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The white negress Literature, minstrelry and the Black-Jewish imaginary by Lori Harrison-Kahan
  

The white negress Literature, minstrelry and the Black-Jewish imaginary

Synopsis

The white negress Literature, minstrelry and the Black-Jewish imaginary by Lori Harrison-Kahan

During the first half of the twentieth century, American Jews demonstrated a commitment to racial justice as well as an attraction to African American culture. Until now, the debate about whether such black-Jewish encounters thwarted or enabled Jews' claims to white privilege has focused on men and representations of masculinity while ignoring questions of women and femininity. The White Negress investigates literary and cultural texts by Jewish and African American women, opening new avenues of inquiry that yield more complex stories about Jewishness, African American identity, and the meanings of whiteness. Lori Harrison-Kahan examines writings by Edna Ferber, Fannie Hurst, and Zora Neale Hurston, as well as the blackface performances of vaudevillian Sophie Tucker and controversies over the musical and film adaptations of Show Boat and Imitation of Life. Moving between literature and popular culture, she illuminates how the dynamics of interethnic exchange have at once produced and undermined the binary of black and white.

Reviews

Skillfully demonstrates how Jewish American women writers employ images of blackness to undermine the division between 'white
and

'black'
identity. The figure of the

'White Negress'
thus becomes the site for a feminist critique of whiteness

. --Martha J. Cutter editor of MELUS (01/25/2010) Placing gender squarely at the intersection of black-Jewish cultural imaginings, The White Negress makes a stunning contribution to our understanding of whiteness, race relations, and ethnic literature. --Joyce Antler author of You Never Call! You Never Write! A History of the Jewish Mother (09/28/2010)

Skillfully demonstrates how Jewish American women writers employ images of blackness to undermine the division between 'white
and

'black'
identity. The figure of the

'White Negress'
thus becomes the site for a feminist critique of whiteness. Martha J. Cutter, editor of MELUS

About the Author

LORI HARRISON-KAHAN teaches in the English department at Boston College and has previously taught at Connecticut College, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th January 2011

Author

Lori Harrison-Kahan

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Publisher

Rutgers University Press

Format

Hardback
248 pages

Categories

Literary studies: from c 1900 -

ISBN

9780813547824

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