Still a House Divided: Race and Politics in Obama’s America

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-09-27 03:44Z by Steven

Still a House Divided: Race and Politics in Obama’s America

Princeton University Press
320 pages
6 x 9; 5 halftones; 36 tables
Cloth ISBN: 9780691142630
eBook ISBN: 9781400839766

Desmond S. King, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of American Government
University of Oxford

Rogers M. Smith, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science
University of Pennsylvania

Why have American policies failed to reduce the racial inequalities still pervasive throughout the nation? Has President Barack Obama defined new political approaches to race that might spur unity and progress? Still a House Divided examines the enduring divisions of American racial politics and how these conflicts have been shaped by distinct political alliances and their competing race policies. Combining deep historical knowledge with a detailed exploration of such issues as housing, employment, criminal justice, multiracial census categories, immigration, voting in majority-minority districts, and school vouchers, Desmond King and Rogers Smith assess the significance of President Obama’s election to the White House and the prospects for achieving constructive racial policies for America’s future.

Offering a fresh perspective on the networks of governing institutions, political groups, and political actors that influence the structure of American racial politics, King and Smith identify three distinct periods of opposing racial policy coalitions in American history. The authors investigate how today’s alliances pit color-blind and race-conscious approaches against one another, contributing to political polarization and distorted policymaking. Contending that President Obama has so far inadequately confronted partisan divisions over race, the authors call for all sides to recognize the need for a balance of policy measures if America is to ever cease being a nation divided.

Presenting a powerful account of American political alliances and their contending racial agendas, Still a House Divided sheds light on a policy path vital to the country’s future.


  • List of Figures and Tables
  • Acknowledgments
  • PART ONE: Obama’s Inheritance
  • PART TWO: The Making and Unmaking of Racial Hierarchies
    • CHAPTER 2 “That is the last speech he will ever make”: The Antebellum Racial Alliances
    • CHAPTER 3 “We of the North were thoroughly wrong”: How Racial Alliances Mobilized Ideas and Law
  • PART THREE: The Trajectory of Racial Alliances
    • CHAPTER 4 “This backdrop of entrenched inequality”: Affirmative Action in Work
    • CHAPTER 5 To “affi rmatively further fair housing”: Enduring Racial Inequalities in American Homes and Mortgages
    • CHAPTER 6 “To Elect One of Their Own”: Racial Alliances and Majority-Minority Districts
    • CHAPTER 7 “Our goal is to have one classification-American” Vouchers for Schools and the Multiracial Census
    • CHAPTER 8 “We can take the people out of the slums, but we cannot take the slums out of the people”: How Today’s Racial Alliances Shape Laws on Crime and Immigration
  • PART FOUR: America’s Inheritance
    • CHAPTER 9 Prospects of the House Divided
  • Notes
  • Index
Tags: , , , ,

Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race

Posted in Barack Obama, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-05-26 23:07Z by Steven

Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race

Princeton University Press
178 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth ISBN: 9780691137308
eBook ISBN: 9781400834198

Thomas J. Sugrue, David Boies Professor of History and Professor of Sociology
University of Pennsylvania

Finalist, The 2010 Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change National Book Award, The University of Memphis

Barack Obama, in his acclaimed campaign speech discussing the troubling complexities of race in America today, quoted William Faulkner’s famous remark “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” In Not Even Past, award-winning historian Thomas Sugrue examines the paradox of race in Obama’s America and how President Obama intends to deal with it.

Obama’s journey to the White House undoubtedly marks a watershed in the history of race in America. Yet even in what is being hailed as the post-civil rights era, racial divisions–particularly between blacks and whites—remain deeply entrenched in American life. Sugrue traces Obama’s evolving understanding of race and racial inequality throughout his career, from his early days as a community organizer in Chicago, to his time as an attorney and scholar, to his spectacular rise to power as a charismatic and savvy politician, to his dramatic presidential campaign. Sugrue looks at Obama’s place in the contested history of the civil rights struggle; his views about the root causes of black poverty in America; and the incredible challenges confronting his historic presidency.

