Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights (America and the Long 19th Century)

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9780814787083: Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights (America and the Long 19th Century)
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Winner, Outstanding Book Award, Association for Theatre in Higher Education

Winner, Grace Abbott Best Book Award, Society for the History of Children and Youth 

Winner, Book Award, Children's Literature Association

Winner, Lois P. Rudnick Book Prize, New England American Studies Association

Winner, IRSCL Award, International Research Society for Children's Literature

Runner-Up, John Hope Franklin Publication Prize, American Studies Association

Honorable Mention, Book Award, Society for the Study of American Women Writers

 Part of the American Literatures Initiative Series   In Racial Innocence, Robin Bernstein argues that the concept of "childhood innocence" has been central to U.S. racial formation since the mid-nineteenth century. Children--white ones imbued with innocence, black ones excluded from it, and others of color erased by it--figured pivotally in sharply divergent racial agendas from slavery and abolition to antiblack violence and the early civil rights movement.  Bernstein takes up a rich archive including books, toys, theatrical props, and domestic knickknacks which she analyzes as "scriptive things" that invite or prompt historically-located practices while allowing for resistance and social improvisation. Integrating performance studies with literary and visual analysis, Bernstein offers singular readings of theatrical productions from blackface minstrelsy to Uncle Tom's Cabin to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz literary works by Joel Chandler Harris, Harriet Wilson, and Frances Hodgson Burnett; material culture including Topsy pincushions, Uncle Tom and Little Eva handkerchiefs, and Raggedy Ann dolls; and visual texts ranging from fine portraiture to advertisements for lard substitute. Throughout, Bernstein shows how "innocence" gradually became the exclusive province of white children--until the Civil Rights Movement succeeded not only in legally desegregating public spaces, but in culturally desegregating the concept of childhood itself. Check out the author's blog for the book here. 

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Review:

"Racial Innocence is an invaluable contribution. . . it enlivens a diverse constellation of evidence, making it an exemplary model for any interdisciplinary project of similarly ambitious scope."-Meredith A. Bak,Journal of Popular Culture

"You will never look at a Raggedy Ann doll the same way again." -Rebecca Onion,Backlist

"Magnificent and stylish... truly groundbreaking."-Richard Flynn,The Lion and the Unicorn

"Arresting. . . shows how the hegemonic project of white supremacy takes constant reinforcement in popular forms to naturalize racist practices on the ground."-Jayna Brown,Callaloo

"[T]antalizing... [W]ith ethical finesse and theoretical dexterity, Bernstein’s book explores. . . the extent to which our national reality has been a topsy-turvy one from the start."-Leo Cabranes-Grant,Theatre Survey

"Daringly imaginative."-Perry Nodelman,International Research for Children’s Literature

"Chilling proof that the post-racial utopia is yet to be realized in American society." -Kam Williams,syndicated columnist

"Nineteenth and earlytwentieth-century material culture comes alive in Robin Bernstein’s brilliantstudy of the racialized and gendered ideologies that shape, inform and continueto haunt notions of American childhood into the present day. Throughimaginative and masterfully innovative archival research, Bernstein shows howrepresentations of childhood and child’s play are integral to the making ofwhiteness and blackness and citizenship in this country. Racial Innocenceis a groundbreaking book that for the first time illuminates the powerful andcritical connections between constructions of girlhood, racial formations andAmerican popular culture."-Daphne Brooks,Princeton University

"Riveting."-Michelle H. Martin,Children's Literature Association Quarterly

"Richly researched, inspiring in its analysis of archival material, and impressive in its deft ability to traverse disciplinary borders, including childhood studies, performance studies, literary studies, and American history. . . . Poignant. . . Bernstein’s superb text hauntingly prompts the reader to consider where invocations of childhood are being used in contemporary US racial formation. At a time when black childhood performances have been front and center in American media discourse―for example, the circulating images of Trayvon Martin that were used to simultaneously evidence both the teenage innocent and the future-adult-thug―Racial Innocence requires the contemporary reader to resist feigning "holy obliviousness" to the ways in which racial arguments can be cloaked in children and their toys."-Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin,TDR: The Drama Review

About the Author:

Robin Bernstein is Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University.  Her previous books include Cast Out: Queer Lives in Theater.


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9780814787076: Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights (America and the Long 19th Century)

