In the tradition of Eric Lott's award-winning Love and Theft, Hartman's new book shows how the violence of captivity and enslavement was embodied in many of the performance practices that grew from, and about, slave culture in antebellum America. Using tools from anthropology and history as well as literary criticism, she examines a wealth of material, including songs, dance, stories, diaries, narratives, and journals to provide new insights into a range of issues. She looks particularlyat the presentations of slavery and blackness in minstrelsy, melodrama, and the sentimental novel; the disparity between actual slave culture and "managed" plantation amusements; the construction of slave culture in nineteenth-century ethnographic writing; the rhetorical performance of slave law and slave narratives; the dimension of slave performance practice; and the political consciousness of folklore. Particularly provocative is her analysis of the slave pen and auction block, which transmogrified terror into theatre, and her reading of the rhetoric of seduction in slavery law and legal cases concerning rape. Persuasively showing that the exercise of power is inseparable from its display, Scenes of Subjection will interest readers involved in a wide range of historical, literary, and cultural studies.
Barack Obama’s historic presidency has re-inserted mixed race into the national conversation. While the troubled and pejorative history of racial amalgamation throughout U.S. history is a familiar story, The United States of the United Races reconsiders an understudied optimist tradition, one which has praised mixture as a means to create a new people, bring equality to all, and fulfill an American destiny. In this genealogy, Greg Carter re-envisions racial mixture as a vehicle for pride and a way for citizens to examine mixed America as a better America. Tracing the centuries-long conversation that began with Hector St. John de Crevecoeur’s Letters of an American Farmer in the 1780s through to the Mulitracial Movement of the 1990s and the debates surrounding racial categories on the U.S. Census in the twenty-first century, Greg Carter explores a broad range of documents and moments, unearthing a new narrative that locates hope in racial mixture. Carter traces the reception of the concept as it has evolved over the years, from and decade to decade and century to century, wherein even minor changes in individual attitudes have paved the way for major changes in public response. The United States of the United Races sweeps away an ugly element of U.S. history, replacing it with a new understanding of race in America.
First Published in 2017. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an Informa company.
Poetry occupied a complex position in the social life of nineteenth-century America. While some readers found in poems a resource for aesthetic pleasure and the enjoyment of linguistic complexity, many others turned to poems for spiritual and psychic wellbeing, adapted popular musical settings of poems to spread scandal and satire, or used poems as a medium for asserting personal and family memories as well as local and national affiliations. Poetry was not only read but memorized and quoted, rewritten and parodied, collected, anthologized, edited, and exchanged. Michael C. Cohen here explores the multiplicity of imaginative relationships forged between poems and those who made use of them from the post-Revolutionary era to the turn of the twentieth century. Organized along a careful genealogy of ballads in the Atlantic world, The Social Lives of Poems in Nineteenth-Century America demonstrates how the circulation of texts in songs, broadsides, letters, and newsprint as well as in books, anthologies, and critical essays enabled poetry to perform its many different tasks. Considering the media and modes of reading through which people encountered and made sense of poems, Cohen traces the lines of critical interpretations and tracks the emergence and disappearance of poetic genres in American literary culture. Examining well-known works by John Greenleaf Whittier and Walt Whitman as well as popular ballads, minstrel songs, and spirituals, Cohen shows how discourses on poetry served as sites for debates over history, literary culture, citizenship, and racial identity.
Nineteenth-century America witnessed some of the most important and fruitful areas of intersection between the law and humanities, as people began to realize that the law, formerly confined to courts and lawyers, might also find expression in a variety of ostensibly non-legal areas such as painting, poetry, fiction, and sculpture. Bringing together leading researchers from law schools and humanities departments, this Companion touches on regulatory, statutory, and common law in nineteenth-century America and encompasses judges, lawyers, legislators, litigants, and the institutions they inhabited (courts, firms, prisons). It will serve as a reference for specific information on a variety of law- and humanities-related topics as well as a guide to understanding how the two disciplines developed in tandem in the long nineteenth century.
Beginning with an analysis of cultural themes and ending with a discussion of evolving and expanding political and corporate institutions, The Columbia History of Post-World War II America addresses changes in America's response to the outside world; the merging of psychological states and social patterns in memorial culture, scandal culture, and consumer culture; the intersection of social practices and governmental policies; the effect of technological change on society and politics; and the intersection of changing belief systems and technological development, among other issues. Many had feared that Orwellian institutions would crush the individual in the postwar era, but a major theme of this book is the persistence of individuality and diversity. Trends toward institutional bigness and standardization have coexisted with and sometimes have given rise to a countervailing pattern of individualized expression and consumption. Today Americans are exposed to more kinds of images and music, choose from an infinite variety of products, and have a wide range of options in terms of social and sexual arrangements. In short, they enjoy more ways to express their individuality despite the ascendancy of immense global corporations, and this volume imaginatively explores every facet of this unique American experience.
