American Anatomies: Theorizing Race and Gender
In this brilliantly combative study, Robyn Wiegman challenges contemporary clichés about race and gender, a formulation that is itself a cliché in need of questioning. As part of what she calls her "feminist disloyalty," she turns a critical, even skeptical, eye on current debates about multiculturalism and "difference" while simultaneously exposing the many ways in which white racial supremacy has been reconfigured since the institutional demise of segregation. Most of all, she examines the hypocrisy and contradictoriness of over a century of narratives that posit Anglo-Americans as heroic agents of racism’s decline. Whether assessing Uncle Tom’s Cabin, lynching, Leslie Fiedler’s racialist mapping of the American novel, the Black Power movement of the 60s, 80s buddy films, or the novels of Richard Wright and Toni Morrison, Wiegman unflinchingly confronts the paradoxes of both racism and antiracist agendas, including those advanced from a feminist perspective.
American Anatomies takes the long view: What epistemological frameworks allowed the West, from the Renaissance forward, to schematize racial and gender differences and to create social hierarchies based on these differences? How have those epistemological regimes changed—and not changed—over time? Where are we now? With painstaking care, political passion, and intellectual daring, Wiegman analyzes the biological and cultural bases of racial and gender bias in order to reinvigorate the discussion of identity politics. She concludes that, for very different reasons, identity proves to be dangerous to minority and majority alike.
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African African-American African-American male American anatomy articulation assumptions black male Black Power black women blacks and women castration civilization Clarence Thomas comparative anatomy contemporary context corporeal craniology critical critique crucial defining demonstrates disciplinary discourse of sexual discussion displaced domination economy emerges epistemic epistemological epistemology female feminine feminism feminism's feminist Fiedler figure film Foucault framework function heterosexual hierarchies historical homosexual homosocial human identity identity politics ideological integrationist interracial male bonding Lethal Weapon logic Lords of Discipline male's mark methodological miscegenation modern myth nineteenth century organization patriarchal phallic phallus political position postmodern privileges production public sphere race and gender race science racial difference racism rape reading relations relationship representational rhetorical scene scripting sexual difference signify skin slave social specular structure struggle symbolic theoretical tion transcendence transformation twentieth century U.S. culture Uncle Tom's Cabin underlies visible vision visual white male white masculine white supremacy white women woman