Does Obama’s presidency signal the end of race in American life? In Not Even Past, a leading historian of civil rights, race, and urban America offers a revealing and unflinchingly honest assessment of the culture and politics of race in the age of Obama, and of our prospects for a postracial America.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • CHAPTER I: “This Is My Story”: Obama, Civil Rights, and Memory
  • CHAPTER II: Obama and the Truly Disadvantaged: The Politics of Race and Class
  • CHAPTER III: “A More Perfect Union”? The Burden of Race in Obama’s America
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes


It is now a commonplace that the election of Barack Obama marks the opening of a new period in America’s long racial history. The unlikely rise of a black man to the nation’s highest office—someone who was a mostly unknown state senator only five years before he was inaugurated president—confirms the view of many, especially whites, that the United States is a postracial society. At last, the shackles of discrimination have been broken and individual merit is rewarded, regardless of skin color. In this view, blackness—once the clearest marker of difference in American society—has lost some or all of its stigma. Barack Obama, in the most common formulation, transcends race; his ancestry fuses African and European into a new hybrid; his political vision of unity discredits those who cling bitterly to notions of racial superiority and, at the same time, rebukes those who harbor a divisive identity politics fueled by an exaggerated sense of racial grievance.

As with all interpretations of the relationship between the past and the present, the notion that Obama’s election marks an epochal change in racial dynamics is not without its critics. Obama himself offers a tempered view, suggesting that even if America has advanced considerably over the last forty years, some racial prejudices remain in place and some racial discrimination still exists. In his view, we have realized much, but not all, of the dream of racial equality. Other commentators, like Berkeley historian David Hollinger, suggest that Obama heralds the emergence of a new, multihued racial order, a majority-minority society where static notions of race are losing their purchase, and where race-specific remedies like affirmative action have outlived their usefulness. Many scholars and pundits further to the left, by contrast, are skeptical that much has changed at all. They point to the angry denunciations of Obama during his campaign and since his inauguration (Obama as Muslim, Obama as black man in whiteface, Obama as witch doctor, Obama as noncitizen) as evidence of a deep-seated racism that is inflamed by the discomfiting presence of a brown-hued man in the White House.

In the most dystopian vision, offered by Duke sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, the symbolism of an African-descended president obscures a deeper, more troubling reality: the “Latin Americanization” of the United States, namely, the emergence of a society where a tripartite system of color gradation will supplant the “one-drop rule” of racial classification, but where the darkest-skinned racial minorities remain concentrated at the bottom…

…To understand Obama’s life and times requires an examination of race and racial politics. It is safe to say that few domestic issues have been more controversial in late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century America. And few issues have generated more passion among scholars and journalists. Debates about civil rights, black power, race consciousness, and inequality are often couched in predictable and analytically problematic formulations that reflect the moral dualism that still shapes our understandings of race. The first binary—“race versus class”—inflects much scholarship and liberal journalism about race. Either race matters as a dominant force or it is a screen—or a form of false consciousness—that masks far deeper inequalities of class. This is a simplistic formulation that downplays the ways that racial and economic disadvantages are fundamentally intertwined, and fails to address how the American economy generates inequalities that affect people regardless of their background but are still disproportionatelyborne by people of color. A second binary—with special hold in public discourse—is “racism versus color blindness.” This contrasts a pathology and a principle, a flawed reality and an ideal. But it, too, does not stand up to close scrutiny. As legal scholar Richard Thompson Ford has argued, to hurl the invective “racist” loosely is to put too much weight on individual beliefs or values. And conversely, to proclaim color blindness is to overlook the ways that racial inequalities persist and sometimes harden regardless of the good intentions or the benign disposition of any single actor. There are stone-cold racists in America, and there are people who believe that they are wholly free of prejudice. Ultimately, the most enduring racial inequalities in the United States today are not the consequence of conspiracy or intention, or even the unconscious prejudice that neuropsychologists argue exists in the amygdala; rather they stem from the long-term institutional legacies of economic and public policies that have systematically disadvantaged African Americans and, when left unaltered, continue to do so in key realms of American life today. The third binary is “pessimism versus optimism.” Either America is still a profoundly racist society, or we have mostly overcome past racial injustices. Any clear-eyed examination of race in modern America must recognize the changes that have transformed the life chances of African Americans in the United States since the mid-twentieth century, and that enabled Barack Obama’s remarkable ascent through some of America’s most prestigious institutions and ultimately to the White House—most of them the result of grassroots activism, litigation, and public policy innovation. And it must also account for what even a cursory review of census data, opinion surveys, and health, educational, and housing statistics reveals: namely, that racial gaps are deep and persistent in American life. Those statistics, the way that Obama understands and interprets them, and the ways that Americans in general make sense of them, are at the heart of this book…

