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At Home and Abroad

Historicizing Twentieth-Century Whiteness in Literature and Performance

Edited by La Vinia Delois Jennings

Publication Year: 2009

Featuring new critical essays by scholars from Europe, South America, and the United States, At Home and Abroad presents a wide-ranging look at how whiteness-defined in terms of race or ethnicity-forms a category toward which people strive in order to gain power and privilege. Collectively these pieces treat global spaces whose nation building and identity formation have turned on biological and genealogical exigencies to whiten themselves. Drawing upon racialized, national practices implemented prior to and during the twentieth century, each of the essays enlists literature or performance to reflect the sociopolitical imperatives that secured whiteness in the respective locations they study. They range from examinations of whiteness in the literature of Appalachia and contemporary Argentinean poetry to an analysis of performances memorializing the colonial experience in Italy and an exploration into the white rap music of Eminem and contemporary multiracial passing. As the contributors show, literary and performance representations have the power to chronicle histories that reflect the behaviors and lived realities of our selves. Whether whiteness, in addition to its physical manifestation, presents itself as identity, symbol, racism, culture, social formation, political imposition, legal imposition, or pathology, it has been outed into the visible, even in national spaces where the term “whiteness” has yet to be translated and entered into the official lexicon. The ten essays collected here provide powerful insights into where and how the race for biological and genealogical whiteness persists in various geopolitical realms and the ways in which Nordic whites, as well as ethnic whites and nonwhites, resecure its ascendance.

Published by: The University of Tennessee Press


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pp. ix-x

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Introduction: The Race for Whiteness in the Twentieth Century / La Vinia Delois Jennings

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pp. xi-xxviii

The concluding remarks of President William Jefferson Clinton at his last state of the union address before a joint session of the U.S. Congress concerning all peoples’ genetic sameness and common humanity capped a millennium and a century that had begun with escalating anxieties about perceptions ...

I. Literature

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Argentina White / Amy Kaminsky

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pp. 1-28

Not entirely unlike Columbia Red, Mexican Brown, and Acapulco Gold, which find their primary buyers in the United States and Europe, Argentina White is a Latin American product marketed and sold to the industrialized nations of the North ...

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A Dream of a White Vienna after World War I: Hugo Bettauer’s The City without Jews and The Blue Stain / Peter Höyng

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pp. 29-60

Four years after the end of World War I, the then-popular Austrian journalist and author Hugo Bettauer (1872–1925) published two novels in which racist ideologies in Vienna are put to the test. Bettauer utilizes satirical means in Die Stadt ohne Juden (The City Without Jews, 1922) to prove that anti-Semitism in ...

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From “Yélida” to Movimiento de Mujeres Dominico-Haitianas: Gendering Resistance to Whiteness in the Dominican Republic / Dawn Duke

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pp. 61-92

While there are no direct and visible links between Tomás Hernández Franco’s celebrated poem “Yélida” (1942) and Movimiento de Mujeres Dominico-Haitianas (MUDHA), the grass-roots movement and organization for Dominican-Haitian women, there are definite connections between literary representation ...

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Romancing Whiteness: Popular Appalachian Fiction and the Imperialist Imagination at the Turns of Two Centuries / Emily Satterwhite

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pp. 93-118

Appalachia, a region of the United States often understood as coterminous with the southern portion of the Appalachian mountain range, has served as both a symbol of quintessential American whiteness and as a proxy for understanding and managing “group-based difference.” 1 In the geographical imagination...

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The Threat to Whiteness: White Women’s Marital Betrayals in Colonial Settings / Suzanne Leonard

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pp. 119-144

The role of the white woman, and specifically the white wife as the cultural standard-bearer of her respective nation and protector/ reproducer of the white race, has been tacitly fixed in the psyches of whites and nonwhites since the nineteenth century. But ...

II. Performance

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The Suspect Whiteness of Spain / Baltasar Fra-Molinero

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pp. 147-170

With Spain’s conquest of America in the sixteenth century and the extension of its military presence in the Netherlands and Italy, a political campaign in the presses of northern European countries against the legitimacy of the Iberian hegemony took the form of anti-Spanish political propaganda. One ...

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The Myth of Whiteness and a Changing Italy: Historic Memory and Colonialist Attitudes in Lamerica / Renée D’Elia-Zunino

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pp. 171-196

A myth is defined as a story that is passed on from generation to generation; it tells how things were and how they continue to be. A myth does not really explain, or give motivation, but simply establishes. As the Oxford English Dictionary defines it, myth is a ...

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“Claiming”: White Ambition, Multiracial Identity, and the New American Racial Passing / Meredith McCarroll

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pp. 197-220

In The Chronicles of Riddick, protagonist Richard Riddick, played by multiracial actor Vin Diesel, roams his science fiction universe as a cultural anomaly. He does not belong to any of the stable ethnic communities in which individual inclusion is based upon a shared geography, physicality, and belief. His ...

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Beyond the White Negro: Eminem, Danny Hoch, and Race Treason in Contemporary America / Kimberly Chabot Davis

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pp. 221-254

In the fifty years since Norman Mailer coined the term “white Negro,” whites who ventriloquize African-American culture have been a frequent target for derision among left-leaning academics and cultural critics. Derision was clearly warranted in the case of Mailer’s Beat generation hipsters, who idealized...

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Stalling Zion: Hegemony, Whiteness, and Racial Discourse in the Matrix Phenomenon / Douglas A. Cunningham

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pp. 255-284

In The Matrix (1999), cybernetic resistance leader Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), a black man, endures Agent interrogation within the computer-generated reality called the Matrix. During his interrogation, a computer-generated white man, Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), explains to him that the first...


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pp. 285-288


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pp. 289-305

E-ISBN-13: 9781572337442
E-ISBN-10: 1572337443
Print-ISBN-13: 9781572336568
Print-ISBN-10: 1572336560

Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 3 halftones
Publication Year: 2009