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ISBN 10: 081478707X ISBN 13: 9780814787076
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Book Description New York University Press, United States, 2011. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 2013 Book Award Winner from the International Research Society in Children's Literature2012 Outstanding Book Award Winner from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education 2012 Winner of the Lois P. Rudnick Book Prize presented by the New England American Studies Association 2012 Runner-Up, John Hope Franklin Publication Prize presented by the American Studies Association2012 Honorable Mention, Distinguished Book Award presented by the Society for the Study of American Women WritersPart of the American Literatures Initiative Series Beginning in the mid nineteenth century in America, childhood became synonymous with innocence-a reversal of the previously-dominant Calvinist belief that children were depraved, sinful creatures. As the idea of childhood innocence took hold, it became racialized: popular culture constructed white children as innocent and vulnerable while excluding black youth from these qualities. Actors, writers, and visual artists then began pairing white children with African American adults and children, thus transferring the quality of innocence to a variety of racial-political projects-a dynamic that Robin Bernstein calls "racial innocence." This phenomenon informed racial formation from the mid nineteenth century through the early twentieth. Racial Innocence takes up a rich archive including books, toys, theatrical props, and domestic knickknacks which Bernstein analyzes as "scriptive things" that invite or prompt historically-located practices while allowing for resistance and social improvisation. Integrating performance studies with literary and visual analysis, Bernstein offers singular readings of theatrical productions from blackface minstrelsy to Uncle Tom's Cabin to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; literary works by Joel Chandler Harris, Harriet Wilson, and Frances Hodgson Burnett; material culture including Topsy pincushions, Uncle Tom and Little Eva handkerchiefs, and Raggedy Ann dolls; and visual texts ranging from fine portraiture to advertisements for lard substitute. Throughout, Bernstein shows how "innocence" gradually became the exclusive province of white children-until the Civil Rights Movement succeeded not only in legally desegregating public spaces, but in culturally desegregating the concept of childhood itself.Check out the author's blog for the book here. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780814787083

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Book Description New York University Press, United States, 2011. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 2013 Book Award Winner from the International Research Society in Children's Literature2012 Outstanding Book Award Winner from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education 2012 Winner of the Lois P. Rudnick Book Prize presented by the New England American Studies Association 2012 Runner-Up, John Hope Franklin Publication Prize presented by the American Studies Association2012 Honorable Mention, Distinguished Book Award presented by the Society for the Study of American Women WritersPart of the American Literatures Initiative Series Beginning in the mid nineteenth century in America, childhood became synonymous with innocence-a reversal of the previously-dominant Calvinist belief that children were depraved, sinful creatures. As the idea of childhood innocence took hold, it became racialized: popular culture constructed white children as innocent and vulnerable while excluding black youth from these qualities. Actors, writers, and visual artists then began pairing white children with African American adults and children, thus transferring the quality of innocence to a variety of racial-political projects-a dynamic that Robin Bernstein calls "racial innocence." This phenomenon informed racial formation from the mid nineteenth century through the early twentieth. Racial Innocence takes up a rich archive including books, toys, theatrical props, and domestic knickknacks which Bernstein analyzes as "scriptive things" that invite or prompt historically-located practices while allowing for resistance and social improvisation. Integrating performance studies with literary and visual analysis, Bernstein offers singular readings of theatrical productions from blackface minstrelsy to Uncle Tom's Cabin to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; literary works by Joel Chandler Harris, Harriet Wilson, and Frances Hodgson Burnett; material culture including Topsy pincushions, Uncle Tom and Little Eva handkerchiefs, and Raggedy Ann dolls; and visual texts ranging from fine portraiture to advertisements for lard substitute. Throughout, Bernstein shows how "innocence" gradually became the exclusive province of white children-until the Civil Rights Movement succeeded not only in legally desegregating public spaces, but in culturally desegregating the concept of childhood itself.Check out the author's blog for the book here. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780814787083

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Book Description New York University Press, United States, 2011. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 2013 Book Award Winner from the International Research Society in Children's Literature2012 Outstanding Book Award Winner from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education 2012 Winner of the Lois P. Rudnick Book Prize presented by the New England American Studies Association 2012 Runner-Up, John Hope Franklin Publication Prize presented by the American Studies Association2012 Honorable Mention, Distinguished Book Award presented by the Society for the Study of American Women WritersPart of the American Literatures Initiative Series Beginning in the mid nineteenth century in America, childhood became synonymous with innocence-a reversal of the previously-dominant Calvinist belief that children were depraved, sinful creatures. As the idea of childhood innocence took hold, it became racialized: popular culture constructed white children as innocent and vulnerable while excluding black youth from these qualities. Actors, writers, and visual artists then began pairing white children with African American adults and children, thus transferring the quality of innocence to a variety of racial-political projects-a dynamic that Robin Bernstein calls "racial innocence." This phenomenon informed racial formation from the mid nineteenth century through the early twentieth. Racial Innocence takes up a rich archive including books, toys, theatrical props, and domestic knickknacks which Bernstein analyzes as "scriptive things" that invite or prompt historically-located practices while allowing for resistance and social improvisation. Integrating performance studies with literary and visual analysis, Bernstein offers singular readings of theatrical productions from blackface minstrelsy to Uncle Tom's Cabin to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; literary works by Joel Chandler Harris, Harriet Wilson, and Frances Hodgson Burnett; material culture including Topsy pincushions, Uncle Tom and Little Eva handkerchiefs, and Raggedy Ann dolls; and visual texts ranging from fine portraiture to advertisements for lard substitute. Throughout, Bernstein shows how "innocence" gradually became the exclusive province of white children-until the Civil Rights Movement succeeded not only in legally desegregating public spaces, but in culturally desegregating the concept of childhood itself.Check out the author's blog for the book here. Seller Inventory # BTA9780814787083

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