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Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940by Grace Elizabeth Hale
Synopses & Reviews
Making Whiteness is a profoundly important work that explains how and why whiteness came to be such a crucial, embattled--and distorting--component of twentieth-century Americanidentity. In intricately textured detail and with passionately mastered analysis, Grace Elizabeth Hale shows how, when faced with the active citizenship of their ex-slaves after the Civil War, whitesoutherners re-established their dominance through a cultural system based on violence and physical separation. And in a bold and transformative analysis of the meaning of segregation for the nation as awhole, she explains how white southerners' creation of modern whiteness was, beginning in the 1920s, taken up by the rest of the nation as a way of enforcing a new social hierarchy while at the sametime creating the illusion of a national, egalitarian, consumerist democracy.
By showing the very recent historical making of contemporary American whiteness and by examining how theculture of segregation, in all its murderous contradictions, was lived, Hale makes it possible to imagine a future outside it. Her vision holds out the difficult promise of a truly democratic American identity whosepossibilities are no longer limited and disfigured by race.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Grace Elizabeth Hale is an assistant professor of American history at the University of Virginia. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
From the Hardcover edition.
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History and Social Science » African American Studies » General