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Interconnections: Gender and Race in American History

Carol Faulkner
Alison M. Parker
Volume: 3
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    This collection builds on decades of interdisciplinary scholarship by African American women and gender historians and feminist scholars, bridging the gap between well-developed theories of race, gender, and power and the practice of historical research. It reveals the interdependent construction of racial and gender identity in individuals' lived experiences in specific historical contexts, such as westward expansion, civil rights movements, or economic depression as well as national and transnational debates over marriage, citizenship and sexual mores. All of these essays consider multiple aspects of identity, including sexuality, class, religion, and nationality, among others, but the volume emphasizes gender and race--the focus of our new book series--as principal bases of identity and locations of power and oppression in American history. Alison M. Parker is professor and chair of the history department at SUNY College at Brockport. Carol Faulkner is associate professor and chair of history at Syracuse University.

    eISBN: 978-1-58046-786-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)
    Alison M. Parker and Carol Faulkner

    The chapters in this volume, collected for a conference held at the University of Rochester, see the interconnections between gender and race as fundamental to American identity and central to American history. Organized by Carol Faulkner, Alison Parker, and Victoria Wolcott, the conference celebrated the launch of a new book series at the University of Rochester Press called Gender and Race in American History. Building on decades of interdisciplinary research by feminist scholars and historians of African American women and gender, these chapters bridge the gap between well-developed theories of race, gender, and power and the practice of historical research....

  4. Part 1: Bridging History, Theory, and Practice

    • Chapter 1 Historicizing Intersectionality as a Critical Lens: Returning to the Work of Anna Julia Cooper
      (pp. 17-48)
      Vivian M. May

      Scholars of intersectionality, historically and presently, start from the premise that both lived identities and structures of power and privilege should be understood as interwoven and not as additive factors or as separable dynamics. Intersectional approaches therefore entail a significant shift in epistemological, ontological, and methodological frames: fundamentally emphasizing simultaneity, scholars of intersectionality employ “tactics, strategies, and identities which historically have appeared to be mutually exclusive under modernist oppositional practices.” Because this alternative mode of reasoning can readily lead to charges of illogic, as Kimberlé Crenshaw has discussed at length, those who employ intersectionality frequently confront being misread or misunderstood.¹...

  5. Part 2: Frontiers of Citizenship

    • Chapter 2 “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” and Other Concealments: Households, Taverns, and Irregular Intimacies in Antebellum New Orleans
      (pp. 51-74)
      Rashauna Johnson

      This essay uses a deceptively discrete category—“women of African descent in antebellum New Orleans”—to highlight the instabilities within all social categories, even those premised on unities of time and space, gender and race. Unfortunately, sociocultural histories of the antebellum South devote precious little attention to women of African descent, let alone to the diverse, multidimensional modes of hierarchy that subdivided them. This essay writes into that silence by using one free woman of color’s household and neighborhood as a microcosm in which frontier Louisiana’s hierarchies of race and gender conspired with cleavages of class and status to produce...

    • Chapter 3 “There Are Two Great Oceans”: The Slavery Metaphor in the Antebellum Women’s Rights Discourse as Redescription of Race and Gender
      (pp. 75-104)
      Hélène Quanquin

      The anniversary of the American Equal Rights Association of May 12 and 13, 1869, was a watershed for American reformers. During the meeting, abolitionists and women’s rights activists severed personal ties already weakened by the debate over the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and divided into opposing camps. How did people who had been working side by side for several decades find themselves in the situation of choosing between the two causes—the rights of African Americans and those of women—they had previously fought for almost indiscriminately?¹ Trying to make sense of this rift, women’s rights activist Lucy Stone opted...