Read the entire Introduction here.

Tags: , ,

The Life of Isamu Noguchi: Journey without Borders

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs on 2012-05-15 17:48Z by Steven

The Life of Isamu Noguchi: Journey without Borders

Princeton University Press
440 pages
6 x 9
36 halftones
Paper ISBN: 9780691127828

Masayo Duus
Translated by Peter Duus

  • 2005 Non-fiction Finalist for the Kiriyama Prize, Pacific Rim Voices
  • One of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles for 2005

Isamu Noguchi, born in Los Angeles as the illegitimate son of an American mother and a Japanese poet father, was one of the most prolific yet enigmatic figures in the history of twentieth-century American art. Throughout his life, Noguchi (1904-1988) grappled with the ambiguity of his identity as an artist caught up in two cultures.

His personal struggles—as well as his many personal triumphs—are vividly chronicled in The Life of Isamu Noguchi, the first full-length biography of this remarkable artist. Published in connection with the centennial of the artist’s birth, the book draws on Noguchi’s letters, his reminiscences, and interviews with his friends and colleagues to cast new light on his youth, his creativity, and his relationships.

During his sixty-year career, there was hardly a genre that Noguchi failed to explore. He produced more than 2,500 works of sculpture, designed furniture, lamps, and stage sets, created dramatic public gardens all over the world, and pioneered the development of environmental art. After studying in Paris, where he befriended Alexander Calder and worked as an assistant to Constantin Brancusi, he became an ardent advocate for abstract sculpture.

Noguchi’s private life was no less passionate than his artistic career. The book describes his romances with many women, among them the dancer Ruth Page, the painter Frida Kahlo, and the writer Anaïs Nin.

Despite his fame, Noguchi always felt himself an outsider. “With my double nationality and my double upbringing, where was my home?” he once wrote. “Where were my affections? Where my identity?” Never entirely comfortable in the New York art world, he inevitably returned to his father’s homeland, where he had spent a troubled childhood. This prize-winning biography, first published in Japanese, traces Isamu Noguchi’s lifelong journey across these artistic and cultural borders in search of his personal identity.

Table of Contents

  • Prologue
  • Chapter One: Yone and Leonie
  • Chapter Two: His Mother’s Child
  • Chapter Three: All-American Boy
  • Chapter Four: Journey of Self-Discovery
  • Chapter Five: Becoming a Nisei
  • Chapter Six: The Song of a Small
  • Chapter Seven: Honeymoon with Japan
  • Chapter Eight: The World of Dreams
  • Chapter Nine: The Universe in a Garden
  • Chapter Ten: Encounter with a Stonecutter
  • Chapter Eleven: Farewell to s Dreamer
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
  • Photgraphy Credits
Tags: , , ,

Creating a New Racial Order: How Immigration, Multiracialism, Genomics, and the Young Can Remake Race in America

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2012-01-21 19:51Z by Steven

Creating a New Racial Order: How Immigration, Multiracialism, Genomics, and the Young Can Remake Race in America

Princeton University Press
March 2012
282 pages
6 x 9; 17 halftones. 14 line illus. 10 tables
Cloth ISBN: 9780691152998
eBook ISBN: 9781400841943

Jennifer L. Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies
Harvard University

Vesla M. Weaver, Assistant Professor
The Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics
University of Virginia

Traci R. Burch, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Northwestern University

The American racial order—the beliefs, institutions, and practices that organize relationships among the nation’s races and ethnicities—is undergoing its greatest transformation since the 1960s. Creating a New Racial Order takes a groundbreaking look at the reasons behind this dramatic change, and considers how different groups of Americans are being affected. Through revealing narrative and striking research, the authors show that the personal and political choices of Americans will be critical to how, and how much, racial hierarchy is redefined in decades to come.