In everyday language, masochism is usually understood as the desire to abdicate control in exchange for sensation—pleasure, pain, or a combination thereof. Yet at its core, masochism is a site where power, bodies, and society come together. Sensational Flesh uses masochism as a lens to examine how power structures race, gender, and embodiment in different contexts. Drawing on rich and varied sources—from 19th century sexology, psychoanalysis, and critical theory to literary texts and performance art—Amber Jamilla Musser employs masochism as a powerful diagnostic tool for probing relationships between power and subjectivity. Engaging with a range of debates about lesbian S&M, racialization, femininity, and disability, as well as key texts such as Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs, Pauline Réage’s The Story of O, and Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality, Musser renders legible the complex ways that masochism has been taken up by queer, feminist, and critical race theories. Furthering queer theory’s investment in affect and materiality, she proposes “sensation” as an analytical tool for illustrating what it feels like to be embedded in structures of domination such as patriarchy, colonialism, and racism and what it means to embody femininity, blackness, and pain. Sensational Flesh is ultimately about the ways in which difference is made material through race, gender, and sexuality and how that materiality is experienced.
In Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare, Leigh Raiford argues that over the past one hundred years, activists in the black freedom struggle have used photographic imagery both to gain political recognition and to develop a different visual vocabulary about black lives. Offering readings of the use of photography in the anti-lynching movement, the civil rights movement, and the black power movement, Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare focuses on key transformations in technology, society, and politics to understand the evolution of photography's deployment in capturing white oppression, black resistance, and African American life.
A provocative, exuberant, and deeply researched investigation into Mark Twain’s writing of America’s favorite icon of childhood, Huckleberry Finn: “A boldly revisionist reading of Twain’s Huckleberry Finn…Twain’s masterpiece emerges as a compelling depiction of nineteenth-century troubles still all too familiar in the twenty-first century” (Booklist, starred review). In the “groundbreaking” (Dallas Morning News) Huck Finn’s America, award-winning biographer Andrew Levy shows how modern readers have misunderstood Huckleberry Finn for decades. Mark Twain’s masterpiece is often discussed either as a carefree adventure story for children or a serious novel about race relations, yet Levy argues, it is neither. Instead, Huck Finn was written at a time when Americans were nervous about “uncivilized” bad boys, and a debate was raging about education, popular culture, and responsible parenting—casting Huck’s now-celebrated “freedom” in a very different and very modern light. On issues of race, on the other hand, Twain’s lifelong fascination with minstrel shows and black culture inspired him to write a book not about civil rights, but about race’s role in entertainment and commerce, the same features on which much of our own modern consumer culture is also grounded. In Levy’s vision, Huck Finn has more to say about contemporary children and race that we have ever imagined—if we are willing to hear it. An eye-opening, groundbreaking exploration of the character and psyche of Mark Twain as he was writing his most famous novel, Levy’s book “explores the soul of Mark Twain's enduring achievement with the utmost self-awareness...An eloquent argument, wrapped up in rich biographical detail and historical fact.” (USA TODAY). Huck Finn’s America brings the past to vivid, surprising life, and offers a persuasive argument for why this American classic deserves to be understood anew.
Tracing the African American dance from the Diaspora to the dance floor, this book covers a social history germane not only to the African American experience, but also to the global experience of laborers who learn lessons from hip hop dance. Examining hip hop dance as text, as commentary, and as a function of identity construction within the confines of consumerism, the book draws on popular cultural images from films, commercials, and dance studios. A bibliography, discography, and filmography are included.
The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism has become the indispensable resource for scholars and students of literary theory and discourse. The long-awaited second edition includes 48 new entries and subentries and has been revised throughout, taking account of ten years of rapidly changing scholarship. While concentrating on the explosion of contemporary critical and theoretical works, the Guide presents a comprehensive historical survey of ideas and individuals ranging from Plato and Aristotle to twentieth-century scholars. It includes more than 240 alphabetically arranged entries on critics and theorists, critical schools and movements, and the critical and theoretical innovations of specific countries and historical periods. It also examines developments in other disciplines which have shaped literary theory and criticism. An international, encyclopedic guide to the field's most important figures, schools, and movements, the new edition reflects the state of literary theory and criticism.
Winner, Lois P. Rudnick Book Prize presented by the New England American Studies Association Across the twentieth century, national controversies involving Asian Americans have drawn attention to such seemingly unremarkable activities as eating rice, greeting customers, and studying for exams. While public debates about Asian Americans have invoked quotidian practices to support inconsistent claims about racial difference, diverse aesthetic projects have tested these claims by experimenting with the relationships among habit, body, and identity. In The Racial Mundane, Ju Yon Kim argues that the ambiguous relationship between behavioral tendencies and the body has sustained paradoxical characterizations of Asian Americans as ideal and impossible Americans. The body’s uncertain attachment to its routine motions promises alternately to materialize racial distinctions and to dissolve them. Kim’s study focuses on works of theater, fiction, and film that explore the interface between racialized bodies and everyday enactments to reveal new and latent affiliations. The various modes of performance developed in these works not only encourage audiences to see habitual behaviors differently, but also reveal the stakes of noticing such behaviors at all. Integrating studies of race, performance, and the everyday, The Racial Mundane invites readers to reflect on how and to what effect perfunctory behaviors become objects of public scrutiny.
