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Chapter 21 - War and Whiteness

from Part III - New Lines of Inquiry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2021

Jennifer Haytock
Affiliation:
State University College, Brockport, New York
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Summary

War and ritualized violence might be intrinsic to certain dominant cultural formations of American whiteness, but to make that whiteness visible in war and its literature may mean having to adjust critical and historical approaches so that the racial frame shifts from (invisible) ground to (visible) figure. Many studies have attended to minorities’ participation in US wars, but this has not been able to displace the sense that the representative experience of the “universal” soldier or the traumatized veteran has been implicitly coded as white in American culture. With particular attention to Kevin Powers’s The Yellow Birds, this essay attends to whiteness and how it shapes representations of war and soldiers, particularly in their current, trauma-infused identity.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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