The authors outline the components that make up a racial order and examine the specific mechanisms influencing group dynamics in the United States: immigration, multiracialism, genomic science, and generational change. Cumulatively, these mechanisms increase heterogeneity within each racial or ethnic group, and decrease the distance separating groups from each other. The authors show that individuals are moving across group boundaries, that genomic science is challenging the whole concept of race, and that economic variation within groups is increasing. Above all, young adults understand and practice race differently from their elders: their formative memories are 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Obama’s election—not civil rights marches, riots, or the early stages of immigration. Blockages could stymie or distort these changes, however, so the authors point to essential policy and political choices.

Portraying a vision, not of a postracial America, but of a different racial America, Creating a New Racial Order examines how the structures of race and ethnicity are altering a nation.


  • List of Figures and Tables
  • Introduction
    • 1. Destabilizing the American Racial Order
    • 2. Immigration
    • 3. Multiracialism
    • 4. Genomics
    • 5. Cohort Change
    • 6. Blockages to Racial Transformation
    • 7. The Future of the American Racial Order
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index


A racial order—the set of beliefs, assumptions, rules, and practices that shape the way in which groups in a given society are connected with one another—may seem fixed. Racial orders do change, however. The change may be gradual, as when America evolved over two centuries from being a society with slaves to a slave society, or cataclysmic as when slavery or serfdom is abolished or apartheid instituted. A racial order can change for some groups but not others; the Immigration Act of 1924 denied all Asians and most Kuropcans and Africans, but not Latin Americans, the right of entry to the United States. Change in a racial order is most visible when it results from severe struggle, but it may also occur unintentionally through thousands of cumulative small acts and thoughts. And a racial order can change in some but not all dimensions; American Indians gained U.S. citizenship in 1924 but few have reacquired the land lost through centuries of conquest and appropriation.

Variation in pace, direction, activity, and object makes it difficult to see major change while it is occurring. Nevertheless, we argue that the racial order of the late twentieth century that emerged from the 1960’s civil rights movement, opening of immigration, and Great Society is undergoing a cumulative, wide-ranging, partly unintentional and partly deliberate transformation. The transformation is occurring in locations and laws, beliefs and practices. Its starting point was the abolition of institutional supports and public commitments of the pre-1960s racial order, such as intermarriage bans, legally mandated segregation, unembarrassed racism, and racial or ethnic discrimination. Once those props were removed, the changes broadly signaled by “the 1960s” could develop over the next forty years. They included a rise in immigration, Blacks’ assertion of pride and dignity, Whites’ rejection of racial supremacy (at least in public), a slow opening of schools, jobs, and suburbs to people previously excluded, and a shift in government policy from promoting segregation and hierarchy and restricting interracial unions to promoting (at least officially) integration and equality and allowing interracial unions.

As a consequence, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, new institutions and practices have been moving into place: official records permit people to identify with more than one race, anti-discrimination policies are well established in schools and workplaces, and some non-Whites hold influential political positions. At the same time, the late twentieth century’s understanding of the very meaning of race—a few exhaustive and mutually exclusive groups—is becoming less and less tenable as a consequence of new multiracial identities, immigrants’ rejection of conventional American categories, and genomic science. Social relations, particularly among young Americans, are less driven by stereotypes, more fluid and fragmented, and more susceptible to creation rather than acquiescence. Even deeply seated hierarchies of income, educational attainment and achievement, prestige, and political power are easing for some groups and in some dimensions of life. Race or ethnicity, though still important, is less likely to predict a young person’s life chances than at any previous point in American history; today’s young adults will move through adulthood with the knowledge that one need not be White in order to become the most powerful person in the world…

…Thus the late twentieth-century racial order captures less and less of the way in which race and ethnicity are practiced in the United States today and may be practiced in the foreseeable future. If transformative forces persist and prevail, the United States can finally move toward becoming the society that James Madison envisioned in Federalist #10, one in which no majority faction, not even native-born European Americans, dominates the political, economic, or social arena.

