As is by now clear, I have my misgivings about Hall’s recent film, but, above all, I’m very glad that she made it. If nothing else, it is a sign of Larsen’s growing stature, a growth evident to any scholar who has been watching the ballooning scholarly interest in her work in the last decade.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2021-12-06 23:50Z by Steven

To be sure, there are other dimensions of this adaptation that deserve discussion—for example, the downplaying of Clare’s abusive childhood, which renders her passing a little more mercenary than it is in the novel—but I’ve already gone on too long. As is by now clear, I have my misgivings about [Rebecca] Hall’s recent film, but, above all, I’m very glad that she made it. If nothing else, it is a sign of [Nella] Larsen’s growing stature, a growth evident to any scholar who has been watching the ballooning scholarly interest in her work in the last decade. Having her novel adapted for the big screen constitutes a new stage in this evolution, for it makes her only the second novelist of the Harlem Renaissance to have her work adapted for film in a major way (Zora Neale Hurston was first, with Darnell Martin’s 2005 adaptation of Their Eyes Were Watching God).

Rafael Walker, “Passing into Film: Rebecca Hall’s Adaptation of Nella Larsen,” Modernism/modernity, Volume 6, Cycle 2 (11/10/2021).

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Jump at de Sun

Posted in Articles, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-05-09 01:33Z by Steven

Jump at de Sun

The Nation

Kristal Brent Zook

Anthropologist, novelist, folklorist, essayist and luminary of the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston dazzled her peers and patrons almost immediately upon her arrival in New York City in 1925, when she made a show-stopping grand entrance at a formal literary affair, flinging a red scarf around her neck and stopping all conversation with her animated storytelling and antics. “I would like to know her,” declared Langston Hughes. She had a “blazing zest for life,” opined celebrity writer Fannie Hurst. Annie Nathan Meyer, a founder of Barnard College, did them one better: She promptly offered Hurston entrance into Columbia University’s sister college, making her the first black student to attend Barnard.

Over the course of her life, Hurston would publish several dozen essays, short stories and poems, and seven books, including her notoriously deceptive (some would say ingeniously “dissembling”) autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road. Nine more books–essays, folklore, short stories and a play–would appear in print posthumously, following Alice Walker’s “rediscovery” of Hurston in the 1970s. According to Carla Kaplan, editor of Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters and a professor at the University of Southern California, this resurrection of the long-forgotten writer has yielded over 800 more books (including sixteen for children), articles, chapters, dissertations, reference guides and biographical essays about Hurston over the past three decades. That some 2,000 spectators showed up at Central Park last summer for a reading of her work is further evidence that Zora mania continues to be in full swing….

…On the other hand (and herein lies the rub), Hurston also believed that “all clumps of people turn out to be individuals on close inspection,” and that “black skunks are just as natural as white ones.” And she had absolutely no tolerance for the suffering protest narratives such as those offered up by novelist (and nemesis) Richard Wright. But “can the black poet sing a song to the morning?” she demanded in a 1938 essay. No, she laments, answering her own question. “The one subject for a Negro is the Race and its sufferings and so the song of the morning must be chocked back. I will write of a lynching instead.”

And there are other troubling inconsistencies. Those of us of racially mixed parentage, for example, might wonder whether we would have qualified for Hurston’s affection as “authentic” black folk. That she placed a premium on “pure” Negroness was apparent in her attacks on colorist prejudice among the light-skinned black elite (W.E.B. Du Bois was not well-loved by Hurston for his championing of the talented tenth); her disparaging remarks about “a crowd of white Negroes” on their way to Russia to make a movie about black America who had never been “south of the Mason-Dixon line”; and her “color-conscious casting” of an “authentic” Negro concert with “no mulattoes at all.” (Godmother Mason was also pleased by this banning of the “diluted ones.”)

