This collection of new essays enters one of the most topical and energetic debates of our time--the subject of ethnicity. The recent vigorous debates being waged over questions raised by the phenomenon of multiculturalism in America highlight the fact that American culture has arisen out of an unusually rich and interactive ethnic mix. The essays in A Mixed Race suggest that American society was inescapably multicultural from its very beginnings and that this representation of cultural differences fundamentally defined American culture. While recent scholarship has looked extensively at the ethnic formation of modern American culture, this study focuses on the eighteenth century and colonial American values that have been previously overlooked in the debate, arguing that a culture shaped by responses to ethnic and racial difference is not merely a modern circumstance but one at the base of American history. Written by a group of first-class contributors, the essays in this collection discuss the representation of cultural differences between European immigrants and Native Americans, the circumstances of the first African-American autobiographical narratives, rhetorical negotiations among different European-American cultural groups, ethnic representation in the genre literature of jest books and execution narratives, and the ethnic conceptions of Michel de Crevecoeur, Phillis Wheatley, and Thomas Jefferson. A Mixed Race offers agile and original yet scholarly readings of ethnicity and ethnic formation from some of our best critics of early American culture. Moving from questions of race and ethnicity to varieties of ethnic representation, and finally to individual confrontations, this volume sheds light on the confrontations of ethnically diverse peoples, and launches a timely, full-scale investigation of the construction of American culture.
- Publication Date:
- 11 / 03 / 1993