Raciolinguistics: How Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Latino Studies, Religion on 2016-07-03 22:05Z by Steven

Raciolinguistics: How Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race

Oxford University Press
2016-10-31
376 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780190625696

Edited by:

H. Samy Alim, Professor of Education; Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics (by courtesy)
Stanford University

John R. Rickford, J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Linguistics and the Humanities
Stanford University

Arnetha F. Ball, Professor
Stanford Graduate School of Education
Stanford University

  • Brings together a critical mass of scholars to form a new field dedicated to theorizing and analyzing language and race together-raciolinguistics.
  • Breaks new ground by integrating the deep theoretical knowledge gained from race and ethnic studies, and the ethnographic rigor and sensibility of anthropology, with the fine-grained, detailed analyses that are the hallmark of linguistic studies
  • Takes a comparative, international look across a wide variety of sites that comprise some of the most contested racial and ethnic contexts in the world, from rapidly changing communities in the U.S. and Europe to locations in South Africa, Brazil, and Israel
  • Builds upon and expands Alim and Smitherman’s ground-breaking analysis to form a new field dedicated to racing language and languaging race.

Raciolinguistics reveals the central role that language plays in shaping our ideas about race. The book brings together a team of leading scholars-working both within and beyond the United States-to share powerful, much-needed research that helps us understand the increasingly vexed relationships between race, ethnicity, and language in our rapidly changing world. Combining the innovative, cutting-edge approaches of race and ethnic studies with fine-grained linguistic analyses, chapters cover a wide range of topics including the language use of African American Jews and the struggle over the very term “African American,” the racialized language education debates within the increasing number of “majority-minority” immigrant communities as well as Indigenous communities in the U.S., the dangers of multicultural education in a Europe that is struggling to meet the needs of new migrants, and the sociopolitical and cultural meanings of linguistic styles used in Brazilian favelas, South African townships, Mexican and Puerto Rican barrios in Chicago, and Korean American “cram schools,” among other sites.

With rapidly changing demographics in the U.S.-population resegregation, shifting Asian and Latino patterns of immigration, new African American (im)migration patterns, etc.-and changing global cultural and media trends (from global Hip Hop cultures, to transnational Mexican popular and street cultures, to Israeli reality TV, to new immigration trends across Africa and Europe, for example)-Raciolinguistics shapes the future of studies on race, ethnicity, and language. By taking a comparative look across a diverse range of language and literacy contexts, the volume seeks not only to set the research agenda in this burgeoning area of study, but also to help resolve pressing educational and political problems in some of the most contested racial, ethnic, and linguistic contexts in the world.