    • Chapter 4 “Grandpa Brown Didn’t Have No Land”: Race, Gender, and an Intruder of Color in Indian Territory
      (pp. 105-130)
      Kendra Taira Field

      When Thomas Jefferson Brown finally decided to make his home in Indian Territory in 1870, he had been there many times before. For months he had been going in on day trips from Arkansas, his grandson mused more than a century later, learning the Indian languages and becoming familiar with the land, people, and opportunities for economic gain. In spite of national boundaries, promises of federal “protection,” and claims to Indian sovereignty, the borders between the nineteenth-century United States and Indian Territory grew increasingly porous, especially following the Civil War. American settlers in and around the territory were scrambling for...

  6. Part 3: Civil Rights and the Law

    • Chapter 5 Countable Bodies, Uncountable Crimes: Sexual Assault and the Antilynching Movement
      (pp. 133-160)
      Michelle Kuhl

      On June 13, 2005, the US Senate apologized for filibustering antilynching legislation from the early twentieth century that would have made lynching a federal crime.¹ In essence, the government apologized for failing one of its most basic functions: protecting its citizens from harm. This apology acknowledged that victims of lynch mobs, largely southern African Americans killed by whites, did not receive appropriate protection of law officials to prevent or punish their deaths. This apology was long overdue and reflects a popular consensus, perhaps prompted by scholarship, that lynching is unjust.

      Had this apology been issued one hundred years ago, however,...

    • Chapter 6 Persecuting Black Men and Gendering Jury Service: The Interplay between Race and Gender in the NAACP Jury Service Cases of the 1930s
      (pp. 161-184)
      Meredith Clark-Wiltz

      On October 13, 1936, the sheriff read aloud the jury’s verdict: “We, the jury, find Joe Hale, the defendant, guilty of the first degree of murder, fix his penalty death in the electric chair.”¹ Hale probably stood as each white juror nodded, affirming for the judge and record that he had supported that decision. An all-white grand jury had indicted him, and this all-white petit jury convicted Hale, an “illiterate, destitute” nineteen-year-old, of the murder of a forty-year-old white man, W. R. Toon. Hale had admitted he confronted—but did not kill—a white man to protect black women. Hale...

  7. Part 4: Sexuality, Class, and Morality

    • Chapter 7 A “Corrupting Influence”: Idleness and Sexuality during the Great Depression
      (pp. 187-228)
      Michele Mitchell

      Anna Pauline Murray found herself fighting to remain in college, pay for a room at the Harlem YWCA, and eat on a regular basis during a time when the economy of the United States was itself under considerable strain. A young woman of African descent, Murray had moved to New York City from Durham, North Carolina, in the fall of 1926 due to her determination not to attend a segregated institution in the South. Murray lived with a cousin in Brooklyn during the 1926–27 academic year, mainly so that she could supplement her education to meet Hunter College’s entrance...

    • Chapter 8 What Women Want: The Paradoxes of Postmodernity as Seen through Promise Keeper and Million Man March Women
      (pp. 229-259)
      Deborah Gray White

      On the morning of October 4, 1997, members of the National Organization of Women (NOW) greeted the hundreds of thousands of Promise Keepers (PK) who gathered for the Stand in the Gap assembly on the National Mall with shouts of “Ominous!” and “Dangerous!” and with placards that read “Patriarch Keeper.”¹ It was a familiar sight, one that had been repeated at almost every Promise Keepers gathering since Bill McCartney founded the organization in 1990, and one that would be repeated at every Promise Keepers gathering through the remainder of the 1990s. “They’re a very sexist, racist and homophobic organization," said...

  8. Epilogue: Gender and Race as Cultural Barriers to Black Women in Politics
    (pp. 260-266)
    Carol Moseley Braun

    In 2003 I stood for nomination by the Democratic Party for the presidency of the United States. That this is a little-known fact doesn’t bother me much: it was a very personal exercise that I hoped then and believe now helped shape attitudes about the proper place to be occupied by women and people of color in American society. From that experience, and many others in my personal odyssey, I can say without reservation that in America, gender is more of a cultural barrier than is race.

    It is a curiosity to me that I have throughout my life been...

  9. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 267-272)
  10. List of Contributors
    (pp. 273-276)
  11. Index
    (pp. 277-292)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 293-293)