She was a black nationalist, say some. Indeed, her complicated opposition to Brown v. Board of Education flew in the face of everything the “race leaders” of her time fought and died for. Though she was not a segregationist, Hurston found the assumption of Negro inferiority deeply insulting, according to both Boyd and Kaplan. “It is a contradiction,” as Hurston put it, “to scream race pride and equality while…spurning Negro teachers and self-association.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Race, Color, Identity: Rethinking Discourses about ‘Jews’ in the Twenty-First Century

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, History, Judaism, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Religion, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2013-07-19 00:38Z by Steven

Race, Color, Identity: Rethinking Discourses about ‘Jews’ in the Twenty-First Century

Berghahn Books
May 2013
398 pages
bibliog., index
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-85745-892-6
eBook ISBN: 978-0-85745-893-3

Edited by:

Efraim Sicher, Professor of Comparative and English Literature
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Advances in genetics are renewing controversies over inherited characteristics, and the discourse around science and technological innovations has taken on racial overtones, such as attributing inherited physiological traits to certain ethnic groups or using DNA testing to determine biological links with ethnic ancestry. This book contributes to the discussion by opening up previously locked concepts of the relation between the terms color, race, and “Jews”, and by engaging with globalism, multiculturalism, hybridity, and diaspora. The contributors—leading scholars in anthropology, sociology, history, literature, and cultural studies—discuss how it is not merely a question of whether Jews are acknowledged to be interracial, but how to address academic and social discourses that continue to place Jews and others in a race/color category.


  • Foreword / Sander Gilman
  • Introduction: Rethinking Discourses about “Jews” / Efraim Sicher
    • Chapter 1. “I’m not White – I’m Jewish”: The Racial Politics of American Jews / Cheryl Greenberg
    • Chapter 2. Reflections on Black/Jewish Relations in the Age of Obama / Ibrahim Sundiata
    • Chapter 3. Stains, Plots, and the Neighbor Thing: Jews, Blacks and Philip Roth’s Utopias / Adam Zachary Newton
    • Chapter 4. Spaces of Ambivalence: Blacks and Jews in New York City / Catherine Rottenberg
    • Chapter 5. African-American Culture, Anthropological Practices and the Jewish “Race” in Zora Neale Hurston’s Mules and Men / Dalit Alperovich
    • Chapter 6. Jewish Characters in Weeds: Reinserting ‘Race’ into the Postmodern Discourse on American Jews / Hannah Adelman Komy Ofir and Shlomi Deloia
    • Chapter 7. A Member of the Club? How Black Jews Negotiate Black Anti-Semitism and Jewish Racism / Bruce Haynes
    • Chapter 8. Ethiopian Immigrants in Israel: The Discourses of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Racism / Steven Kaplan
    • Chapter 9. Black-Jews in Academic and Institutional Discourse / Yonah Zianga
    • Chapter 10. The “Descendants of David” of Madagascar: Crypto-Judaic identities in 21st century Africa / Edith Bruder
    • Chapter 11. After the Fact: “Jews” in Post-1945 German Physical Anthropology / Amos Morris-Reich
    • Chapter 12. Genes as Jewish History?: Human Population Genetics in the Service of Historians / Noa Sophie Kohler and Dan Mishmar
    • Chapter 13. Sarrazin and the Myth of the “Jewish Gene” / Klaus Hödl
    • Chapter 14. Blood, Soul, Race, and Suffering: Full-Bodied Ethnography and Expressions of Jewish Belonging / Fran Markowitz
    • Chapter 15. Jews, Muslims, European Identities: Multiculturalism and Anti-Semitism in Britain / Efraim Sicher
    • Chapter 16. Brothers in Misery: Re-connecting Sociologies of Racism and Anti-Semitism / Glynis Cousin and Robert Fine
    • Chapter 17. Race by the Grace of God: Race, Religion, and the Construction of “Jew” and “Arab” / Ivan Davidson Kalmar
  • Select Bibliography
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index
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The Fictive Flapper: A Way of Reading Race and Female Desire in the Novels of Larsen, Hurst, Hurston and Cather

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Women on 2013-02-06 05:26Z by Steven

The Fictive Flapper: A Way of Reading Race and Female Desire in the Novels of Larsen, Hurst, Hurston and Cather