The Madisonian vision must not blind us to two concerns. If it persists, creation of a new racial order will not have only beneficial results. Some Americans are likely to be harmed by these changes and will thereby suffer relative or even absolute losses. Continuing the venerable American pattern, they will be disproportionately African American or Native American, supplemented by undocumented immigrants. All Americans are likely to lose some of the joys and advantages of a strong sense of group identity and rootedness. The greater concern, however, is that the newly created racial order will not persist and prevail. Black poverty and alienation may be too deep; White supremacy may be too tenacious; institutional change may be too shallow; undocumented immigrants may not attain a path to belonging; genomic research may usher in a new era of eugenic discrimination. In short, Americans may in the end lack the political will to finish what demographic change, scientific research, young adults’ worldviews, and the momentum of the past decade have

…Our exploration of transformative forces and their blockages is spread over three parts and seven chapters. Part 1, “The Argument,” has one chapter. Chapter 1 explicates the five components of a societal racial order and suggests what is at stake in the ongoing reinvention of the American racial order. Examples show how immigration, multiracialism, genomics, and cohort change are transforming each component of the late twentieth-century racial order. Chapter 1 also points to elements of American society that could distort or block transformation of the racial order. Perhaps most important, it provides analytic justification for our expectation that creative forces will outweigh blockages, so long as Americans take steps to incorporate those now in danger of exclusion and to improve the life chances of those at the bottom.

Part 2, “Creating a New Order,” consists of five chapters. Chapters 2 through 5 respectively analyze immigration, multiracialism, genomics, and cohort change, in each case using the five components of a racial order to organize the discussion. Despite variation in the content and process of change, a consistent pattern emerges: each transformative force independently (and all of them interactively) is changing how Americans understand what a race is, how individuals are classified, how groups are relatively positioned, how state actions affect people’s freedom of choice, and how people relate to one another in the society. Chapter 6 looks at the opposite side of the creative dynamic—that is, features of the American racial order that reinforce the late twentieth-century order of clear racial and ethnic boundaries, relatively fixed group positions, intermittently prohibitive state actions, and hostile social relations. Chapter 6 focuses on four issues that directly challenge the transformative forces—the costs of a loss in group identity, wealth disparities, unprecedented levels of Black and Latino incarceration, and the possibility that illegal immigrants or Muslims might become the new pariah group. It warns that effective creation of a new racial order can itself deepen the disadvantage of the worst off even while moving toward a more racially inclusive polity.

Finally, part 3, “Possibilities,” consists of one chapter. Chapter 7 concludes by considering the likelihood that the current American racial order will look very different by the time our children reach old age. It also sketches some political and policy directions necessary to promote transformation, expand its benefits, and reduce the proportion of Americans who arc left out or harmed…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Enculturated Gene: Sickle Cell Health Politics and Biological Difference in West Africa

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2011-11-20 22:29Z by Steven

The Enculturated Gene: Sickle Cell Health Politics and Biological Difference in West Africa

Princeton University Press
368 pages
6 x 9; 7 halftones. 1 line illus. 4 maps
Paper ISBN: 9780691123172
Cloth ISBN: 9780691123165
eBook ISBN: 9781400840410

Duana Fullwiley, Associate Professor of African and African American studies and of Medical Anthropology
Harvard University

In the 1980s, a research team led by Parisian scientists identified several unique DNA sequences, or haplotypes, linked to sickle cell anemia in African populations. After casual observations of how patients managed this painful blood disorder, the researchers in question postulated that the Senegalese type was less severe. The Enculturated Gene traces how this genetic discourse has blotted from view the roles that Senegalese patients and doctors have played in making sickle cell “mild” in a social setting where public health priorities and economic austerity programs have forced people to improvise informal strategies of care.

