Abstract

Nella Larsen’s Passing can be seen as a critique of early-twentieth-century eugenic ideology. Race, class, gender, and sexual binaries were mutually constituted in eugenic ideology and practices of the period and, therefore, cannot be separated or hierarchically ranked in any analysis of the character Clare Kendry. Clare challenges these identity binaries by attempting to not simply cross over them, but to live on both sides of them. The both/and nature of her actions and desires makes Clare a trans- figure, one who passes over, across, within and between categories, thereby defying and critiquing the eugenic ideological notion that identity categories are discrete, natural, and fixed.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 148-161
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-26
Open Access
No
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