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The chapters in this volume, collected for a conference held at the University of Rochester, see the interconnections between gender and race as fundamental to American identity and central to American history. Organized by Carol Faulkner, Alison Parker, and Victoria Wolcott, the conference celebrated the launch of a new book series at the University of Rochester Press called Gender and Race in American History. Building on decades of interdisciplinary research by feminist scholars and historians of African American women and gender, these chapters bridge the gap between well-developed theories of race, gender, and power and the practice of historical research. They reveal the interdependent construction of racial and gender identity in individuals' lived experiences in specific historical contexts, such as westward expansion, civil rights movements, or economic depression, as well as national and transnational debates over marriage, citizenship, and sexual mores. All of these chapters consider multiple aspects of identity, including sexuality, class, religion, and nationality, among others, but the volume emphasizes gender and race—the focus of our new book series—as principal bases of identity and locations of power and oppression in American history.
Previous historical scholarship on race, like the scholarship on gender, focused on the way American society has imbued perceived biological differences with social meaning, thus legitimating slavery, inequality, disfranchisement, and lynching. As historian Nell Irvin Painter plainly asserts, “Race is an idea, not a fact.”
This collection builds on decades of interdisciplinary work by historians of African American women as well as scholars of feminist and critical race theory, bridging the gap between well-developed theories of race, gender, and power and the practice of historical research. It examines how racial and gender identity is constructed from individuals' lived experiences in specific historical contexts, such as westward expansion, civil rights movements, or economic depression as well as by national and transnational debates over marriage, citizenship and sexual mores. All of these essays considermultiple aspects of identity, including sexuality, class, religion, and nationality, among others, but the volume emphasizes gender and race as principal bases of identity and locations of power and oppression in American history.
Contributors: Deborah Gray White, Michele Mitchell, Vivian May, Carol Moseley Braun, Rashauna Johnson, Hélène Quanquin, Kendra Taira Field, Michelle Kuhl, Meredith Clark-Wiltz. Carol Faulkner is Associate Professor and Chair of History at Syracuse University. Alison M. Parker is Professor and Chair of the History Department at SUNY College at Brockport.