Duana Fullwiley shows how geneticists, who were fixated on population differences, never investigated the various modalities of self-care that people developed in this context of biomedical scarcity, and how local doctors, confronted with dire cuts in Senegal’s health sector, wittingly accepted the genetic prognosis of better-than-expected health outcomes. Unlike most genetic determinisms that highlight the absoluteness of disease, DNA haplotypes for sickle cell in Senegal did the opposite. As Fullwiley demonstrates, they allowed the condition to remain officially invisible, never to materialize as a health priority. At the same time, scientists’ attribution of a less severe form of Senegalese sickle cell to isolated DNA sequences closed off other explanations of this population’s measured biological success.

The Enculturated Gene reveals how the notion of an advantageous form of sickle cell in this part of West Africa has defined–and obscured–the nature of this illness in Senegal today.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter One: Introduction: The Powers of Association
  • Chapter Two: Healthy Sicklers with “Mild” Disease: Local Illness Affects and Population-Level Effects
  • Chapter Three: The Biosocial Politics of Plants and People
  • Chapter Four: Attitudes of Care
  • Chapter Five: Localized Biologies: Mapping Race and Sickle Cell Difference in French West Africa
  • Chapter Six: Ordering Illness: Heterozygous “Trait” Suff ering in the Land of the Mild Disease
  • Chapter Seven: The Work of Patient Advocacy
  • Conclusion: Economic and Health Futures amid Hope and Despair
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index
Tags: , ,

Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2011-05-05 02:08Z by Steven

Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking

Princeton University Press
248 pages
6 x 9 | 7 color illus. 16 halftones
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-691-14031-5

Michael Keevak, Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages
National Taiwan University

In their earliest encounters with Asia, Europeans almost uniformly characterized the people of China and Japan as white. This was a means of describing their wealth and sophistication, their willingness to trade with the West, and their presumed capacity to become Christianized. But by the end of the seventeenth century the category of whiteness was reserved for Europeans only. When and how did Asians become “yellow” in the Western imagination? Looking at the history of racial thinking, Becoming Yellow explores the notion of yellowness and shows that this label originated not in early travel texts or objective descriptions, but in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scientific discourses on race.

From the walls of an ancient Egyptian tomb, which depicted people of varying skin tones including yellow, to the phrase “yellow peril” at the beginning of the twentieth century in Europe and America, Michael Keevak follows the development of perceptions about race and human difference. He indicates that the conceptual relationship between East Asians and yellow skin did not begin in Chinese culture or Western readings of East Asian cultural symbols, but in anthropological and medical records that described variations in skin color. Eighteenth-century taxonomers such as Carl Linnaeus, as well as Victorian scientists and early anthropologists, assigned colors to all racial groups, and once East Asians were lumped with members of the Mongolian race, they began to be considered yellow.

Demonstrating how a racial distinction took root in Europe and traveled internationally, Becoming Yellow weaves together multiple narratives to tell the complex history of a problematic term.

Read the introduction here.

Tags: ,

Race after Hitler: Black Occupation Children in Postwar Germany and America

Posted in Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2011-02-24 04:36Z by Steven

Race after Hitler: Black Occupation Children in Postwar Germany and America

Princeton University Press
288 pages
6 x 9, 17 halftones, 1 line illustration, 2 maps
ISBN13: 978-0-691-13379-9

Heide Fehrenbach, Presidential Research Professor of History
Northern Illinois University

When American victors entered Germany in the spring of 1945, they came armed not only with a commitment to democracy but also to Jim Crow practices. Race after Hitler tells the story of how troubled race relations among American occupation soldiers, and black-white mixing within Germany, unexpectedly shaped German notions of race after 1945. Biracial occupation children became objects of intense scrutiny and politicking by postwar Germans into the 1960s, resulting in a shift away from official antisemitism to a focus on color and blackness.

Beginning with black GIs’ unexpected feelings of liberation in postfascist Germany, Fehrenbach investigates reactions to their relations with white German women and to the few thousand babies born of these unions. Drawing on social welfare and other official reports, scientific studies, and media portrayals from both sides of the Atlantic, Fehrenbach reconstructs social policy debates regarding black occupation children, such as whether they should be integrated into German society or adopted to African American or other families abroad. Ultimately, a consciously liberal discourse of race emerged in response to the children among Germans who prided themselves on—and were lauded by the black American press for—rejecting the hateful practices of National Socialism and the segregationist United States.