University of Maryland, College Park
391 pages

Traci B. Abbott, Lecturer, English and Media Studies
Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts

Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Maryland, College Park, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

This study seeks to reevaluate the 1920s icon of assertive female sexuality, the flapper, as represented in the novels of four women writers. Although cultural images often designate, by their very construction, normal and alteritous social categories, I argue that the flapper’s presence and popularity encourage rather than restrict this autonomy for even those female populations she appears to reject, notably lower-class women, nonwhite women, and homosexuals. Specifically, the flapper was predicated upon the cultural practices and beliefs of many of the very groups she was designed to exclude, and therefore her presence attests to the reality of these women’s experiences. Moreover, her emphasis on the liberating potential of sexual autonomy could not be contained within her strictly defined parameters in part because of her success in outlining this potential. Each chapter then focuses upon images of black and white female sexuality in the novels, chosen for their attention to female sexual autonomy within and beyond the flapper’s boundaries as well as the author’s exclusion from the flapper’s parameters.  Nella Larsen’s Passing suggests that the fluidity of female sexual desire cannot be contained within strict dichotomies of race, class, or sexual orientation, and women can manipulate and perhaps even transcend such boundaries. Fannie Hurst’s Imitation of Life offers a critique of the flapper’s excessive emphasis on sexual desirability as defined by conspicuous consumption, maintaining that lower-class white and black women can and should have access to sexual autonomy, while Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston similarly questions the denigration of working-class and non-white women in this model with her affirming view of Janie Woods, but also complicates the cultural presumption that any woman can find autonomy within a heterosexual relationship if such relationships are still defined by conventional notions of gender power. Finally, Willa Cather’s last novel, Sapphira and the Slave Girl, contends modern black and white women have the right to control their own sexual needs within an unusual antebellum setting. Thus, all of these novel provide other models of sexual autonomy besides the white, middle-class, heterosexual flapper while harnessing the flapper’s affirming and popular imagery.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Racechanges: White Skin, Black Face in American Culture

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2012-09-30 03:58Z by Steven

Racechanges: White Skin, Black Face in American Culture

Oxford University Press
May 1997
356 pages
Paperback ISBN13: 9780195134186; ISBN10: 0195134184

Susan Gubar, Distinguished Professor Emerita and Ruth N. Halls Professor Emerita of English
Indiana University

When the actor Ted Danson appeared in blackface at a 1993 Friars Club roast, he ignited a firestorm of protest that landed him on the front pages of the newspapers, rebuked by everyone from talk show host Montel Williams to New York City’s then mayor, David Dinkins. Danson’s use of blackface was shocking, but was the furious pitch of the response a triumphant indication of how far society has progressed since the days when blackface performers were the toast of vaudeville, or was it also an uncomfortable reminder of how deep the chasm still is separating black and white America?

In Racechanges: White Skin, Black Face in American Culture, Susan Gubar, who fundamentally changed the way we think about women’s literature as co-author of the acclaimed The Madwoman in the Attic, turns her attention to the incendiary issue of race. Through a far-reaching exploration of the long overlooked legacy of minstrelsy–cross-racial impersonations or “racechanges”—throughout modern American film, fiction, poetry, painting, photography, and journalism, she documents the indebtedness of “mainstream” artists to African-American culture, and explores the deeply conflicted psychology of white guilt. The fascinating “racechanges” Gubar discusses include whites posing as blacks and blacks “passing” for white; blackface on white actors in The Jazz Singer, Birth of a Nation, and other movies, as well as on the faces of black stage entertainers; African-American deployment of racechange imagery during the Harlem Renaissance, including the poetry of Anne Spencer, the black-and-white prints of Richard Bruce Nugent, and the early work of Zora Neale Hurston; white poets and novelists from Vachel Lindsay and Gertrude Stein to John Berryman and William Faulkner writing as if they were black; white artists and writers fascinated by hypersexualized stereotypes of black men; and nightmares and visions of the racechanged baby. Gubar shows that unlike African-Americans, who often are forced to adopt white masks to gain their rights, white people have chosen racial masquerades, which range from mockery and mimicry to an evolving emphasis on inter-racial mutuality and mutability.