Contents

  • Introducting Raciolinguistics: Theorizing Language and Race in Hyperracial Times / H. Samy Alim, Stanford University
  • Part I. Languaging Race
    • 1. Who’s Afraid of the Transracial Subject?: Transracialization as a Dynamic Process of Translation and Transgression / H. Samy Alim, Stanford University
    • 2. From Upstanding Citizen to North American Rapper and Back Again: The Racial Malleability of Poor Male Brazilian Youth / Jennifer Roth-Gordon, University of Arizona
    • 3. From Mock Spanish to Inverted Spanglish: Language Ideologies and the Racialization of Mexican and Puerto Rican Youth in the U.S. / Jonathan Rosa, Stanford University
    • 4. The Meaning of Ching Chong: Language, Racism, and Response in New Media / Elaine W. Chun, University of South Carolina
    • 5. “Suddenly faced with a Chinese village”: The Linguistic Racialization of Asian Americans / Adrienne Lo, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • 6. Ethnicity and Extreme Locality in South Africa’s Multilingual Hip Hop Ciphas / Quentin E. Williams, University of the Western Cape
    • 7. Norteno and Sureno Gangs, Hip Hop, and Ethnicity on YouTube: Localism in California through Spanish Accent Variation / Norma Mendoza-Denton, University of Arizona
  • Part II. Racing Language
    • 8. Towards Heterogeneity: A Sociolinguistic Perspective on the Classification of Black People in the 21st Century / Renée Blake, New York University
    • 9. Jews of Color: Performing Black Jewishness through the Creative Use of Two Ethnolinguistic Repertoires / Sarah Bunin Benor, Hebrew Union College
    • 10. Pharyngeal beauty and depharyngealized geek: Performing ethnicity on Israeli reality TV / Roey Gafter, Tel Aviv University
    • 11. Stance as a Window into the Language-Race Connection: Evidence from African American and White Speakers in Washington, D.C. / Robert J. Podesva, Stanford University
    • 12. Changing Ethnicities: The Evolving Speech Styles of Punjabi Londoners / Devyani Sharma, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Part III. Language, Race, and Education in Changing Communities
    • 13. “It Was a Black City”: African American Language in California’s Changing Urban Schools and Communities / Django Paris, Michigan State University
    • 14. Zapotec, Mixtec, and Purepecha Youth: Multilingualism and the Marginalization of Indigenous Immigrants in the U.S. / William Perez, Rafael Vasquez, and Raymond Buriel
    • 15. On Being Called Out of One’s Name: Indexical Bleaching as a Technique of Deracialization / Mary Bucholtz, University of California, Santa Barbara
    • 16. Multiculturalism and Its Discontents: Essentializing Ethnic Moroccan and Roma Identities in Classroom Discourse in Spain / Inmaculada García-Sánchez, Temple University
    • 17. The Voicing of Asian American Figures: Korean Linguistic Styles at an Asian American Cram School / Angela Reyes, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY
    • 18. “Socials”, “Poch@s”, “Normals” y Los de Más: School Networks and Linguistic Capital of High School Students on the Tijuana-San Diego Border” / Ana Celia Zentella, University of California, San Diego
  • Index
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The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de’ Medici

Posted in Biography, Books, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Monographs on 2016-07-02 19:27Z by Steven

The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de’ Medici

Oxford University Press
2016-09-01
336 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780190612726

Catherine Fletcher, Historian, Author, AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker 2015

  • The first-ever biography of Alessandro de’ Medici, arguably the first black head of state
  • Draws on extensive archival research of first-hand sources
  • An accessible and dramatic retelling of Renaissance politics and rivalry

Ruler of Florence for seven bloody years, 1531 to 1537, Alessandro de’ Medici was arguably the first person of color to serve as a head of state in the Western world. Born out of wedlock to a dark-skinned maid and Lorenzo de’ Medici, he was the last legitimate heir to the line of Lorenzo the Magnificent. When Alessandro’s noble father died of syphilis, the family looked to him. Groomed for power, he carved a path through the backstabbing world of Italian politics in a time when cardinals, popes, and princes vied for wealth and advantage. By the age of nineteen, he was prince of Florence, inheritor of the legacy of the grandest dynasty of the Italian Renaissance.

Alessandro faced down family rivalry and enormous resistance from Florence’s oligarchs, who called him a womanizer-which he undoubtedly was—and a tyrant. Yet this real-life counterpart to Machiavelli’s Prince kept his grip on power until he was assassinated at the age of 26 during a late-night tryst arranged by his scheming cousins. After his death, his brief but colorful reign was criticized by those who had murdered him in a failed attempt to restore the Florentine republic. For the first time, the true story is told in The Black Prince of Florence.

Catherine Fletcher tells the riveting tale of Alessandro’s unexpected rise and spectacular fall, unraveling centuries-old mysteries, exposing forgeries, and bringing to life the epic personalities of the Medicis, Borgias, and others as they waged sordid campaigns to rise to the top. Drawing on new research and first-hand sources, this biography of a most intriguing Renaissance figure combines archival scholarship with discussions of race and class that are still relevant today.

