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AfriGeneas World Research Forum

Near Black...

Near black: White-to-black passing in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American culture

Dreisinger, Batsheva. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2002. Section 0054, Part 0591 251 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States -- New York: Columbia University; 2002. Publication Number: AAT 3066830.

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation explores narratives about reverse racial passing: cases when legally white individuals are imagined, by themselves or by others, as passing for black.

It argues that ideas about proximity are central to racial constructions, enabling those who are literally "near black" to become metaphorically "near black." While this concept emerges, during Reconstruction, from white anxieties , it soon evolves into fantasies of racial transformation; Near Black thus highlights fluctuations between fear and desire in the context of white passing.

The dissertation examines literature, film, music, and memoirs, ultimately suggesting that white-to-black passing is a distinct narrative genre that flourishes during moments when racial lines are being questioned or blurred by the culture at large.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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