Guide The Mulatta and the Politics of Race

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  1. Mar Gallego, Passing Novels in the Harlem Renaissance: Identity Politics and Textual Strategies

The Mulatta and the Politics of Race. By Teresa C. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, The recent publication of several books on gender and miscegenation points to a veritable "discourse of the mulatta" in literary and American studies; to the two books reviewed here we might also add Cassandra Jackson's Barriers Between Us: Interracial Sex in Nineteenth-Century American Literature Indiana University Press, and Suzanne Bost's Mulattas and Mestizas: Representing Mixed Identities in the Americas, — University of Georgia Press, In The Tragic Mulatta Revisited and The Mulatta and the Politics of Race , Eva Allegra Raimon and Teresa Zackodnik focus specifically on the female incarnation of the tragic mulatta trope, thereby repudiating literary critics' dismissal of this figure.

Raimon introduces her subject by explaining how the tragic mulatta emerged from an "acute disjuncture between the avowed ideology of the one-drop rule and the inescapable interracial nature of antebellum Southern life" From here, she moves gracefully into a discussion of Lydia Maria Child's early writings on interracial marriage and miscegenation, arguing that Hobomok, A Tale of Early Times was a preamble to Child's radical antislavery writing 31— In chapter two, which examines the relationship between Child's "The Quadroons" and William Wells Brown's Clotel; or, the President's Daughter , Raimon cogently argues that contrary to Child, "Brown's overriding purpose in deploying the 'tragic mulatta' emblem is to imprint indelibly in readers' minds the inescapable alliance between American selfhood and racial perfidy, the pernicious mendacity of the nation's founding ideals" Raimon's brilliant comparison of the "Resistant Cassys" illuminates how the inscription of the mulatta embodies the potential for liberation She then provocatively applies Harryette Mullen's concept of "resistant orality" to Stowe's Cassy in order to demonstrate how Cassy's "very articulation constitutes her agency," and thus allows Stowe to counter an established tradition of mulatta fiction Though she admits that Mullen's theory specifically addresses black female agency, she maintains that despite Stowe's "white, colonizationist subject position," the idea of resistant orality illuminates "Stowe's rendering of Cassy's speech" , More compelling is her interpretation of Cassy's infanticide as a "profoundly revolutionary political act of resistance" that poses a moral and economic challenge to the slave system Reading Our Nig "as a countertext and a corrective" to the preceding authors allows for a fluid segue into her Coda , where she concludes with a witty reading of Alice Randall's The Wind Done Gone a retelling of Gone With the Wind and two contemporary cinematic depictions of the relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson — While Raimon scrutinizes the work of black [End Page ] and white writers, Zackodnik exclusively examines portrayals of the mulatta by African American women.

She begins as Raimon does with antebellum texts, but expands her discussion to encompass turn-of-the century fiction and the passing novels of the Harlem Renaissance.

Mar Gallego, Passing Novels in the Harlem Renaissance: Identity Politics and Textual Strategies

Attentive to the tenuousness of freedom, Ze Winters argues that the concubine figure's manifestation as both historical subject and African diasporic goddess indicates her centrality to understanding how free and enslaved black subjects performed gender, theorized race and freedom, and produced their own diasporic identities.

Welcome to the new UGA Press website! Title Details Pages: Trim size: Add to. Get ebook. Series Race in the Atlantic World, — Ser. Cite this book. Request an exam or desk copy.

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Skip to Description Reviews. Winters's broadly comparative methodology, especially the consideration of connections to sacred deities of Haitian voodoo and Mami Watta, an African diasporic goddess, may make this an unsettling book to some historians.

But that discomfort is precisely why it would work well in graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses to spark productive discussions about the nature of historical evidence, in addition to being an important and provocative contribution to African diasporic studies, Atlantic history, African American history, and the histories of sexuality, gender, race, and slavery.

Ze Winters is part of a growing body of scholars who voice the challenges that researchers of the history of black women face in the absence of formal archival materials. Ze Winters offers a vision of a global South that is neither static not easy to characterize.