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The Construction of WhitenessAn Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity$
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Stephen Middleton, David R. Roediger, and Donald M. Shaffer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496805553

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496805553.001.0001

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date: 21 October 2018

Emancipation from Whiteness

Emancipation from Whiteness

Witnessing Disability and Jubilee

(p.74) 3 Emancipation from Whiteness
The Construction of Whiteness

David R. Roediger

University Press of Mississippi

The analysis offered here stresses that whites were able to imagine freedom and move toward it because they did to some extent join suffering humanity. They could no longer take for granted the ideological connections of whiteness with independence and with ability that had been so hard-wired into the fabric of antebellum nationalism. My goal is to keep the inspiration of emancipation at play together with the war’s role in destroying white bodies and illusions as this article accounts for what I have also elsewhere called the brief period of “emancipation from whiteness” after the Civil War. I further show that inspiration and disillusion were present at the same time. Both led to intensified capacities to imagine and to pursue new freedom dreams among whites.

Keywords:   Ideological connections, Antebellum nationalism, Emancipation from whiteness, Disillusion, Freedom dreams

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