a literary effort examining the basis and scope of racial identity as an American social structure.
Stephen Middleton, professor of history and director for African American Studies at MSU, along with associate professor of English and African American Studies Donald Shaffer, served on the editing team for “The Construction of Whiteness: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity.” A University Press of Mississippi publication, the collection of essays specifically looks at the origins of white privilege and the various social, cultural, political and economic practices that underwrite its ideological influence in American society. David Roediger of the University of Kansas also was co-editor.
“This book explores an old story in American culture,” said Middleton, the project’s lead editor. “It reviews a time when we thought about ourselves in certain ways, and the two categories that defined us more than any other were ‘white’ and ‘black.’ It’s an old story of what we’ve learned about our history and what we tell ourselves.”
“Whiteness” is a socially and legally constructed category, Middleton said, woven into the American psyche over time based on the need for cheap labor. This established a power and economic structure favorable to whites that socially and legally denied access to non-whites…
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