Drawing on a stunning array of illustrations, including paintings, film stills, computer graphics, and even magazine morphings, Racechanges sheds new light on the persistent pervasiveness of racism and exciting aesthetic possibilities for lessening the distance between blacks and whites.

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Fashioning and Refashioning Marie Laveau in American Memory and Imagination

Posted in Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2012-03-18 19:58Z by Steven

Fashioning and Refashioning Marie Laveau in American Memory and Imagination

Florida State University
201 pages

Tatia Jacobson Jordan

A Dissertation submitted to the Department of English in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Fashioning and Refashioning Marie Laveau in American Memory and Imagination follows the life and literary presence of the legendary figure, Marie Laveau. This female spiritualist lived in antebellum Louisiana from 1801-1881. After her death, her legend has continued to grow as evidenced by her presence in contemporary print and pop culture and the tens of thousands of visitors to her grave in New Orleans every year. Here, I contextualize Laveau in a pre-Civil war America by looking at the African American female in print and visual culture. I trace the beginnings of several tropes in literature that ultimately affect the relevancy of the Laveau figure as she appears and reappears in literature beginning with Zora Neale Hurston’s inclusion of Laveau in Mules and Men. I offer close readings of the appearance of these tropes in Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, interrogate her connection to Caribbean lore in Tell My Horse, and show the evolution of this figure in several of Hurston’s short stories. I then offer close readings of the refiguring of Laveau in Robert Tallant’s works, Ishmael Reed’s novel The Last Days of Louisiana Red, and Jewell Parker Rhodes’s Marie Laveau trilogy. I intervene with contemporary scholarship by suggesting that novels like Corregidora by Gayl Jones, Mama Day by Gloria Naylor, and The Salt Eaters by Toni Cade Bambara draw not on a general conjure figure, as previously thought, but instead implicitly refashion feminist heroines that resemble Marie Laveau, characters with a circum-Atlantic consciousness that arise from Hurston’s literary legacy.


  • List of Figures
  • Abstract
  • INTRODUCTION: “Looking for the Join”: Positioning Laveau Lore in American Studies
  • CHAPTER ONE: Historical Context: Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Print Culture and Literature
  • CHAPTER TWO: “That’s what the old ones said in ancient times and we talk it again”: The Retelling of Laveau in Hurston’s Canon
  • CHAPTER THREE: “Dismissing” Laveau: Male Authorship in the Laveau Canon
  • CHAPTER FOUR: Glimpses of the Ghost: Hurston’s Legacy in Gloria Naylor, Toni Cade Barnbara, and Gayl Jones
  • CHAPTER FIVE: Hearing Voodoo, Writing Voodoo: Cultural Memory in Jewell Parker Rhodes’s Marie Laveau Trilogy
  • Appendix
  • References
  • Biographical Sketch


  • Figure 1: “Marie Laveau,” 1920s; Franck Schneider after George Catlin Courtesy of the Louisiana State Museum
  • Figure 2: The Original Cover of Chesnutt’s The Conjure Woman, 1899
  • Figure 3: “This is a white man’s government,”from Harper’s Weekly, 1868; Library of Congress
  • Figure 4: “‘Well, Missy! Heah we is!'”1913; Library of Congress
  • Figure 5: “Jinnoowine Johnson ticket. ‘Carrying the war into Africa,”‘ 1836; Library of Congress
  • Figure 6: “An Affecting Scene in Kentucky,” 1836; Library of Congress
  • Figure 7: “Children on the Lawn at Brookhill (Nanny Hiding Behind the Children) Courtesy of the Valentine Richmond Historical Center
  • Figure 8: Racist Mammy Postcard 1, 1900; Library of Congress
  • Figure 9: Racist Mammy Postcard 2, 1900; Library of Congress
  • Figure 10: “Mr. T. Rice as the original Jim Crow,” 1832; Sheet Music Cover Illustration
  • Figure 11: Zora Neale Hurston in the Caribbean; Library of Congress
  • Figure 12: Hurston’s Ft. Pierce Chronicle Column circa 1958
  • Figure 13: Cover of Fire!! Literary Magazine, 1926
  • Figure 14: “Voodoo Painting/’ Courtesy of the Robert Tallant Photograph Collection, Louisiana Division, New Orleans Public Library
  • Figure 15: “Marie Laveau,”2007, Courtesy of Artist Holly Sarre

