American Dream in Black and White: The Clarence Thomas Hearings / Edition 1

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Overview

The transcripts of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Clarence Thomas are extraordinarily rich and suggestive. Much has been written about the hearings, but until now no one has paid close attention to the actual language of the participants. Revisiting the words of Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, Jane Flax asks what we would learn about American politics if these hearings were, literally, our only text. How does our legal and judicial system operate in the face of sexual issues? Can it ever transcend race and gender? Who was the real victim in these hearings - Hill, Thomas, the Senate, or the viewing public? Who in America has the power to make political meaning? Rather than attempting to establish fact or truth, The American Dream in Black and White looks at the political narrative by which our nation makes sense of itself.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Flax closely examines the use of language and narrative and the resulting variety of interpretations. . . . This is an important . . . treatment of the Thomas hearings."—Library Journal

"For those inclined to see the activity in Congress surrounding the impeachment of President Clinton as rather surreal, I highly recommend the reading of The American Dream in Black and White. . . . It is an interesting, thoughtful, and provocative analysis."—Gayle Binion, Law and Politics Book Review

"This book advances a much needed discussion beyond feminism and identity politics for black women and, presumably, for women of color generally. . . . The reader is immediately engaged by Flax's dramatic narrative account of the Thomas hearings transcripts. . . . Flax writes like a very accessible postmodern critic."—Naomi Zack, NWSA Journal. Summer 2000.

"The Senate confirmation hearings offer us an extraordinarily rich text on race, gender, class, law, and spectacle. Jane Flax's book is the most ambitious examination to date of those transcripts. Her detailed and thoroughly persuasive book will give readers a more thoughtful view of the hearings as well as a better understanding of the structures and fissures in American politics."—Anne Norton, University of Pennsylvania

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801485619
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: American Dilemmas and the American Dream 1
Ch. 1 American Dream or Nightmare? Horatio Alger and Race(d) Men 14
Ch. 2 The Male/Africanist Presence: Senatorial Representations 31
Ch. 3 The Female/Africanist Presence: Male Bonding in Contemporary American Politics 49
Ch. 4 Whose Hearing? Sexual Harassment and the Female Tease 69
Ch. 5 The Horror of Blackness: Sleaze, Dirt, and Female Traitors 83
Ch. 6 "At Least McCarthy Was Elected": Fraternal Reconciliation 94
Ch. 7 "This Is All Shakespeare": Doggett and the Transformation of Tragedy into Farce 114
Ch. 8 Why Race/Gender Domination Persists: The Necessary Failures of Abstract Individualism and Identity Politics 126
Bibliography 148
Notes 156
Index 165
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