Table of Contents

  • Family tree
  • Glossary of names
  • Timeline
  • Maps
  • A note on money
  • Prologue
  • Book One: The Bastard Son
  • Book Two: The Obedient Nephew
  • Book Three: The Prince Alone
  • Afterword: Alessandro’s Ethnicity
  • Acknowledgements
  • Bibliography
  • Notes
  • Index
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The Arc of a Bad Idea: Understanding and Transcending Race

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Philosophy, Social Science, Teaching Resources on 2016-04-10 01:39Z by Steven

The Arc of a Bad Idea: Understanding and Transcending Race

Oxford University Press
2016-02-18
192 Pages
7 Black and white
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780199386260

Carlos Hoyt, Jr.

  • It is written by a person who is intimately familiar with living as an adversely racialized person
  • It introduces readers to the non-racial worldview
  • It provides first-person narratives of people commonalty ascribed to the black/African American racial category who eschew racial identification altogether.
  • It furnishes the concept of racialization as the antidote to normalizing race as a naturally and unavoidable aspect of identity.
  • It explains essentialism
  • It reconciles the seeming conflict between race-conscious and color-blind ideologies
  • It provides a way beyond the problems of race that plague this country

For the vast majority of human existence we did without the idea of race. Since its inception a mere few hundred years ago, and despite the voluminous documentation of the problems associated with living within the racial worldview, we have come to act as if race is something we cannot live without. The Arc of a Bad Idea: Understanding and Transcending Race presents a penetrating, provocative, and promising analysis of and alternative to the hegemonic racial worldview. How race came about, how it evolved into a natural-seeming aspect of human identity, and how racialization, as a habit of the mind, can be broken is presented through the unique and corrective framing of race as a time-bound (versus eternal) concept, the lifespan of which is traceable and the demise of which is predictable. The narratives of individuals who do not subscribe to racial identity despite be ascribed to the black/African American racial category are presented as clear and compelling illustrations of how a non-racial identity and worldview is possible and arguably preferable to the status quo. Our view of and approach to race (in theory, pedagogy, and policy) is so firmly ensconced in a sense of it as inescapable and indispensible that we are in effect shackled to the lethal absurdity we seek to escape. Theorist, teachers, policy-makers and anyone who seeks a transformative perspective on race and racial identity will be challenged, enriched, and empowered by this refreshing treatment of one of our most confounding and consequential dilemmas.

Table of Contents

  • Epigraph
  • Acknowledgments
  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface: Lethal Absurdity De Jour
  • PART I: UNDERSTANDING RACE
    • 1. Simile, Metaphors and Analogs for Race
    • 2. Same World, Different Worldviews: Not ALL the Black Kids Sat Together in the Cafeteria
    • 3. The Arc of a Bad Idea: Race and Racialization in Five Epochs
  • PART II: TRANSCENDING RACE
    • 4. Who Are The Race Transcenders? Narratives of Non-racial Identity Development
    • 5. Race Transcendence, Race Consciousness and Post-race
  • PART III: IMPLICATIONS OF THE NONRACIAL WORLDVIEW
    • 6. Race Without Reification: Pedagogy, Practice and Policy from a Non-racial Perspective
    • 7. Beyond the Panopticon: Liberating the Tragic Essentialist and Promoting Racial Disobedience
  • Appendixes:
    • Appendix A: Pre-interview Background Information Form
    • Appendix B: Semi-structured Open-ended Interview Questions and Interview Domains Matrix
  • References
  • Index

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Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence in America

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2016-02-15 22:07Z by Steven

Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence in America

Oxford University Press
2016-02-03
232 pages
10 illustrations
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780190241216

Kali Nicole Gross, Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies
University of Texas, Austin

  • A true crime account that offers a glimpse of the racially volatile world of post-Reconstruction Philadelphia
  • Unearths historical experiences of traditionally marginalized, taboo subjects
  • Combines narrative prose with rigorous historical research

Shortly after a dismembered torso was discovered by a pond outside Philadelphia in 1887, investigators homed in on two suspects: Hannah Mary Tabbs, a married, working-class, black woman, and George Wilson, a former neighbor whom Tabbs implicated after her arrest.

