Postracial America?

Postracial America?
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An Interdisciplinary Study
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Vincent L. Stephens
The Griot Project Book Series
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Postracial America? argues that the notion of “postracial” does not begin with the election of Barack Obama, nor will it end with his administration. The “postracial” is an expression of the protean nature of white supremacy in America, and the articles collected here demonstrate the variations of this seemingly innocuous and salutary expression.
The concept of a “postracial” America —the dream of a nation beyond race — has attracted much attention over the course of the presidency of Barack Obama, suggesting that this idea is peculiar to the contemporary moment alone. Postracial America? An Interdisciplinary Study attempts to broaden the application of this idea by situating it in contexts that demonstrate how the idea of the postracial has been with America since its founding and will continue to be long after the Obama administration’s term ends. The chapters in this volume explore the idea of the postracial in the United States through a variety of critical lenses, including film studies; literature; aesthetics and conceptual thinking; politics; media representations; race in relation to gender, identity, and sexuality; and personal experiences. Through this diverse interdisciplinary exploration, this collection skeptically weighs the implications of holding up a postracial culture as an admirable goal for the United States.
List of Illustrations


Foreword byCarmen Gillespie

Introduction: The Postracial—The General and the ParticularsbyVincent Stephens and Anthony Stewart

Part I. Whose Ideal? The History and the Fiction of Postraciality

Chapter 1: Frederick Douglass Confronts the Post-Slavery Argument: Regarding Some Origins of the Postracial Idea byÉva Tettenborn

Chapter 2: Black Is Red All Over Again: The Returns of Cold War Anticommunist Rhetoricby James Zeigler

Chapter 3: College Students Counter the Postracial Narrative by Mary Jo McCloskey

Chapter 4: The Death of Race: Living Posthumously in a Postracial Societyby Whitney Shepard

Chapter 5: Against “Lynch Law” in the Age of Extrajudicial Killing and War Crimes by Spring Ulmer

Part II. Applying and Misapplying the Postracial

Chapter 6: Are We the “Future Americans”? Charles Chesnutt Anticipates a Postracial American Society by Cherise A. Pollard

Chapter 7: The Desire for the End of Race: Barthes, Everett, and the Belief in the Postracialby Anthony Stewart

Chapter 8: Guns on the Border of Black and Queer: Firearms and Redemption Schemes in Tarantino’s Pulp Fictionby Joshua Brewer

Chapter 9: Postracism in Heidi W. Durrow’s The Girl Who Fell from the Sky: Racial Identity and the New Universal Subjectby Márcia C. Agustini



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