Private Affairs: Critical Ventures in the Culture of Social Relations

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New York University Press, 1999 - Social Science - 189 pages
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Beginning in the mid nineteenth century in America, childhood became synonymous with innocence--a reversal of the previously-dominant Calvinist belief that children were depraved, sinful creatures. As the idea of childhood innocence took hold, it became racialized: popular culture constructed white children as innocent and vulnerable while excluding black youth from these qualities. Actors, writers, and visual artists then began pairing white children with African American adults and children, thus transferring the quality of innocence to a variety of racial-political projects—a dynamic that Robin Bernstein calls “racial innocence.” This phenomenon informed racial formation from the mid nineteenth century through the early twentieth. 
 
Racial Innocence takes up a rich archive including books, toys, theatrical props, and domestic knickknacks which Bernstein analyzes as “scriptive things” that invite or prompt historically-located practices while allowing for resistance and social improvisation.  Integrating performance studies with literary and visual analysis, Bernstein offers singular readings of theatrical productions from blackface minstrelsy to Uncle Tom’s Cabin to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; literary works by Joel Chandler Harris, Harriet Wilson, and Frances Hodgson Burnett; material culture including Topsy pincushions, Uncle Tom and Little Eva handkerchiefs, and Raggedy Ann dolls; and visual texts ranging from fine portraiture to advertisements for lard substitute. Throughout, Bernstein shows how “innocence” gradually became the exclusive province of white children—until the Civil Rights Movement succeeded not only in legally desegregating public spaces, but in culturally desegregating the concept of childhood itself.

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Phillip Brian Harper - "Take Me Home": Location, Identity ...
Masculine Anxiety and the Problem of African-American Identity (Oxford, 1996), and Private Affairs: Critical Ventures in the Culture of Social Relations ...
muse.jhu.edu/ journals/ callaloo/ v023/ 23.1harper.html

JSTOR: "Take Me Home": Location, Identity, Transnational Exchange
Private Affairs: Critical Ventures in the Culture of Social Relations. Sexual Cultures. Series ed. Jose Esteban Mufioz and Ann Pellegrini. ...
links.jstor.org/ sici?sici=0161-2492(200024)23%3A1%3C461%3A%22MHLIT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-C

Political & Social Issues
40.49, Private Affairs: Critical Ventures in the Culture of Social Relations (Sexu ~ Philip Brian Harper New York University Press Philip Brian Harper ...
www.myguidebee.co.uk/ cat101707.html

04-0490 currents_cover
urrents. Emory Elliott. Craig Svonkin. U. NIVERSITY OF. C. ALIFORNIA. , R. IVERSIDE. 8. series. Currents. in. americanscholarship ...
exchanges.state.gov/ education/ amstudy/ currents/ american_literary_scholarship.pdf

About the author (1999)

Author of Are We Not Men? Masculine Anxiety and the Problem of African-American Identity and Framing the Margins: The Social Logic of Postmodern Culture, Phillip Brian Harper is Professor of American Studies and English at New York University.

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