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Racial Imperatives By Nadine Ehlers

Racial Imperatives by Nadine Ehlers

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Discusses formations of blackness and whiteness in US culture

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Racial Imperatives Summary

Racial Imperatives: Discipline, Performativity, and Struggles against Subjection by Nadine Ehlers

Nadine Ehlers examines the constructions of blackness and whiteness cultivated in the U.S. imaginary and asks, how do individuals become racial subjects? She analyzes anti-miscegenation law, statutory definitions of race, and the rhetoric surrounding the phenomenon of racial passing to provide critical accounts of racial categorization and norms, the policing of racial behavior, and the regulation of racial bodies as they are underpinned by demarcations of sexuality, gender, and class. Ehlers places the work of Michel Foucault, Judith Butler's account of performativity, and theories of race into conversation to show how race is a form of discipline, that race is performative, and that all racial identity can be seen as performative racial passing. She tests these claims through an excavation of the 1925 racial fraud case of Rhinelander v. Rhinelander and concludes by considering the possibilities for racial agency, extending Foucault's later work on ethics and technologies of the self to explore the potential for racial transformation.

Racial Imperatives Reviews

[T]his project fills a major gap in both Critical Race and Foucault studies. It will undoubtedly be cited and engaged for years to come.

* Critical Philosophy of Race *

Racial Imperatives is a strong tome with a great deal of value across disciplines. Building on her previous scholarly investigations and relying on a robust scholarship to push intellectual boundaries, Ehlers's work is insightful and thought provoking. . . . Scholars that study race in any academic discipline would benefit from the ideas and analysis in this book.

* Spectrum *

Racial Imperatives . . . is a thoughtful and provocative contribution to the literature of discipline, performativity, and agency as they relate to race.

* Foucault Studies *

In Racial Imperatives Nadine Ehlers explores the idea that racial identity is a construct both performed by individuals and maintained by the law. . . [Raises] interesting ideas, particularly that 'all identity is a form of passing,' and that all subjects . . . must continually enact their racial identities.June 2015

* Journal of American History *

About Nadine Ehlers

Nadine Ehlers is Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at Georgetown University.

Table of Contents

1. Racial Disciplinarity
2. Racial Knowledges: Securing the Body in Law
3. Passing through Racial Performatives
4. Domesticating Liminality: Somatic Defiance in Rhinelander v. Rhinelander
5. Passing Phantasms: Rhinelander and Ontological Insecurity
6. Imagining Racial Agency
7. Practicing Problematization: Resignifying Race

Additional information

Racial Imperatives: Discipline, Performativity, and Struggles against Subjection by Nadine Ehlers
Indiana University Press
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
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