Race and Affluence: An Archaeology of African America and Consumer Culture / Edition 1

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Overview

An archaeological analysis of the centrality of race and racism in American culture. Using a broad range of material, historical, and ethnographic resources from Annapolis, Maryland, during the period 1850 to 1930, the author probes distinctive African-American consumption patterns and examines how those patterns resisted the racist assumptions of the dominant culture while also attempting to demonstrate African-Americans' suitability to full citizenship privileges.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Crossing the many studies of the rise of racial ideology and its impact from the middle 19th century well into the 20th, with the many studies of the rise of consumer culture and mass advertising over the same period, Mullins (George Mason U.) investigates how consumer culture was fundamentally structured by race and racism. He argues that race was a social mechanism that ensured that emergent mass markets, public discourses, and economics were never utterly egalitarian, classless, or blind to ethnic and social distinction. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
'The book is a good example of the fruits an interdisciplinary approach can bear, for the author mixes very skillfully documents, oral testimony, photographs, and material evidence. Mullins is also keen to draw on anthropology, sociology, semiotics, history, and philosophy, not restricting himself to archaeology, and the result is clearly worth of praise... Most importantly, though, is his commitment to write a specific people's history...'
Historical Archaeology, 34:2
'...his work is rigorous, well-founded historically, and carefully considered theoretically. ...successfully brought together archaeology, history, and social theory and applied them to a critically important contemporary issue. This is a fine piece of scholarship that marks a major step forward in the maturation of historical archaeology. Race and Affluence should be an obvious choice for a variety of courses on history, historical archaeology, and anthropological theory. For this research, Mullins was given the 2000 John J. Cotter Award by the Society for Historical Archaeology.'
Journal of Anthropological Research, 56 (2000)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

1. Racializing Consumer Culture. Racism and Consumption in Annapolis, Maryland. Archaeology and African-American Annapolis. 'If We Were Black': The Politics of Naming. Race and Consumption. 2. The Politicization and Politics of African-American Consumption. Partisan Politics and African-American Material Politicization. Politicizing Consumer Culture: The Politics of Consumption, or the Consumption of Politics? Material Symbolism, Social Subjectivity, and Consumer Agency. Complicating Social Position: Conscious Experience and Dominant Structure. Racialization and Subjectivity in Consumer Culture. 3. Material and Symbolic Racism in Consumer Space. Black Simulacra: Advertising Racial Difference. Patent Medicines and African-American Body Discipline. 'I Left There an Innocent Man': Racism and White Public Space. Race and Racism as Constraining and Enabling. 4. 'Producers as Well as Consumers': Market Space in African-American Annapolis. 'What Can Be Done by the Negro': African-American Entrepreneurship. African-American Marketing in Jim Crow Annapolis. African-American Consumers and Jewish Merchants. Chain and Corner Stores. African-American Consumer Discipline. 5. Moralizing Work and Materialism: The Morals of African-American Labor and Consumption. The Work Ethic and African-American Subjectivity. Wage Slavery: Labor and Material Opportunity in Annapolis. Constructing Genteel Consumers. Moralizing Discourses and Social Struggle. 6. Modes of Consumption: African-American Consumption Tactics. 'What a Race They Are!': Racializing Domestic Labor. Domestic Labor and the Movement of Goods. Ceramics and Communal Reciprocity. Tactical Mediations. 7. Affluent Aspiration: African-American Consumer Desire. 'It Is Your Duty to Live Well': Democratizing Materialism. 'To Live is to Consume!': Consumption as Empowerment. National Markets and African-American Consumers. Racializing Thrift. Aspiration and African-American Consumption. 8. Double Consciousness, Whiteness, and Consumer Culture. References. Index.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2004

    Review from Historical Archaeology, 34:2

    `The book is a good example of the fruits an interdisciplinary approach can bear, for the author mixes very skillfully documents, oral testimony, photographs, and material evidence. Mullins is also keen to draw on anthropology, sociology, semiotics, history, and philosophy, not restricting himself to archaeology, and the result is clearly worth of praise... Most importantly, though, is his commitment to write a specific people's history...'

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