Read the entire dissertation here.

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To Make a New Race: Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance

Posted in Biography, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2011-10-24 01:40Z by Steven

To Make a New Race: Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance

University Press of Mississippi
202 pages
Cloth: 157806130X (9781578061303)
Paper: 1578061318 (9781578061310)

Jon Woodson, Professor of English
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Jean Toomer’s adamant stance against racism and his call for a raceless society were far more complex than the average reader of works from the Harlem Renaissance might believe. In To Make a New Race Jon Woodson explores the intense influence of Greek-born mystic G. I. Gurdjieff on the thinking of Toomer and his coterie—Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, George Schuyler, Wallace Thurman—and, through them, the mystic’s influence on many of the notables in African American literature.

Gurdjieff, born of poor Greco-Armenian parents on the Russo-Turkish frontier, espoused the theory that man is asleep and in prison unless he strains against the major burdens of life, especially those of identification, like race. Toomer, whose novel Cane became an inspiration to many later Harlem Renaissance writers, traveled to France and labored at Gurdjieff’s Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. Later, the writer became one of the primary followers approved to teach Gurdjieff’s philosophy in the United States.

Woodson’s is the first study of Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance to look beyond contemporary portrayals of the mystic in order to judge his influence. Scouring correspondence, manuscripts, and published texts, Woodson finds the direct links in which Gurdjieff through Toomer played a major role in the development of “objective literature.” He discovers both coded and explicit ways in which Gurdjieff’s philosophy shaped the world views of writers well into the 1960s. Moreover Woodson reinforces the extensive contribution Toomer and other African-American writers with all their international influences made to the American cultural scene.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • 1 Jean Toomer: Beside You Will Stand a Strange Man
  • 2 Wallace Thurman: Beyond Race and Color
  • 3 Rudolph Fisher: Minds of Another Order
  • 4 Nella Larsen: The Anatomy of “Sleep”
  • 5 George Schuyler: New Races and New Worlds
  • 6 Zora Neale Hurston: The Self and the Nation
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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The Collage Aesthetic in the Harlem Renaissance

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2011-03-29 19:20Z by Steven

The Collage Aesthetic in the Harlem Renaissance

Ashgate Publishing
November 2009
232 pages
Includes 5 b&w illustrations
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-7546-6198-6

Rachel Farebrother, Lecturer in American Studies
University of Swansea

Beginning with a subtle and persuasive analysis of the cultural context, Farebrother examines collage in modernist and Harlem Renaissance figurative art and unearths the collage sensibility attendant in Franz Boas’s anthropology. This strategy makes explicit the formal choices of Harlem Renaissance writers by examining them in light of African American vernacular culture and early twentieth-century discourses of anthropology, cultural nationalism and international modernism. At the same time, attention to the politics of form in such texts as Toomer’s Cane, Locke’s The New Negro and selected works by Hurston reveals that the production of analogies, juxtapositions, frictions and distinctions on the page has aesthetic, historical and political implications. Why did these African American writers adopt collage form during the Harlem Renaissance? What did it allow them to articulate? These are among the questions Farebrother poses as she strives for a middle ground between critics who view the Harlem Renaissance as a distinctive, and necessarily subversive, kind of modernism and those who foreground the cooperative nature of interracial creative work during the period. A key feature of her project is her exploration of neglected connections between Euro-American modernism and the Harlem Renaissance, a journey she negotiates while never losing sight of the particularity of African American experience. Ambitious and wide-ranging, Rachel Farebrother’s book offers us a fresh lens through which to view this crucial moment in American culture.


