Never one nation : freaks, savages, and whiteness in U.S. popular culture, 1850-1877

by Frost, Linda.

Format: Print Book 2005
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Location Collection Status
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction DAMAGED
Location  CLP - Main Library
 
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
 
Status  DAMAGED
 
 
Summary
In Never One Nation, Linda Frost argues that during the eventful decades surrounding the Civil War, American identity was constructed not only nationally but also locally. Depictions of race, class, and sexuality seen in P. T. Barnum's museums, in the image of the Circassian Beauty, and in popular periodicals like Harper's Weekly, the Southern Illustrated News, and the San Francisco Golden Era further illustrated who was - and who was not - an American. Local coverage of Native Americans and Chinese in the West, African Americans and recent Irish immigrants in New York, and slaves and Yankees in the South played a major role in conflating Americanness with whiteness. These ideas were shaped by reactions to events such as the 1863 Draft Riots and the Dakota uprising in Minnesota in 1862, and laid bare through the demonization of Northern whites in Confederate newspapers and anxieties expressed in California newspapers about the possibility of Chinese immigrants gaining U.S. citizenship. Through close readings of specific articles published in regional periodicals, mostly unexamined by literary scholars, Frost shows how Americanness came to be defined in the mid-nineteenth century by the mainstream popular culture. The era's many social upheavals - Emancipation, Reconstruction, the start of the Indian wars in the West, immigration, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad - sharpened the desire of Americans to feel part of a national community, even as they made this search for an American identity extremely contentious and necessarily fragmented. Never One Nation provocatively reframes the discourse on racial formation and reveals how local cultures and prejudices can recast the identity of a nation.
Contents
Introduction : blinding whiteness and "the wonder of America"
Roving savages, regionalized Americanness, and the 1862 Dakota Wars
Emancipation anxiety and the New York City draft riots
The white gaze, the spectacle of slavery, and the Circassian beauty
A peculiar identity in the Confederate Southern Illustrated News
The Yankee, the stump, and the creation of a Confederate imaginary
What the railroad brought : the "heathen Chinee" and a nation in the West
The woman question, coast to coast
Conclusion : consumption, community, and the correspondence column.

Additional Information
Subjects Popular culture -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Racism in popular culture -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
White people -- Race identity -- United States.
African Americans in popular culture -- History -- 19th century.
Indians in popular culture -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Freak shows -- Social aspects -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Publisher Minneapolis :University of Minnesota Press,2005
Language English
Description xix, 241 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 197-229) and index.
ISBN 081664490X (pb : alk. paper)
0816644896 (alk. paper)
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