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Race Consciousness: Reinterpretations for the New Century

JUDITH JACKSON FOSSETT
JEFFREY A. TUCKER
Copyright Date: 1997
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 292
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qg40k
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    Race Consciousness
    Book Description:

    Bringing together an impressive range of new scholarship deeply informed both by the legacies of the past and current intellectual trends, Race Consciousness is a veritable Who's Who of the next generation of scholars of African-American studies. This collection of original essays, representing the latest work in African-American studies, covers such trenchant topics as the culture of America as a culture of race, the politics of gender and sexuality, legacies of slavery and colonialism, crime and welfare politics, and African-American cultural studies. In his entertaining Foreword to the volume, Robin D. G. Kelley presents a startling vision of the state of African-American Studies--and the world in general--in the year 2095. Arnold Rampersad and Nell Irvin Painter, chart the different disciplinary and theoretical paths African-American Studies has taken since the 19th century in their Preface to the volume.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-2810-9
    Subjects: Sociology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. FOREWORD: AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES ENTERS THE NEW CENTURY (pp. ix-xii)
    NELL IRVIN PAINTER and ARNOLD RAMPERSAD

    Who knows what will happen to African-American Studies in the new century? The twentieth century witnessed the extraordinary flourishing of a field of study that began small. In the nineteenth century it arose mainly to deny racist dogma that was contemptuous of people of African descent and envisioned us as fit primarily for forced, uncompensated labor. Sad to say, after all these years, books, and scholars, such ideas persist among a large section of the population. African-American Studies, still bearing the burden of vindicating the race—to use a nineteenth-century formulation—is still very much engaged scholarship, at least for...

  4. PREFACE: IN MEDIAS RACE (pp. xiii-xviii)
    JUDITH JACKSON FOSSETT and JEFFREY A. TUCKER
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (pp. xix-xx)
  6. CONTRIBUTORS (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. 1 INTRODUCTION: LOOKING B(L)ACKWARD: AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES IN THE AGE OF IDENTITY POLITICS (pp. 1-16)
    ROBIN D. G. KELLEY

    “Don’t try to speak. If you can hear me, blink your eyes.” The voice was faint but distinctive. Obviously a mature, learned man, though in the flood of bright lights he was little more than a brown silhouette.“Where am I? Who are you?” I asked, trying desperately to gather my bearings and sound intelligible.

    “You’re at University Hospital. How are you feeling?”

    “I feel fine. What am I doing in a hospital? I’m perfectly healthy.” It was true; I felt very good, indeed, as if I’d been vacationing in the Caribbean for three solid months. Given my usual pace, it...

  8. I. SPECTERS OF RACE:: THE CULTURE OF AMERICA AS A CULTURE OF RACE
    • 2 “WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?” W. E. B. DU BOIS AND THE LANGUAGE OF THE COLOR-LINE (pp. 19-34)
      GAVIN JONES

      Between the end of the American Civil War and the beginning of the twentieth century, the understanding of black language became a fundamental part of debates concerning both the subjectivity of African Americans and their cultural influence on the American South and the American nation in general. As we head into a new century these same concerns, in a transfigured form, remain central to the fields of American and African-American Studies. Recent works by Eric Sundquist, Shelley Fishkin, Eric Lott, and Michael North have focused on the language of American culture while pursuing the Ellisonian project of demonstrating the interrelatedness...

    • 3 (K)NIGHT RIDERS IN (K)NIGHT GOWNS: THE KU KLUX KLAN, RACE, AND CONSTRUCTIONS OF MASCULINITY (pp. 35-49)
      JUDITH JACKSON FOSSETT

      Decked out in his white robe and mask, spewing white supremacist platitudes during a guest appearance on Geraldo Rivera’s talk show, the figure of the hypothetical 1990s member of the Ku Klux Klan may still shock an otherwise rational, even liberal American sensibility. But the Klan member who helped orchestrate racial, ethnic, and religious terrorism against thousands of victims during much of the twentieth century (and still continues to do so) now spars rhetorically with a studio audience, flexing his muscles of hate for shock value, for show, and for his limousine ride through New York City. It would seem...