In 1912 James Reese Europe made history by conducting his 125-member Clef Club Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. The first concert by an African American ensemble at the esteemed venue was more than just a concert--it was a political act of desegregation, a defiant challenge to the status quo in American music. In this book, David Gilbert explores how Europe and other African American performers, at the height of Jim Crow, transformed their racial difference into the mass-market commodity known as "black music." Gilbert shows how Europe and others used the rhythmic sounds of ragtime, blues, and jazz to construct new representations of black identity, challenging many of the nation's preconceived ideas about race, culture, and modernity and setting off a musical craze in the process. Gilbert sheds new light on the little-known era of African American music and culture between the heyday of minstrelsy and the Harlem Renaissance. He demonstrates how black performers played a pioneering role in establishing New York City as the center of American popular music, from Tin Pan Alley to Broadway, and shows how African Americans shaped American mass culture in their own image.
This singular reference provides an authoritative account of the daily lives of enslaved women in the United States, from colonial times to emancipation following the Civil War. Through essays, photos, and primary source documents, the female experience is explored, and women are depicted as central, rather than marginal, figures in history. • Dozens of photos of former enslaved women • Detailed historical timeline • Numerous rare primary documents, including runaway slave advertisements and even a plantation recipe for turtle soup • Profiles of noted female slaves and their works
In the mid-nineteenth-century United States, as it became increasingly difficult to distinguish between bodies understood as black, white, or Indian; able-bodied or disabled; and male or female, intense efforts emerged to define these identities as biologically distinct and scientifically verifiable in a literally marked body. Combining literary analysis, legal history, and visual culture, Ellen Samuels traces the evolution of the “fantasy of identification”—the powerful belief that embodied social identities are fixed, verifiable, and visible through modern science. From birthmarks and fingerprints to blood quantum and DNA, she examines how this fantasy has circulated between cultural representations, law, science, and policy to become one of the most powerfully institutionalized ideologies of modern society. Yet, as Samuels demonstrates, in every case, the fantasy distorts its claimed scientific basis, substituting subjective language for claimed objective fact. From its early emergence in discourses about disability fakery and fugitive slaves in the nineteenth century to its most recent manifestation in the question of sex testing at the 2012 Olympic Games, Fantasies of Identification explores the roots of modern understandings of bodily identity.
Ewa Ziarek fully articulates a feminist aesthetics, focusing on the struggle for freedom in women's literary and political modernism and the devastating impact of racist violence and sexism. She examines the contradiction between women's transformative literary and political practices and the oppressive realities of racist violence and sexism, and she situates these tensions within the entrenched opposition between revolt and melancholia in studies of modernity and within the friction between material injuries and experimental aesthetic forms. Ziarek's political and aesthetic investigations concern the exclusion and destruction of women in politics and literary production and the transformation of this oppression into the inaugural possibilities of writing and action. Her study is one of the first to combine an in-depth engagement with philosophical aesthetics, especially the work of Theodor W. Adorno, with women's literary modernism, particularly the writing of Virginia Woolf and Nella Larsen, along with feminist theories on the politics of race and gender. By bringing seemingly apolitical, gender-neutral debates about modernism's experimental forms together with an analysis of violence and destroyed materialities, Ziarek challenges both the anti-aesthetic subordination of modern literature to its political uses and the appreciation of art's emancipatory potential at the expense of feminist and anti-racist political struggles.
After the Civil War, the South was divided into five military districts occupied by Union forces. Out of these regions, a remarkable group of writers emerged. Experiencing the long-lasting ramifications of Reconstruction firsthand, many of these writers sought to translate the era's promise into practice. In fiction, newspaper journalism, and other forms of literature, authors including George Washington Cable, Albion Tourgee, Constance Fenimore Woolson, and Octave Thanet imagined a new South in which freedpeople could prosper as citizens with agency. Radically re-envisioning the role of women in the home, workforce, and marketplace, these writers also made gender a vital concern of their work. Still, working from the South, the authors were often subject to the whims of a northern literary market. Their visions of citizenship depended on their readership's deference to conventional claims of duty, labor, reputation, and property ownership. The circumstances surrounding the production and circulation of their writing blunted the full impact of the period's literary imagination and fostered a drift into the stereotypical depictions and other strictures that marked the rise of Jim Crow. Sharon D. Kennedy-Nolle blends literary history with archival research to assess the significance of Reconstruction literature as a genre. Founded on witness and dream, the pathbreaking work of its writers made an enduring, if at times contradictory, contribution to American literature and history.

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