Book Talk – A Chosen Exile: The History of Racial Passing

Book Talk – A Chosen Exile: The History of Racial Passing

National Civil Rights Museum: At the Lorraine Motel
450 Mulberry Street
Memphis, Tennesee 38103
2015-12-17, 18:00-20:00 CST (Local Time)

Allyson Hobbs, a professor of History at Stanford University, has written a remarkable book entitled [A] Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in America. This title has many key links to the museum’s history ranging from the era of Jim Crow to the most recent scandals. By the dawning of the civil rights era, more and more racially mixed Americans felt the loss of kin and community was too much to bear, that it was time to “pass out” and embrace a black identity. Although recent decades have witnessed an increasingly multiracial society and a growing acceptance of hybridity, the problem of race and identity remains at the center of public debate and emotionally fraught personal decisions.

A Chosen Exile won the Frederick Jackson Turner Award for best first book in American History and the Lawrence Levine Award for best book in American cultural history. The book was selected as a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, a “Best Book of 2014” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and a “Book of the Week” by the Times Higher Education in London. The Root named A Chosen Exile as one of the “Best 15 Nonfiction Books by Black Authors in 2014.”

Hobbs is a contributor to the New and the BBC World Service. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and she received a Ph.D. with distinction from the University of Chicago. She has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research, and the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Stanford. Hobbs teaches courses on American identity, African American history, African American women’s history, and twentieth century American history and culture. She has won numerous teaching awards including the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize, the Graves Award in the Humanities, and the St. Clair Drake Teaching Award…

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