    • 4 BLACKNESS ’SCUZED: JIMI HENDRIX’S (IN)VISIBLE LEGACY IN HEAVY METAL (pp. 50-64)
      JEREMY WELLS

      Musicologist Arnold Shaw’sDictionary of American Pop/Rockdefines Chuck Berry as “the poet laureate of Teenage Rock.”¹ It denotes John Lennon as “the most outspoken [Beatle], evincing a sardonic wit that marked many of the songs he . . . wrote in the sixties.”² It even finds words to define Bob Dylan: a “gifted, influential, and highly publicized”figure whose “lyrics took on the trappings of poetry.”³ But when it comes to Jimi Hendrix, the dictionary does not even attempt a definition—though what it offers instead is more revealing than any definition could hope to be. The entry for Hendrix...

  9. II. HISTORICAL (RE)VISIONS:: LEGACIES OF SLAVERY AND COLONIALISM
    • 5 UNDER ONE ROOF: THE SINS AND SANCTITY OF THE NEW ORLEANS QUADROON BALLS (pp. 67-92)
      MONIQUE GUILLORY

      Somewhere in the oldest part of New Orleans, there is a woman in a fraying ball gown. With the posture of a cigar store Indian, she beckons from the doorway of a nightclub and smiles demurely at passersby. Across the street, in one of many souvenir shops, a menagerie of kerchiefed mammy dolls grin dumbly through the pane. And farther down the street, it does not take long to find a Confederate flag tacked to the back of a pickup truck or hanging ominously from a French Quarter terrace.

      The city of New Orleans is saturated with these historic markers....

    • 6 TRAUMATIC REPETITION: GAYL JONES’S CORREGIDORA (pp. 93-112)
      BRUCE SIMON

      Is the contemporary compulsion to repeat the haunting story of slavery, as Hazel Carby would have it, testimony to the past’s continuing possession of African-American writers, critics, and theorists, in the form of an “ideology of the folk”?¹ Or is it an attempt to master the past, as Deborah McDowell suggests, to recover the traces of agency erased from or misrepresented by the dominant historical record?² Is repetition compulsion another form of enslavement or a means of liberation? Or is it completely other? Nowhere are these questions more urgently posed than in Gayl Jones’sCorregidora,a chilling and powerful historical...

  10. III. RACE(D)MEN AND RACE(D) WOMEN:: AFRICAN-AMERICAN CULTURAL STUDIES
    • 7 EXODUS AND THE POLITICS OF NATION (pp. 115-135)
      EDDIE S. GLAUDE JR.

      No other story in the Bible has captured the imagination of African-American Christians the way Exodus has. The story’s account of bondage, the trials of the Wilderness, and the final entrance into the Promised Land resonated within the hearts and minds of those who had experienced the hardships of chattel slavery and racial discrimination. Moreover, the story demonstrated the deeds of a God active in history, a “God who lifted up and cast down nations and peoples, a God whose sovereign will was directing all things toward an ultimate end, drawing good out of evil.”¹ The Exodus story, in some...

    • 8 “CAN SCIENCE SUCCEED WHERE THE CIVIL WAR FAILED?” GEORGE S. SCHUYLER AND RACE (pp. 136-152)
      JEFFREY A. TUCKER

      The last two decades have seen much attention paid to a peculiar phenomenon in African-American culture and politics that has frequently been referred to as the “new black conservatism.” The critical attention paid to the publication of works such as economist Thomas Sowell’sEconomics and Politics of Race(1983), cultural critic Shelby Steele’sContent of Our Character(1990), law professor Stephen Carter’sReflections of an Affirmative Action Baby(1991), as well as other works by law professor Randall Kennedy and cultural critic Stanley Crouch, have put black conservatism on the intellectual map. And the 1991 appointment of Clarence Thomas to...

