Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race

Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race

by Matthew Frye Jacobson
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674063716

ISBN-13: 9780674063716

Pub. Date: 09/28/1998

Publisher: Harvard University Press

America's racial odyssey is the subject of this remarkable work of historical imagination. Matthew Frye Jacobson argues that race resides not in nature but in the contingencies of politics and culture. In ever-changing racial categories we glimpse the competing theories of history and collective destiny by which power has been organized and contested in the United

Overview

America's racial odyssey is the subject of this remarkable work of historical imagination. Matthew Frye Jacobson argues that race resides not in nature but in the contingencies of politics and culture. In ever-changing racial categories we glimpse the competing theories of history and collective destiny by which power has been organized and contested in the United States. Capturing the excitement of the new field of "whiteness studies" and linking it to traditional historical inquiry, Jacobson shows that in this nation of immigrants "race" has been at the core of civic assimilation: ethnic minorities in becoming American were reracialized to become Caucasian. He provides a counterhistory of how nationality groups such as the Irish or Greeks became Americans as racial groups like Celts or Mediterraneans became Caucasian.

Jacobson tracks race as a conception and perception, emphasizing the importance of knowing not only how we label one another but also how we see one another, and how that racialized vision has largely been transformed in this century. The stages of racial formation—race as formed in conquest, enslavement, imperialism, segregation, and labor migration—are all part of the complex, and now counterintuitive, history of race. Whiteness of a Different Color traces the fluidity of racial categories from an immense body of research in literature, popular culture, politics, society, ethnology, anthropology, cartoons, and legal history, including sensational trials like the Leo Frank case and the Draft Riots of 1863.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674063716
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
09/28/1998
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.42(h) x 1.19(d)

Table of Contents

Note on Usage

Introduction: The Fabrication of Race

The Political History of Whiteness

"Free White Persons" in the Republic, 1790-1840

Anglo-Saxons and Others, 1840-1924

Becoming Caucasian, 1924-1965

History, Race, and Perception

1877: The Instability of Race

Looking Jewish, Seeing Jews

The Manufacture of Caucasians

The Crucible of Empire

Naturalization and the Courts

The Dawning Civil Rights Era

Epilogue: Ethnic Revival and the Denial of White Privilege

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

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