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    Before, During, After

    Richard Bausch 9780307266262

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The Heart of Whiteness: Normal Sexuality and Race in America, 1880–1940

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The Heart of Whiteness: Normal Sexuality and Race in America, 1880–1940 Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this groundbreaking study, Julian Carter demonstrates that between 1880 and 1940, cultural discourses of whiteness and heterosexuality fused to form a new concept of the “normal” American. Gilded Age elites defined white civilization as the triumphant achievement of exceptional people hewing to a relational ethic of strict self-discipline for the common good. During the early twentieth century, that racial and relational ideal was reconceived in more inclusive terms as “normality,” something toward which everyone should strive. The appearance of inclusiveness helped make “normality” appear consistent with the self-image of a racially diverse republic; nonetheless, “normality” was gauged largely in terms of adherence to erotic and emotional conventions that gained cultural significance through their association with arguments for the legitimacy of white political and social dominance. At the same time, the affectionate, reproductive heterosexuality of “normal” married couples became increasingly central to legitimate membership in the nation.

Carter builds her intricate argument from detailed readings of an array of popular texts, focusing on how sex education for children and marital advice for adults provided significant venues for the dissemination of the new ideal of normality. She concludes that because its overt concerns were love, marriage, and babies, normality discourse facilitated white evasiveness about racial inequality. The ostensible focus of “normality” on matters of sexuality provided a superficially race-neutral conceptual structure that whites could and did use to evade engagement with the unequal relations of power that continue to shape American life today.

About the Author

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Julian Carter is Assistant Professor of Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The search for Norma — "Barbarians are not nervous" — The marriage crisis — Birds, bees, and the future of the race : making whiteness normal — Epilogue: Regarding racial/erotic politics.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780822389583
Subtitle:
Normal Sexuality and Race in America, 1880-1940
Publisher:
Duke University Press
Author:
Carter, Julian B.
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20070518
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
219

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » General
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Racism and Ethnic Conflict
History and Social Science » Sociology » Children and Family
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » US History » General

The Heart of Whiteness: Normal Sexuality and Race in America, 1880–1940
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Product details 219 pages Duke University Press Books - English 9780822389583 Reviews:
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