White Women in Racialized Spaces
Imaginative Transformation and Ethical Action in Literature
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Explores the unique relationship between white women and racial Others in a wide variety of literary works.
At once racially privileged and sexually marginalized, white women have been energetic in calling for solidarity among all women in opposing patriarchy, but have not been equally motivated to examine their own racial privilege. White Women in Racialized Spaces turns primarily to literature to illuminate the undeniable blind spots in white women's comprehension of their advantage. The contributors cover extensive historical ground, from early captivity narratives of white women in seventeenth-century America up to the present-day trials of Louise Woodward and Manjit Basuta, both British nannies accused of causing the deaths of their infant charges in the United States. Their wide-ranging discussions also include representations of white women in Native American, Latin American, African, Asian, and Middle Eastern contexts. The volume ultimately makes the case that, by creating alternative scenarios to particular ethical, political, or emotional problems against which readers and characters test their responses, literature forms an ideal vehicle for exploring white women's actual and potential roles in their efforts to undercut the oppressive force of whiteness.
Samina Najmi is Visiting Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies at Babson College. Rajini Srikanth is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and the coeditor, with Lavina Dhingra Shankar, of A Part, Yet Apart: South Asians in Asian America.
"The most striking feature of this volume is the unique variation of subject matter it adjoins to an increasingly popular, yet still somewhat elusive, object of inquiry: 'whiteness.' Without question, it represents a worthwhile contribution to a debate that is still unfolding." — Mike Hill, editor of Whiteness: A Critical Reader