Race: The History of an Idea in America / Edition 2

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When Thomas Gossett's Race: The History of an Idea in America appeared in 1963, it explored the impact of race theory on American letters in a way that anticipated the investigation of race and culture being conducted today. Bold, rigorous, and broad in scope, Gossett's book quickly established itself as a critical resource to younger scholars seeking a candid, theoretically sophisticated treatment of race in American cultural history.

Here, reprinted without change, is Gossett's classic study, making available to a new generation of scholars a lucid, accessibly written volume that ranges from colonial race theory and its European antecedents, through eighteenth- and nineteenth- century race pseudoscience, to the racialist dimension of American thought and literature emerging against backgrounds such as Anglo- Saxonism, westward expansion, Social Darwinism, xenophobia, World War I, and modern racial theory.

Featuring a new afterword by the author, an introduction by series editors Shelley Fisher Fishkin and Arnold Rampersad, and a bibliographic essay by Maghan Keita, this indispensable book, whose first edition helped change the way scholars discussed race, will richly reward scholars of American Studies, American Literature, and African-American Studies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Out of print for too long, Gossett's Race is now restored to us just in time for today's readers of critical race theory, cultural studies, and African American Studies. A critical race theorist who always historicizes, Gossett traces the intellectual history of race as an American idea that travels both transnationally, through the circuits of racial science and empire, and across disciplines, from 18th and 19th-century anthropology to the study of language and literature. Gossett's material terrain extends from U. S. literary nationalism, to representations of the Indian in the nineteenth century, to World War I and racism, and concludes with a look at anti-racist counter-discourses in science, social movements, and expressive culture. A 1960s American Studies classic for cultural studies at the millennium, Race may just succeed in bringing U. S. cultural studies back to the future."--Susan Gilman, University of California, Berkeley

Library Journal
Gossett's benchmark title gets a facelift for the 1990s and beyond thanks to the inclusion of a new preface, foreword, and bibliographic essay by Gossett and other scholars. This remains "recommended for academic and public libraries" (LJ 4/1/64).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195097788
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/14/1997
  • Series: Race and American Culture Series
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 1,424,690
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas F. Gossett is Professor Emeritus of English at Wake Forest University

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Table of Contents

I. Early Race Theories 3
II. England's American Colonies and Race Theories 17
III. Eighteenth-Century Anthropology 32
IV. Nineteenth-Century Anthropology 54
V. The Teutonic Origins Theory 84
VI. The Study of Language and Literature 123
VII. Race and Social Darwinism 144
VIII. The Social Gospel and Race 176
IX. Literary Naturalism and Race 198
X. The Indian in the Nineteenth Century 228
XI. The Status of the Negro: 1865-1915 253
XII. Anti-Immigration Agitation: 1865-1915 287
XIII. Imperialism and the Anglo-Saxon 310
XIV. World War I and Racism 339
XV. Racism in the 1920s 370
XVI. The Scientific Revolt Against Racism 409
XVII. The Battle Against Prejudice 431
Notes 461
Bibliographic Essay 503
Index 511
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