Specter of Sex, The: Gendered Foundations of Racial Formation in the United States

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Genealogy of the formation of race and gender hierarchies in the U.S.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Grounding her analysis on wide-ranging secondary works, [Kitch] presents a concise vision of U.S. gender and racial interactions, particularly valuable for feminist studies courses.” — Journal of American History

“…[a] compelling and analytically rich book … this is a book that needed to be written, and is useful for any historical appreciation of racial and gendered ideology and inequalities in the US and intersectionality literature more broadly … Highly recommended.” — CHOICE

“This gracefully written synthesis of existing historical scholarship advances a position that both asserts distinction between ‘race’ and ‘gender’ as categories and privileges the gendered process of racial formation as key to understanding power and hierarchy in the United States. It is perfect for the classroom and will serve as a guide for theorists who need grounding in history. Compelling and provocative, this book will become a classic.” — Eileen Boris, coeditor of The Practice of U.S. Women’s History: Narratives, Intersections, and Dialogues

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781438427546
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 8/6/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 323
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sally L. Kitch is Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University. Her books include Higher Ground: From Utopianism to Realism in American Feminist Thought and Theory.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: The “Purloined Letter” of Gendered Race

Part I: Roots
As the Twig is Bent

1. “Women are a Huge Natural Calamity”: The Roots of Western Gender Ideology

2. The First Races in Society: Gendered Roots of Race Formation

3. Gendered Racial Institutions: World Slavery and Nationhood

Conclusion: From Gender to Race

Part II: Bodies
Whose Too, Too Solid Flesh?

4. The American “Body Shop”: Gendered Racial Formation in the Colonies and New Republic

5. Enslaved Bodies and Gendered Race

6. Sexual Projection and Race: Science, Politics, and Lust

Conclusion: Embodying Race

Part III: Blood
“Off Women Com Owre Manhed”

7. Defining, Measuring, and Ranking Racial Blood: The Ungendered Surface

8. Hardly Gender Neutral

9. Gendered Anti-Miscegenation: Laws and Their Interpretation

10. Preserving White Racial Blood: Rape Accusations and Motherhood

Conclusion: Miscegenation as Racial Reconciliation?

Part IV: Citizenship
“My Folks Fought for This Country”

11. What is Citizenship?: Gender and Race

12. Engendering Citizenship: Dependency and Sex

13. “No Can Do” Men and Their Others: Dependency and Inappropriate Gender

14. Mixed Race, Suspect Gender: Both White and . . . Whatever

Conclusion: Homosexual Citizenship: A Gendered Racial Oxymoron

Part V: Implications
Patterns for a New Bridge

15. Implications for Feminist Theories of Racial Difference and Antisubordination Politics

16. Gender Implications for Theories of Racial Formation

Conclusion: Interdependence


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