Constructing the Nation: A Race and Nationalism Reader

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Mariana Ortega, Linda Martín Alcoff
SUNY Press, Oct 23, 2009 - Philosophy - 254 pages
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Philosophers and social theorists of color examine how racism can creep into defensive forms of nationalism.

“What does it mean today to be an ‘American’ when one does not represent or embody the norm of ‘Americanness’ because of one’s race, ethnicity, culture of origin, religion, or some combination of these? What is the norm of ‘Americanness’ today, how has it changed, and how pluralistic is it in reality?” — from the Introduction

In this volume philosophers and social theorists of color take up these questions, offering nuanced critiques of race and nationalism in the post-9/11 United States focused around the themes of freedom, unity, and homeland. In particular, the contributors examine how normative concepts of American identity and unity come to be defined and defended along increasingly racialized lines in the face of national trauma, and how nonnormative Americans experience the mistrust that their identities and backgrounds engender in this way. The volume takes an important step in recognizing and challenging the unreflective notions of nationalism that emerge in times of crisis.

“The idealized and abstract nation-state may be a familiar topic for political investigation, but the actual white nation and its racial state are territory far less explored. This stimulating set of essays—ranging from a reading of post-9/11 children’s literature to an analysis of the racialized aesthetic of white nationalism—provides a valuable and eye-opening introduction to the racial construction of the American polity.” — Charles W. Mills, author of The Racial Contract

“A smart and unique set of theoretical reflections on the constitutive role of race and ethnicity in the post-9/11 U.S. American political imaginary, this book should find its place on the bookshelves of everyone interested in questions of citizenship and belonging in a multiracial U.S. polity.” — Chandra Talpade Mohanty, author ofFeminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity

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Two Midcentury
Infantilization of
Muslim Women and the Rhetoric of Freedom
The Nationalist Erasure of Multiplicity
Two Hearts
On the Limits of Postcolonial Identity Politics
Racialized Aesthetic
List of Contributors
Subject Index

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About the author (2009)

Mariana Ortega is Professor of Philosophy at John Carroll University. Linda Martín Alcoff is Professor of Philosophy at Hunter College, City University of New York. Her many books include Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self and Identity Politics Reconsidered (coedited with Michael Hames-García, Satya P. Mohanty, and Paula M. L. Moya).