  • Acknowledgements
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • 1. Boasian Anthropology and the Harlem Renaissance
  • 2. ‘[F]lung out in a jagged, uneven but progressive pattern’: ‘Culture-citizenship’ in The New Negro
  • 3. ‘[A]dventuring through the pieces of a still unorganized mosaic’: Jean Toomer’s Collage Aesthetic in Cane
  • 4. ‘Think[ing] in Hieroglyphics’: Zora Neale Hurston’s Cross-Cultural Aesthetic
  • 5. Reading Zora Neale Hurston’s Textual Synthesis in Jonah’s Gourd Vine and Moses, Man of the Mountain
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Read the introduction here.
Read the index here.

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The White Negress: Literature, Minstrelsy, and the Black-Jewish Imaginary

Posted in Books, Judaism, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, United States, Women on 2011-03-07 04:36Z by Steven

The White Negress: Literature, Minstrelsy, and the Black-Jewish Imaginary

Rutgers University Press
248 pages, 3 photographs
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8135-4783-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8135-4782-4
eBook ISBN: 978-0-8135-4989-7

Lori Harrison-Kahan, Full-time Adjunct Faculty in English
Boston College

During the first half of the twentieth century, American Jews demonstrated a commitment to racial justice as well as an attraction to African American culture. Until now, the debate about whether such black-Jewish encounters thwarted or enabled Jews’ claims to white privilege has focused on men and representations of masculinity while ignoring questions of women and femininity. The White Negress investigates literary and cultural texts by Jewish and African American women, opening new avenues of inquiry that yield more complex stories about Jewishness, African American identity, and the meanings of whiteness.

Lori Harrison-Kahan examines writings by Edna Ferber, Fannie Hurst, and Zora Neale Hurston, as well as the blackface performances of vaudevillian Sophie Tucker and controversies over the musical and film adaptations of Show Boat and Imitation of Life. Moving between literature and popular culture, she illuminates how the dynamics of interethnic exchange have at once produced and undermined the binary of black and white.

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Dislocating the Color Line: Identity, Hybridity, and Singularity in African-American Narrative

Posted in Books, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2009-12-12 02:39Z by Steven

Dislocating the Color Line: Identity, Hybridity, and Singularity in African-American Narrative

Stanford University Press
280 pages
Cloth ISBN-10: 0804727740; ISBN-13: 9780804727747
Paper ISBN-10: 0804727759; ISBN-13: 9780804727754

Samira Kawash, Associate Professor Women’s and Gender Studies
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Inquiries into the meaning and force of race in American culture have largely focused on questions of identity and difference—What does it mean to have a racial identity? What constitutes racial difference? Such questions assume the basic principle of racial division, which todays seems to be becoming an increasingly bitter and seemingly irreparable chasm between black and white.

This book confronts this contemporary problem by shifting the focus of analysis from understanding differences to analyzing division. It provides a historical context for the recent resurgence of racial division by tracing the path of the color line as it appears in the narrative writings of African-Americans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In readings of slave narratives, “passing novels,” and the writings of Charles Chesnutt and Zora Neale Hurston, the author asks: What is the work of division? How does division work?

The history of the color line in the United States is coeval with that of the nation. The author suggests that throughout this history, the color line has not functioned simply to name biological or cultural difference, but more important, it has served as a principle of division, classification, and order. In this way, the color line marks the inseparability of knowledge and power in a racially demarcated society. The author shows how, from the time of slavery to today, the color line has figured as the locus of such central tenets of American political life as citizenship, subjectivity, community, law, freedom, and justice.

This book seeks not only to understand, but also to bring critical pressure on the interpretations, practices, and assumptions that correspond to and buttress representations of racial difference. The work of dislocating the color line lies in uncovering the uncertainty, the incoherency, and the discontinuity that the common sense of the color line masks, while at the same time elucidating the pressures that transform the contingent relations of the color line into common sense.

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