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Race, Labor, and Sugar in the Age of Emancipation
How did thousands of Chinese migrants end up working alongside African Americans in Louisiana after the Civil War? With the stories of these workers, Coolies and Cane advances an interpretation of emancipation that moves beyond U.S. borders and the black-white racial dynamic. Tracing American ideas of Asian labor to the sugar plantations of the Caribbean, Moon-Ho Jung argues that the racial formation of "coolies" in American culture and law played a pivotal role in reconstructing concepts of race, nation, and citizenship in the United States. Jung examines how coolies appeared in major U.S. political debates on race, labor, and immigration between the 1830s and 1880s. He finds that racial notions of coolies were articulated in many, often contradictory, ways. They could mark the progress of freedom; they could also symbolize the barbarism of slavery. Welcomed and rejected as neither black nor white, coolies emerged recurrently as both the salvation of the fracturing and reuniting nation and the scourge of American civilization. Based on extensive archival research, this study makes sense of these contradictions to reveal how American impulses to recruit and exclude coolies enabled and justified a series of historical transitions: from slave-trade laws to racially coded immigration laws, from a slaveholding nation to a "nation of immigrants," and from a continental empire of manifest destiny to a liberating empire across the seas. Combining political, cultural, and social history, Coolies and Cane is a compelling study of race, Reconstruction, and Asian American history.
This biography examines the life of Cornelia James Cannon (1876-1969), a Radcliffe graduate, wife of a prominent Harvard professor, and mother of five who became a prolific writer and "all-purpose reformer," in the words of her son-in-law, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. In addition to writing eight novels, Cannon published dozens of essays during the 1920s and 1930s on a broad range of controversial topics. She advocated on behalf of women's rights, birth control, and public education and wrote provocative essays on immigration policy, welfare reform, and eugenics. According to Maria I. Diedrich, it was the last of these concerns, Cannon's interest in what she and her husband called "the future of the race"—a term conflating ideas of class, race, and ethnicity—that inspired many of her varied reform activities. From the vantage point of today it may seem hard to understand how a social reformer and outspoken feminist could also embrace eugenicist principles. Yet, in the context of the time such views were not uncommon among progressive thinkers. Far from being an extremist or even exceptional, Cornelia James Cannon was a woman representative of her social class and historical moment. By disentangling the threads of Cannon's life and thought, Diedrich seeks to shed light on the experiences of other progressive reformers of the interwar years whose interest in social justice often went hand in hand with racially exclusive notions of Americanness.
The Judicial Odyssey of Texas Freedwoman Azeline Hearne
For many of the forty years of her life as a slave, Azeline Hearne cohabitated with her wealthy, unmarried master, Samuel R. Hearne. She bore him four children, only one of whom survived past early childhood. When Sam died shortly after the Civil War ended, he publicly acknowledged his relationship with Azeline and bequeathed his entire estate to their twenty-year-old mulatto son, with the provision that he take care of his mother. When their son died early in 1868, Azeline inherited one of the most profitable cotton plantations in Texas and became one of the wealthiest ex-slaves in the former Confederacy. In Counterfeit Justice, Dale Baum traces Azeline’s remarkable story, detailing her ongoing legal battles to claim and maintain her legacy. As Baum shows, Azeline’s inheritance quickly made her a target for predatory whites determined to strip her of her land. A familiar figure at the Robertson County District Court from the late 1860s to the early 1880s, Azeline faced numerous lawsuits—including one filed against her by her own lawyer. Samuel Hearne’s family took steps to dispossess her, and other unscrupulous white men challenged the title to her plantation, using claims based on old Spanish land grants. Azeline’s prolonged and courageous defense of her rightful title brought her a certain notoriety: the first freedwoman to be a party to three separate civil lawsuits appealed all the way to the Texas Supreme Court and the first former slave in Robertson County indicted on criminal charges of perjury. Although repeatedly blocked and frustrated by the convolutions of the legal system, she evolved from a bewildered defendant to a determined plaintiff who, in one extraordinary lawsuit, came tantalizingly close to achieving revenge against those who defrauded her for over a decade. Due to gaps in the available historical record and the unreliability of secondary accounts based on local Reconstruction folklore, many of the details of Azeline’s story are lost to history. But Baum grounds his speculation about her life in recent scholarship on the Reconstruction era, and he puts his findings in context in the history of Robertson County. Although history has not credited Azeline Hearne with influencing the course of the law, the story of her uniquely difficult position after the Civil War gives an unprecedented view of the era and of one solitary woman’s attempt to negotiate its social and legal complexities in her struggle to find justice. Baum’s meticulously researched narrative will be of keen interest to legal scholars and to all those interested in the plight of freed slaves during this era.
Race, Reason, and the Politics of Purity
How does our understanding of the reality (or lack thereof ) of race as a category of being affect our understanding of racism as a social phenomenon, and vice versa? How should we envision the aims andmethods of our struggles against racism? Traditionally, the Western political and philosophical tradition held that true social justice points toward a raceless future-that racial categories are themselves inherently racist, and a sincere advocacy for social justice requires a commitment to the elimination or abolition of race altogether. This book focuses on the underlying assumptions that inform this view of race and racism, arguing that it is ultimately bound up in a politics of purity-an understanding of human agency, and reality itself, as requiring all-or-nothing categories with clear and unambiguous boundaries. Racism, being organized around a conception of whiteness as the purest manifestation of the human, thus demands a constant policing of the boundaries among racialcategories.Drawing upon a close engagement with historical treatments of the development of racial categories and identities, the book argues that races should be understood not as clear and distinct categories of being but rather as ambiguous and indeterminate (yet importantly real) processes of social negotiation. As one of its central examples, it lays out the case of the Irish in seventeenth-century Barbados, who occasionallyunited with black slaves to fight white supremacy-and did so as white people, not as nonwhites who later became white when they capitulated to white supremacy.Against the politics of purity, Monahan calls for the emergence of a creolizing subjectivitythat would place such ambiguity at the center of our understanding of race. The Creolizing Subject takes seriously the way in which racial categories, in all of their variety and ambiguity, situate and condition our identity, while emphasizing our capacity, as agents, to engage in the ongoing contestation and negotiation of the meaningand significance of those very categories.
