Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Souls of White FolkAfrican American Writers Theorize Whiteness$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Veronica T. Watson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781617038891

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617038891.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of
date: 16 December 2017

“A Form of Insanity Which Overtakes White Men”

“A Form of Insanity Which Overtakes White Men”

Chapter:
(p.15) Chapter One “A Form of Insanity Which Overtakes White Men”
Source:
The Souls of White Folk
Author(s):

Veronica T. Watson

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781617038891.003.0002

This chapter theorizes white double consciousness by analyzing W.E.B. DuBois’ and Charles Chesnutt’s engagements with the late nineteenth and early twentieth century discourse of neurasthenia. Neurasthenia, a medical diagnosis that encapsulated a range of symptoms and ailments experienced by elite white Americans of the time, was being used to justify the uneasiness white Americans had toward shifting social realities and expectations related to race, class, and gender. DuBois and Chesnutt, understanding that science and medicine were being used to legitimate resistance to that social change, especially as it related the pursuit of racial equality in the U.S., intervened in the discourse to demonstrate the true cost to white subjectivity as well as the nation of their continued investment in white supremacy as a social organizing principle. They theorized a white schizophrenic subjectivity in which moderation toward social and racial justice would emerge as a desirable subject position for white Americans.

Keywords:   Double consciousness, White schizophrenic subjectivity, Neurasthenia, W.E.B. DuBois, The Colonel’s Dream

University Press of Mississippi requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.