Fehrenbach charts her story against a longer history of German racism extending from nineteenth-century colonialism through National Socialism to contemporary debates about multiculturalism. An important and provocative work, Race after Hitler explores how racial ideologies are altered through transnational contact accompanying war and regime change, even and especially in the most intimate areas of sex and reproduction.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Democratizing the Racial State: Toward a Transnational History
  • Chapter One: Contact Zones: American Military Occupation and the Politics of Race
  • Chapter Two: Flaccid Fatherland: Rape, Sex, and the Reproductive Consequences of Defeat
  • Chapter Three: “Mischlingskinder” and the Postwar Taxonomy of Race
  • Chapter Four: Reconstruction in Black and White: The Toxi Films
  • Chapter Five: Whose Children, Theirs or Ours? Intercountry Adoptions and Debates about Belonging
  • Chapter Six: Legacies: Race and the Postwar Nation
  • Abbreviations of Archives Consulted
  • Notes
  • Select Bibliography
  • Index

THE MILITARY occupation of Germany by American troops elicited two striking responses that were organized around irony and issues of race. One came from Germans, who noted with incredulity and derision that they were being democratized by a nation with a Jim Crow army and a host of anti-miscegenation laws at home. The second came from African American GIs who, in their interactions with Germans, were stunned by the apparent absence of racism in the formerly fascist land and, comparing their reception with treatment by white Americans, experienced their stay there as unexpectedly liberatory. Both responses criticized the glaring gap between democratic American principles and practices; both exposed as false the universalist language employed by the United States government to celebrate and propagate its political system and social values at home and abroad. Yet both also suggested the centrality of intercultural observation and exchange for contemporaries’ experience and understanding of postwar processes of democratization…

Read Chapter One in HTML or PDF.

Tags: , , , , ,

The Ethics of Identity

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Philosophy, Social Science on 2010-01-05 21:04Z by Steven

The Ethics of Identity

Princeton University Press
384 pages
6 x 9
Hardback ISBN: 9780691120362
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4008-2619
e-Book ISBN: 978-1-4008-2619-3

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy and the Center for Human Values
Princeton University

  • A New York Times Editors’ Choice
  • One of’s Best Nonfiction Books of 2005
  • Winner of the 2005 Award for Excellence in Professional/Scholarly Publishing in Philosophy, Association of American Publishers
  • Honorable Mention for the 2005 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights

Race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, sexuality: in the past couple of decades, a great deal of attention has been paid to such collective identities. They clamor for recognition and respect, sometimes at the expense of other things we value. But to what extent do “identities” constrain our freedom, our ability to make an individual life, and to what extent do they enable our individuality? In this beautifully written work, renowned philosopher and African Studies scholar Kwame Anthony Appiah draws on thinkers through the ages and across the globe to explore such questions.

The Ethics of Identity takes seriously both the claims of individuality–the task of making a life—and the claims of identity, these large and often abstract social categories through which we define ourselves.

What sort of life one should lead is a subject that has preoccupied moral and political thinkers from Aristotle to Mill. Here, Appiah develops an account of ethics, in just this venerable sense–but an account that connects moral obligations with collective allegiances, our individuality with our identities. As he observes, the question who we are has always been linked to the question what we are.

Adopting a broadly interdisciplinary perspective, Appiah takes aim at the clichés and received ideas amid which talk of identity so often founders. Is “culture” a good? For that matter, does the concept of culture really explain anything? Is diversity of value in itself? Are moral obligations the only kind there are? Has the rhetoric of “human rights” been overstretched? In the end, Appiah’s arguments make it harder to think of the world as divided between the West and the Rest; between locals and cosmopolitans; between Us and Them. The result is a new vision of liberal humanism–one that can accommodate the vagaries and variety that make us human.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One: The Ethics of Individuality
  • Chapter Two: Autonomy and Its Critics
  • Chapter Three: The Demands of Identity
  • Chapter Four: The Trouble with Culture
  • Chapter Five: Soul Making
  • Chapter Six: Rooted Cosmopolitanism
Tags: ,