    • 9 HANGING ON THEIR WALLS: AN ART COMMENTARY ON LYNCHING, THE FORGOTTEN 1935 ART EXHIBITION (pp. 153-176)
      MARGARET ROSE VENDRYES

      Countless art exhibitions have been held in New York City in any given year since the second decade of the twentieth century, when the metropolis began to claim its place as art capital of the world. But before 1935, no gallery had hosted an exhibition specific to issues concerning African-American men. With the opening ofAn Art Commentary on Lynchingthat year, art became, for the first time, an experimental vehicle for countering negative attitudes toward black men. An orchestrated effort of this caliber would not be seen again in New York City until 1994, when the Whitney Museum of...

    • 10 THE SOLES OF BLACK FOLK: THESE REEBOKS WERE MADE FOR RUNNIN’ (FROM THE WHITE MAN) (pp. 177-190)
      JOHN L. JACKSON JR.

      This essay is an attempt beyond myself, outside myself: a trying out of new techniques (“new” for me, at least), new “voices.” It is an excerpt from an ethnography (of sorts) on Crown Heights, where I live, and on the folks who live there with me. But it is not a writing about all of Crown Heights and may not even be, in the final analysis, about any of it. It is more about “the State” in (and of) Crown Heights, about the ways that “State” is thought about and talked about by a few of the people who call...

  11. IV. CRACKING THE CODE:: EXPOSING THE NATION’S RACIAL NEUROSES
    • 11 WHY GINGRICH? WELFARE RIGHTS AND RACIAL POLITICS, 1965-1995 (pp. 193-207)
      FELICIA A. KORNBLUH

      Briefly, let me explain how I arrived at the topic of this essay. I am writing a study of the welfare rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s and legal efforts to codify a right to welfare in the United States. The movement for welfare rights was a loosely federated organizing effort among recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (since 1935, AFDC has been the primary welfare program for unmarried, divorced, or separated mothers and their children) and other public assistance programs.¹ Most of the activists were African-American or Puerto Rican; about half lived in New York City.²...

    • 12 CRIMINALITY AND CITIZENSHIP: IMPLICATING THE WHITE NATION (pp. 208-226)
      KAREN HO and WENDE ELIZABETH MARSHALL

      One hundred years ago, racial separation, stratification, and white supremacy were the de jure and de facto laws and customs of the land. The struggle to undo these laws and enact new legislation toward the promise of greater equality has been one of the major political projects of the twentieth century. The significance of recent, implicitly pro-white federal and state legislation such as California’s Propositions 184 and 187, the various federal crime bills, soaring allocations to the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s Border Patrol, and the “War on Drugs” lies in their impact in sustaining and reinscribing limits to citizenship and...

    • 13 JIM CROW SCIENCE AND THE “NEGRO PROBLEM” IN THE OCCUPIED PHILIPPINES, 1898-1914 (pp. 227-246)
      PAUL KRAMER

      In 1901, William Freer landed at the port of Manila on the army transportMeade,ready to begin service as a school instructor in the newest outpost of the United States. “The sounds of the river and street life, the peculiar odors, the strange sights, were bewildering,” he wrote in 1906. “The clouted Chinese coolies laboring on the water-front, the Filipino boys swimming . . . the odd vehicles and emaciated ponies drawing them, Sikhs, Cingalese,—all these made up the most interesting medley I had ever seen. That day and the few immediately following I looked and lingered, and...

    • 14 BLACK POWER,WHITE FEAR: THE “NEGRO PROBLEM” IN LAWRENCE, KANSAS, 1960-1970 (pp. 247-262)
      RUSTY L. MONHOLLON

      Throughout the 1960s, Lawrence, a small community of forty-five thousand in northeast Kansas and home to the University of Kansas (KU), was racked by protests and demonstrations by students and civil rights activists. For more than a decade, Lawrencians agitating for civil rights, for more control over their personal lives, and against the war in Vietnam clashed with the rigid and at times hostile response of those opposed to their desires, creating tension in the town. Through their frequent sit-ins, marches, and vigils, many young Kansans, like their peers across the country, expressed their disenchantment with American society. Responding to...

  12. INDEX (pp. 263-268)
  13. Back Matter (pp. 269-269)