Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940

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We are especially interested in books that use theory to dig deeply into cultural materials, examining their circulation, reception, interpretation, and reuse. We invite submissions from junior and senior scholars whose arguments and archives surprise and provoke their audiences.

We will publish books that engage readers, speak to the issues of the present, and contest the contemporary narrowing of intellectual endeavor. 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 American identity.

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, white southerners 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 a whole, she explains how white southerners' creation of modern "whiteness" was, beginning in the s, taken up by the rest of the nation as a way of enforcing a new social hierarchy while at the same time creating the illusion of a national, egalitarian, consumerist democracy.

By showing the very recent historical "making" of contemporary American whiteness and by examining how the culture of segregation, in all its murderous contradictions, was lived, Hale makes it possible to imagine a future outside it.


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Segregation has made ofoureating and drinking, our buying and selling, ourlabor and housing, our rents, our railroads Masking isaplay upon possibility and ours is asociety in which possibilities are many Said a very dark Southern friend ofmine toa white businessman who complained of his recalcitrance in a bargaining situation, "1 know, you thought 1 was colored, didn't you.

The ceaseless "puny marks of man" had vanquished the dialectic of wildness and order.

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