Subjects and Citizens

Nation, Race, and Gender from Oroonoko to Anita Hill

Subjects and Citizens

Book Pages: 536 Illustrations: Published: June 1995

American Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Theory

Focusing on intersecting issues of nation, race, and gender, this volume inaugurates new models for American literary and cultural history. Subjects and Citizens reveals the many ways in which a wide range of canonical and non-canonical writing contends with the most crucial social, political, and literary issues of our past and present.

Defining the landscape of the New American literary history, these essays are united by three interrelated concerns: ideas of origin (where does "American literature" begin?), ideas of nation (what does "American literature" mean?), and ideas of race and gender (what does "American literature" include and exclude and how?). Work by writers as diverse as Aphra Behn, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, Frances Harper, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Herman Melville, William Faulkner, Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Bharati Mukherjee, Booker T. Washington, Mark Twain, Kate Chopin, Américo Paredes, and Toni Morrison are discussed from several theoretical perspectives, using a variety of methodologies. Issues of the "frontier" and the "border" as well as those of coloniality and postcoloniality are explored. In each case, these essays emphasize the ideological nature of national identity and, more specifically, the centrality of race and gender to our concept of nationhood.

Collected from recent issues of American Literature, with three new essays added, Subjects and Citizens charts the new directions being taken in American literary studies.

Contributors. Daniel Cooper Alarcón, Lori Askeland, Stephanie Athey, Nancy Bentley, Lauren Berlant, Michele A. Birnbaum, Kristin Carter-Sanborn, Russ Castronovo, Joan Dayan, Julie Ellison, Sander L. Gilman, Karla F. C. Holloway, Annette Kolodny, Barbara Ladd, Lora Romero, Ramón Saldívar, Maggie Sale, Siobhan Senier, Timothy Sweet, Maurice Wallace, Elizabeth Young


"This superb collection demonstrates the exciting new work being done in American literary history and criticism. Its many wide-ranging, richly detailed contributions are certain to shape and extend cultural and political debates about race, class, gender, and American nationhood. Subjects and Citizens is among the best books of critical and cultural studies I have read." — William E. Cain, Wellesley College


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Michael Moon is Associate Professor of English at Duke University and Associate Editor of American Literature. He is the author of Disseminating Whitman: Revision and Corporeality in "Leaves of Grass."

Cathy N. Davidson is Professor of English at Duke University and Editor of American Literature. She is the author of numerous books, including Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction / Michael Moon and Cathy N. Davidson 1

Part I.

Letting Go Our Grand Obsessions: Notes Toward a New Literary History of the American Frontiers / Annette Kolodny 9

Oroonoko's Gendered Economies of Honor/Horror: Reframing Colonial Discourses Studies in the Americas / Stephanie Athey and Daniel Cooper Alarcón 27

Race and Sensibility in the Early Republic: Ann Eliza Bleecker and Sarah Wentworth Morton 57

Vanishing Americans: Gender, Empire, and New Historicism / Lora Romero 87

Part II.

Amorous Bondage: Poe, Ladies, and Slaves / Joan Dayan 109

Critiques from Within: Antebellum Projects of Resistance / Maggie Sale 145

Radical Configurations of History in the Era of American Slavery / Russ Castronovo 169

White Slaves: The Mulatto Hero in Antebellum Fiction / Nancy Bentley 195

Part III.

Masculinity and Self-Performance in the Life of Black Hawk / Timothy Sweet 219

Constructing the Black Masculine: Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and the Sublimits of African American Autobiography / Maurice Wallace 245

Mark Twain and the Diseases of the Jews / Sander L. Gilman 271

Warring Fictions: Iola Leroy and the Color of Gender / Elizabeth Young 293

"Alien Hands": Kate Chopin and the Colonization of Race / Michele A. Birnbaum 319

Part IV.

"The Direction of the Howling": Nationalism and the Color Line in Absalom, Absalom! / Barbara Ladd 345

Border Subjects and Transnational Sites: Américo Paredes's The Hammon and the Beans and Other Stories / Ramón Saldívar 373

Remodeling the Model Home in Uncle Tom's Cabin and Beloved / Lori Askeland 395

A Zuni Racounteur Dons the Junco Shirt: Gender and Narrative Style in the Story of Coyote and Junco / Siobhan Senier 417

"We Murder Who We Were": Jasmine and the Violence of Identity / Kristen-Carter Sanborn 433

The Queen of American Goes to Washington City: Harriet Jacobs, Frances Harper, Anita Hill / Lauren Berland 455

The Body Public / Karla F. C. Holloway 481

Index 497
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1539-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1529-2
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