Race in another America: the significance of skin color in Brazil

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2009-10-23 01:42Z by Steven

Race in another America: the significance of skin color in Brazil

Princeton University Press
336 pages
27 line illus. 5 halftones
6 x 9 1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 9780691127927
Ebook ISBN: 9781400837434

Edward E. Telles, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Santa Barbara

  • Winner of the 2006 Oliver Cromwell Cox Award, Section on Race and Ethnic Minorities, American Sociological Association
  • Winner of the 2006 Distinguished Book Award, American Sociological Association
  • Winner of the 2005 Otis Dudley Duncan Award, Section on Sociology of Population, American Sociological Association
  • Winner of the 2005 Hubert Herring Award, Pacific Coast Council of Latin American Studies
  • Winner of the 2005 Best Book on Brazil in English, Brazil Section of the Latin American Studies Association

This is the most comprehensive and up-to-date book on the increasingly important and controversial subject of race relations in Brazil. North American scholars of race relations frequently turn to Brazil for comparisons, since its history has many key similarities to that of the United States. Brazilians have commonly compared themselves with North Americans, and have traditionally argued that race relations in Brazil are far more harmonious because the country encourages race mixture rather than formal or informal segregation.

More recently, however, scholars have challenged this national myth, seeking to show that race relations are characterized by exclusion, not inclusion, and that fair-skinned Brazilians continue to be privileged and hold a disproportionate share of wealth and power.

In this sociological and demographic study, Edward Telles seeks to understand the reality of race in Brazil and how well it squares with these traditional and revisionist views of race relations. He shows that both schools have it partly right–that there is far more miscegenation in Brazil than in the United States–but that exclusion remains a serious problem. He blends his demographic analysis with ethnographic fieldwork, history, and political theory to try to “understand” the enigma of Brazilian race relations–how inclusiveness can coexist with exclusiveness.

The book also seeks to understand some of the political pathologies of buying too readily into unexamined ideas about race relations. In the end, Telles contends, the traditional myth that Brazil had harmonious race relations compared with the United States encouraged the government to do almost nothing to address its shortcomings.

Read the entire first chapter in HTML or PDF format.

Read a book review here.

Tags: , ,

Hollywood Fantasies of Miscegenation: Spectacular Narratives of Gender and Race

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2009-10-19 02:13Z by Steven

Hollywood Fantasies of Miscegenation: Spectacular Narratives of Gender and Race

Princeton University Press
376 pages
6 x 9, 142 halftones.
Paperback ISBN: 9780691113050

Susan Courtney, Associate Professor of English and Film Studies
University of South Carolina

Hollywood Fantasies of Miscegenation analyzes white fantasies of interracial desire in the history of popular American film.  From the first interracial screen kiss of 1903, through the [Motion Picture] Production Code‘s nearly thirty-year ban on depictions of “miscegenation,” to the contemplation of mixed marriage in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), this book demonstrates a long, popular, yet underexamined record of cultural fantasy at the movies.

With ambitious new readings of well-known films like D.W. Griffith‘s 1915 epic The Birth of a Nation and of key forgotten films and censorship documents, Susan Courtney argues that dominant fantasies of miscegenation have had a profound impact on the form and content of American cinema.

What does it mean, Courtney asks, that the image of the black rapist became a virtual cliché, while the sexual exploitation of black women by white men under slavery was perpetually repressed? What has this popular film legacy invited spectators to remember and forget? How has it shaped our conceptions of, and relationships to, race and gender?

Richly illustrated with more than 140 images, Hollywood Fantasies of Miscegenation carefully attends to cinematic detail, revising theories of identity and spectatorship as it expands critical histories of race, sex, and film. Courtney’s new research on the Production Code’s miscegenation clause also makes an important contribution, inviting us to consider how that clause was routinely interpreted and applied, and with what effects.

Read the introduction in HTML or PDF format.

Tags: , , , , , , ,