Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life

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Verso Books, Oct 9, 2012 - Political Science - 302 pages
2 Reviews
The election of Barack Obama was supposed to herald the dawn of a post-racial age in America—a meaningless term without a grasp of what "racial" means. Most people assume that racism grows from the perception of human difference: the fact of race gives rise to the practice of racism. In this myth-busting reflection, the sociologist Karen E. Fields and the historian Barbara J. Fields argue the opposite: the practice of racism produces the illusion of race, through what they call racecraft. And racecraft is intimately entwined with other forms of inequality in American life. So pervasive are the devices of racecraft in American history, economic doctrine, politics, and everyday thinking that the presence of racecraft itself goes unnoticed.

That the post-racial age has not dawned, the Fieldses argue, reflects the failure of Americans to develop a legitimate language for thinking about and discussing inequality across the board. That failure should worry all who care about democratic institutions.

 

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User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

Essays about race in America—race as racecraft, similar to witchcraft. Race itself doesn’t exist as a scientific fact, but racism does, much as witchcraft doesn’t work but in some places has a social ... Read full review

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Contents

A utzors Note
1
A Tour of Racecraft
25
Individual Stories and Americas Collective Past
75
of America
111
Its Sensible Manifestations
193
An Imaginary Conversation Between Emile Durkheim
225
Racecraft and Inequality
261
Index
291
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About the author (2012)

Barbara J. Fields is Professor of History at Columbia University, author of Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground: Maryland During the Nineteenth Century and coauthor of Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War.
KAREN E. FIELDS, an independent scholar, holds degrees from Harvard University, Brandeis University, and the Sorbonne. She is the author of many articles and three published books: Revival and Rebellion in Colonial Central Africa, about millennarianism; Lemon Swamp and Other Places: A Carolina Memoir (with Mamie Garvin Fields), about life in the 20th-century South; and a retranslation of Emile Durkheim s masterpiece, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. She has two works in progress: Bordeaux s Africa, about the view of slavery from a European port city, and Race Matters in the American Academy.

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