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Critical Race Narratives

A Study of Race, Rhetoric and Injury

Carl Gutierrez-Jones

Publication Year: 2001

The beating of Rodney King, the killing of Amadou Diallo, and the LAPD Rampart Scandal: these events have been interpreted by the courts, the media and the public in dramatically conflicting ways. Critical Race Narratives examines what is at stake in these conflicts and, in so doing, rethinks racial strife in the United States as a highly-charged struggle over different methods of reading and writing.

Focusing in particular on the practice and theorization of narrative strategies, Gutiérrez-Jones engages many of the most influential texts in the recent race debatesincluding The Bell Curve, America in Black and White, The Alchemy of Race and Rights, and The Mismeasure of Man. In the process, Critical Race Narratives pursues key questions posed by the texts as they work within, or against, disciplinary expectations: can critical engagements with narrative enable a more democratic dialogue regarding race? what promise does such experimentation hold for working through the traumatic legacy of racism in the United States? Throughout, Critical Race Narratives initiates a timely dialogue between race-focused narrative experiment in scholarly writing and similar work in literary texts and popular culture.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. vii-

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

As the product of many conversations, this book has been, from start to finish, a collective endeavor. Foremost, I convey my deep gratitude to my partner, Leslie Gutiérrez-Jones, who has offered rich insights, fruitful suggestions, and unflagging support. A number of people have also given very generously of their time by commenting on draft versions of...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-17

Almost four decades after embarking on fundamental reforms that would guarantee formal equality to all of its citizens, the United States still finds itself telling very different stories about race and about the prevalence of racism. In a general yet significant sense, people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds tend to read race and racism in ways...

Part One: Working through Racial Injury

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1. The Contours of the Contemporary Race Debate

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pp. 21-47

If recent decades in American studies will be recalled for a pervasive concern regarding the inclusion of previously disenfranchised communities, it may well be that the movement of American studies into the twenty-first century will be remembered for a pronounced skepticism toward the promise of inclusion. This is not to say that the inclusion-oriented...

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2. Color-Blindness, Acting Out, and Culture

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pp. 48-65

Adding to the latest chapter in the "culture wars," a number of cultural and literary critics have recently gained national attention by arguing that their academic fields have been significantly harmed by a regime of multiculturalism, a regime they consider fundamentally racist.1 Walter Benn Michaels provides a prominent example of this trend with his...

Part Two. Narrative Interventions

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3. Critical Race Stories and the Problem of Remedy

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pp. 69-89

Although the Critical Legal Studies (CLS) movement is often credited with elaborating a detailed "deconstruction" of legal practice, Critical Race Studies (CRS) has been unique in attempting to reconstruct the law by virtue of reference to a core race literacy processed "from the bottom up," or by means of a certain proximate relation to racial injury.1...

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4. Historical Properties, Uncommon Grounds

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pp. 90-113

As a principal contributor to, and spokesperson for, the New Western History, Patricia Limerick has engaged critical problems that speak not only to the grounding assumptions of U.S.Western history, but also to ideas about what constitutes proper historiography more generally. From the outset, the New Western historians have attempted to negotiate...

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5. The Sociology of Racialized Crime

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pp. 114-145

Heralded as one of the most rigorous studies of race relations available, America in Black and White: One Nation Indivisible has won praise not only from conservative scholars who share its color-blind ethic, but also from more liberal thinkers, including Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who finds the book "essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the state...

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6. Genetic Liabilities and the Paradox of Altruism

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pp. 146-167

Since 1969 and the publication of Arthur Jensen's "How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement," no argument for a causal link between genes and racially defined IQ disparities has received more attention than Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray's The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. Given that Herrnstein and...

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Conclusion

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pp. 168-176

Inasmuch as claiming and representing injury is a thoroughly rhetorical endeavor, it follows that witnessing as an activity is intimately related to the problematics explored over the course of this book. Consider, for instance, the debate that was generated in response to the events dubbed "the casino child murder" by the national media.1 On May 25,...

Notes

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pp. 177-194

Works Cited

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pp. 195-205

Index

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pp. 207-213

About the Author

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pp. 214-


E-ISBN-13: 9780814733332
E-ISBN-10: 0814733336
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814731444
Print-ISBN-10: 0814731449

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2001

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Racism -- United States -- Historiography.
  • Discourse analysis, Narrative.
  • United States -- Race relations.
  • Minorities -- United States -- Social conditions.
  • Hate speech -- United States.
  • Narration (Rhetoric).
  • Minorities -- United States -- Social conditions -- Historiography.
  • United States -- Race relations -- Historiography.
  • Racism -- United States.
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