Shades of Difference: A History of Ethnicity in America: Perspectives on Multiracial America

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2009-10-13 20:35Z by Steven

Shades of Difference: A History of Ethnicity in America: Perspectives on Multiracial America

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
June 2006
208 pages
Cloth: 0-7425-4316-1 / 978-0-7425-4316-4
Paper 0-7425-4317-X / 978-0-7425-4317-1
Richard Rees, Assistant professor of American Literature
Antioch College

From its prehistory in the biological theories of racial difference formulated in the 1800s to its current position in academic debate, Richard Rees investigates the diverse fields of scholarship from which the multifaceted understanding of the term ethnicity is derived. At the same time, Rees traces the broader historical forces that shaped the needs to which the concept of ethnicity responded and the social purposes to which it was applied. Centrally, he focuses upon the emergence of ethnicity in the early 1940s as a means of resolving contradictions and ambiguities in the racial status of European immigrants and its subsequent legacy and implications on race and caste. Shades of Difference introduces new perspectives on the definition of “whiteness” in America, and makes an original contribution to the larger discussion of race through a detailed account of ethnicity’s original meaning and its revaluation when later appropriated by the discourse of Black Nationalism in the 1960s and 70s. Rees has produced a powerful new analysis of the cultural and political history of ethnicity in America.

Table of Contents

  • The Invention of (the Concept of) Ethnicity
  • Introduction: From the Invention of Race to the Rise of the Inbetween People, 1840 – 1924
  • Whiteness and the Limits of the New Environmentalism
  • Inventing Ethnicity in the Context of Race and Caste, 1930 – 45
  • Black Ethnicity and the Transformation of a Concept, 1962 – 72
  • Conclusion: Toward a Hybrid Discourse of Ethnicity
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