Fashioning Whiteness: Teaching the ways that slavery defined race before and after the Civil War

2019-02-28T14:12:33Z (GMT) by Catherine Armstrong
This chapter examines whiteness and slavery and explores how, for many late-nineteenth-century commentators, the idea of whiteness was a contested racial identity. It will explore historic attempts to define race and historiographical and pedagogical responses to these attempts, starting with an examination of the photographs of ‘white’ slave children of New Orleans in the 1860s. The chapter will also look at the phenomenon of ‘passing’ and the ways that, prior to the 1910 Mann Act, progressives’ responses to prostitution as ‘white slavery’ change our understanding of the intersection of race and slavery. It will discuss the work of scholars such as Mary Niall Mitchell (‘Rosebloom and Pure White, or So It Seemed,’ in American Quarterly, 2002), Allyson Hobbs (A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life) and Brian Donovan (White Slave Crusades: Race, Gender and Anti-Vice Activism) and also explore the challenges of taking this research into the undergraduate classroom.