Vol. 1 (2013) through current issue
Critical Philosophy of Race will examine issues raised by the concept of race, the practices and mechanisms of racialization, and the persistence of various forms of racism across the world. It opposes racism in all forms; it rejects the pseudosciences of old-fashioned biological racialism; it denies that anti-racism and anti-racialism summarily eliminate race as a meaningful category of analysis. The journal is sponsored by the Rock Ethics Institute at The Pennsylvania State University.
A Study of Race, Rhetoric and Injury
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.
Focusing in particular on the practice and theorization of narrative strategies, Gutiérrez-Jones engages many of the most influential texts in the recent race debates
Research from the Mexican Migration Project
Discussion of Mexican migration to the United States is often infused with ideological rhetoric, untested theories, and few facts. In Crossing the Border, editors Jorge Durand and Douglas Massey bring the clarity of scientific analysis to this hotly contested but under-researched topic. Leading immigration scholars use data from the Mexican Migration Project—the largest, most comprehensive, and reliable source of data on Mexican immigrants currently available—to answer such important questions as: Who are the people that migrate to the United States from Mexico? Why do they come? How effective is U.S. migration policy in meeting its objectives? Crossing the Border dispels two primary myths about Mexican migration: First, that those who come to the United States are predominantly impoverished and intend to settle here permanently, and second, that the only way to keep them out is with stricter border enforcement. Nadia Flores, Rubén Hernández-León, and Douglas Massey show that Mexican migrants are generally not destitute but in fact cross the border because the higher comparative wages in the United States help them to finance homes back in Mexico, where limited credit opportunities makes it difficult for them to purchase housing. William Kandel’s chapter on immigrant agricultural workers debunks the myth that these laborers are part of a shadowy, underground population that sponges off of social services. In contrast, he finds that most Mexican agricultural workers in the United States are paid by check and not under the table. These workers pay their fair share in U.S. taxes and—despite high rates of eligibility—they rarely utilize welfare programs. Research from the project also indicates that heightened border surveillance is an ineffective strategy to reduce the immigrant population. Pia Orrenius demonstrates that strict barriers at popular border crossings have not kept migrants from entering the United States, but rather have prompted them to seek out other crossing points. Belinda Reyes uses statistical models and qualitative interviews to show that the militarization of the Mexican border has actually kept immigrants who want to return to Mexico from doing so by making them fear that if they leave they will not be able to get back into the United States. By replacing anecdotal and speculative evidence with concrete data, Crossing the Border paints a picture of Mexican immigration to the United States that defies the common knowledge. It portrays a group of committed workers, doing what they can to realize the dream of home ownership in the absence of financing opportunities, and a broken immigration system that tries to keep migrants out of this country, but instead has kept them from leaving.
The Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta after World War II
Weaving national narratives from stories of the daily lives and familiar places of local residents, Françoise Hamlin chronicles the slow struggle for black freedom through the history of Clarksdale, Mississippi. Hamlin paints a full picture of the town over fifty years, recognizing the accomplishments of its diverse African American community and strong NAACP branch, and examining the extreme brutality of entrenched power there. The Clarksdale story defies triumphant narratives of dramatic change, and presents instead a layered, contentious, untidy, and often disappointingly unresolved civil rights movement.
Battles of Literacy and Schooling between Mainstream Teachers and Asian Immigrant Parents
The voices of teachers, parents, and students create a compelling ethnographic study that examines the debate between traditional and progressive pedagogies in literacy education and the mismatch of cross-cultural discourses between mainstream schools and Asian families. This book focuses on a Vancouver suburb where the Chinese population has surpassed the white community numerically and socioeconomically, but not politically, and where the author uncovers disturbing cultural conflicts, educational dissensions, and “silent” power struggles between school and home. What Guofang Li reveals illustrates the challenges of teaching and learning in an increasingly complex educational landscape in which literacy, culture, race, and social class intertwine. Advocating for a greater cultural understanding of minority beliefs in literacy education and a more critical examination of mainstream instructional practices, Li offers a new theoretical framework and critical recommendations for teachers, schools, and parents.
White Mothers, International Adoption, and the Negotiation of Family Difference
Since the early 1990s, close to 250,000 children born abroad have been adopted into the United States. Nearly half of these children have come from China or Russia. Culture Keeping: White Mothers, International Adoption, and the Negotiation of Family Difference offers the first comparative analysis of these two popular adoption programs. Heather Jacobson examines these adoptions by focusing on a relatively new social phenomenon, the practice by international adoptive parents, mothers in particular, of incorporating aspects of their children's cultures of origin into their families' lives. “Culture keeping” is now standard in the adoption world, though few adoptive parents, the majority of whom are white and native-born, have experience with the ethnic practices of their children's homelands prior to adopting. Jacobson follows white adoptive mothers as they navigate culture keeping: from their motivations, to the pressures and constraints they face, to the content of their actual practices concerning names, food, toys, travel, cultural events, and communities of belonging. Through her interviews, she explores how women think about their children, their families, and themselves as mothers as they labor to construct or resist ethnic identities for their children, who may be perceived as birth children (because they are white) or who may be perceived as adopted (because of racial difference). The choices these women make about culture, Jacobson argues, offer a window into dominant ideas of race and the “American Family,” and into how social differences are conceived and negotiated in the United States.