As details surrounding the shocking case emerged, both the crime and ensuing trial-which spanned several months-were featured in the national press. The trial brought otherwise taboo subjects such as illicit sex, adultery, and domestic violence in the black community to public attention. At the same time, the mixed race of the victim and one of his assailants exacerbated anxieties over the purity of whiteness in the post-Reconstruction era.

In Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso, historian Kali Nicole Gross uses detectives’ notes, trial and prison records, local newspapers, and other archival documents to reconstruct this ghastly whodunit crime in all its scandalous detail. In doing so, she gives the crime context by analyzing it against broader evidence of police treatment of black suspects and violence within the black community.

A fascinating work of historical recreation, Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso is sure to captivate anyone interested in true crime, adulterous love triangles gone wrong, and the racially volatile world of post-Reconstruction Philadelphia.

Table of Contents

  • Prologue
  • Chapter 1: “Handle With Care”
  • Chapter 2: “The Woman Found”
  • Chapter 3: “To Do Him Bodily Harm”
  • Chapter 4: “Wavy Hair and Nearly White Skin”
  • Chapter 5: “Held for Trial”
  • Chapter 6: “The Defense Opens”
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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“Perhaps not since Ashley Montagu’s revolutionary, Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race (1942), has a more important work on the pernicious aspects of race and racialization been written.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-01-31 23:13Z by Steven

“Perhaps not since Ashley Montagu’s revolutionary, Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race (1942), has a more important work on the pernicious aspects of race and racialization been written. The Arc of a Bad Idea, Understanding and Transcending Race, upends and debunks our conventional thinking about race and ending racism.

Carlos Hoyt has written a timely and necessary balm for the wounds caused by centuries of the false notion of race—an idea with no empirical or scientific basis—but yet embraced worldwide. While Hoyt is by no means the first to engage in the noble crusade to convince mankind to destroy this harmful mythology, he is perhaps one of the few authors to lay out a concise and constructive vision on how we can actually become a society free of racial taxonomies.

With the United States as his main focus, Hoyt examines racialization—America’s original sin—and builds upon—with his own research on individuals who eschew racialized identities—the work of racial identity theorists like Kerry Anne Rockquemore and others to formulate a pathway to a future that can be free of race and the insidious racism that necessarily accompanies it.

Hoyt is never afraid to critique the well-intentioned yet racialist discourses of landmark court cases; census enumerations; esteemed historical scholars like W.E.B. DuBois; mid-20th century visionaries like Martin Luther King, Jr.; and contemporary scholars like Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Amy Gutmann, and others.

Hoyt, as evolutionary biologist Joseph L. Graves and racial meta—theorist Rainier Spencer before him, adds to the literature what is destined to become an invaluable resource for scholar and layman alike.” —Steven F. Riley, Creator and Founder of MixedRaceStudies.org

Carlos Hoyt, Jr., “The Arc of a Bad Idea: Understanding and Transcendng Race,” (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), ii.

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Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave

Posted in Autobiography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2016-01-19 02:02Z by Steven

Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave

Oxford University Press
2008-07-28
192 pages
21 illus.
5 1/2 X 8 1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780195343311
Paperback ISBN: 9780195343328

William L. Andrews, E. Maynard Adams Professor of English; Senior Associate Dean for Fine Arts and Humanities
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Regina E. Mason, Grimes’s great-great-great-granddaughter

  • The first fugitive slave narrative in American history
  • A candid, unfiltered, and fully authenticated account of both slavery and so-called freedom in the antebellum U.S. before the advent of the American antislavery movement
  • A unprecedented editorial partnership blending scholarship and family history to yield a unique modern edition of a neglected classic of antislavery literature
  • No other slave narrative has been recovered, researched, and annotated by a slave’s descendent until now

Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave is the first fugitive slave narrative in American history. Because Grimes wrote and published his narrative on his own, without deference to white editors, publishers, or sponsors, his Life has an immediacy, candor, and no-holds-barred realism unparalleled in the famous antebellum slave narratives of the period. This edition of Grimes’s autobiography represents a historic partnership between noted scholar of the African American slave narrative, William L. Andrews, and Regina Mason, Grimes’s great-great-great-granddaughter. Their extensive historical and genealogical research has produced an authoritative, copiously annotated text that features pages from an original Grimes family Bible, transcriptions of the 1824 correspondence that set the terms for the author’s self-purchase in Connecticut (nine years after his escape from Savannah, Georgia), and many other striking images that invoke the life and times of William Grimes.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction by William L. Andrews
  • Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave
  • Chronology: the life and times of William Grimes
  • Afterword by Regina E. Mason
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National Colors: Racial Classification and the State in Latin America

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2015-12-23 16:39Z by Steven

National Colors: Racial Classification and the State in Latin America

Oxford University Press
2014-07-07
400 pages
22 b/w line illus., 4 b/w halftones
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780199337354
Paperback ISBN: 9780199337361

Mara Loveman, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of California, Berkeley

  • The first comprehensive history of census-taking and nation-making in nineteen Latin American states across nearly two centuries.
  • Argues that the relationship of individual states to the international system of states plays a decisive role in shaping how states classify and count citizens on their censuses.

The era of official color-blindness in Latin America has come to an end. For the first time in decades, nearly every state in Latin America now asks their citizens to identify their race or ethnicity on the national census. Most observers approvingly highlight the historic novelty of these reforms, but National Colors shows that official racial classification of citizens has a long history in Latin America.

Through a comprehensive analysis of the politics and practice of official ethnoracial classification in the censuses of nineteen Latin American states across nearly two centuries, this book explains why most Latin American states classified their citizens by race on early national censuses, why they stopped the practice of official racial classification around mid-twentieth century, and why they reintroduced ethnoracial classification on national censuses at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Beyond domestic political struggles, the analysis reveals that the ways that Latin American states classified their populations from the mid-nineteenth century onward responded to changes in international criteria for how to construct a modern nation and promote national development. As prevailing international understandings of what made a political and cultural community a modern nation changed, so too did the ways that Latin American census officials depicted diversity within national populations. The way census officials described populations in official statistics, in turn, shaped how policymakers viewed national populations and informed their prescriptions for national development–with consequences that still reverberate in contemporary political struggles for recognition, rights, and redress for ethnoracially marginalized populations in today’s Latin America.

Table of Contents

  • List of Tables and Figures
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1. Introduction: Ethnoracial Classification and the State
  • 2. Classifying Colonial Subjects
  • 3. Enumerating Nations
  • 4. The Race to Progress
  • 5. Constructing Natural Orders
  • 6. From Race to Culture
  • 7. We All Count
  • 8. Conclusion
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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She Is Cuba: A Genealogy of the Mulata Body

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Women on 2015-12-22 02:00Z by Steven

She Is Cuba: A Genealogy of the Mulata Body

Oxford University Press
2015-12-01
240 Pages
53 images
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780199968169
Paperback ISBN: 9780199968176

Melissa Blanco Borelli, Senior Lecturer in Dance
Royal Holloway University of London

  • Weaves together historical method, auto-ethnographic, and performative writing
  • Sits at the precipice of scholarly and public interest in Cuban cultural history

She is Cuba: A Genealogy of the Mulata Body traces the history of the Cuban mulata and her association with hips, sensuality and popular dance. It examines how the mulata choreographs her racialised identity through her hips and enacts an embodied theory called hip(g)nosis. By focusing on her living and dancing body in order to flesh out the process of identity formation, this book makes a claim for how subaltern bodies negotiate a cultural identity that continues to mark their bodies on a daily basis. Combining literary and personal narratives with historical and theoretical accounts of Cuban popular dance history, religiosity and culture, this work investigates the power of embodied exchanges: bodies watching, looking, touching and dancing with one another. It sets up a genealogy of how the representations and venerations of the dancing mulata continue to circulate and participate in the volatile political and social economy of contemporary Cuba.

Table of Contents

  • Prologue, Entre Familia/Between Family
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Historicizing Hip(g)nosis
  • Interlude 1: Echando Cuentos/Telling Stories
  • Chapter 2: Hip(g)nosis at Work: Rumors, Social Dance and Cuba’s Academias de Baile
  • Interlude 2: A Marriage Proposal
  • Chapter 3: Hip(g)nosis as Pleasure: The Mulata in Film
  • Interlude 3: Lost Baggage
  • Chapter 4: Hip(g)nosis as Brand: Despelote, Tourism and Mulata Citizenship
  • Conclusion or Rear Endings
  • Index
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Correcting the conversation about race

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2015-11-20 21:42Z by Steven

Correcting the conversation about race

OUPblog: Oxford University Press’s Academic Insights for the Thinking World
2015-11-20

Carlos Hoyt

On 6 November 2015, the New York Times featured a poignant five-minute documentary called “A Conversation About Growing Up Black,” produced by Joe Brewster and Perri Peltz. Brewster and Peltz present Rakesh, Miles, Malek, Marvin, Shaquille, Bisa, Jumoke, Maddox, and Myles. The youngest are 10 and the eldest is 25 years old. These nine individuals are very different from one another (hair, height, weight, skin color, voice, manner of speech, body language… all those things that combine to make each of us unique). As with all human beings, each of them is his own universe of individuality and each occupies several universes of other individuals known as family, friends, teammates, school mates, colleagues, and the like.

But we never learn much about the individuality of these individuals: where they live; where they go to school or work; what their worldviews might be on faith, politics, or the environment; what are their talents, their challenges; what they love, and what they dislike. Instead we are introduced to them as racialized human beings, adversely racialized nominally black males to be specific, who by dint of this social relegation are subject to suspicion, discrimination, degradation, and brutality.

We encounter them as living, breathing targets of racism.

We are graced with their eloquent and compelling meditations on racism, their narratives of being misrepresented, misunderstood and mistreated, and their heroic resolve to successfully navigate the mine-infested landscape of the racist country in which they live – for themselves and for their loving, protective, and worried parents.

It is a heartbreaking five-minutes of film.

And it will change nothing…

Read the entire article here.

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Transformable Race: Surprising Metamorphoses in the Literature of Early America

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-11-18 22:33Z by Steven

Transformable Race: Surprising Metamorphoses in the Literature of Early America

Oxford University Press
2014-01-27
336 Pages | 9 halftones
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780199313501

Katy L. Chiles, Associate Professor of English
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

  • First detailed study of “literary race” in eighteenth-century America
  • Brings together the scholarly discourses on American Indian identity, the racial regime of African slavery, and the developing discourse of race in eighteenth-century natural history with convincing literary analysis
  • Covers canonical texts by Ben Franklin, Samson Occum, Phillis Wheatley, and J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur

As surprising as it might seem now, during the late eighteenth century many early Americans asked themselves, “How could a person of one race come to be another?” Racial thought at the close of the eighteenth century differed radically from that of the nineteenth century, when the concept of race as a fixed biological category would emerge. Instead, many early Americans thought that race was an exterior bodily trait, incrementally produced by environmental factors and continuously subject to change. While historians have documented aspects of eighteenth-century racial thought, Transformable Race is the first scholarly book that identifies how this thinking informs the figurative language in the literature of this crucial period. It argues that the notion of “transformable race” structured how early American texts portrayed the formation of racial identities. Examining figures such as Phillis Wheatley, Benjamin Franklin, Samson Occom, and Charles Brockden Brown, Transformable Race demonstrates how these authors used language emphasizing or questioning the potential malleability of physical features to explore the construction of racial categories.

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