Dislocating the Color Line: Identity, Hybridity, and Singularity in African-American Narrative


This book provides a historical context for the recent resurgence of racial division by tracing the path of the color line as it appears in the narrative writings of African-Americans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In readings of slave narratives, "passing novels", and the writings of Charles Chesnutt and Zora Neale Hurston, the author asks: What is the work of division? How does division work? The history of the color line in the United States is coeval with that of the nation. The author suggests that throughout this history, the color line has not functioned simply to name biological or cultural difference, but more important, it has served as a principle of division, classification, and order. This book seeks not only to understand, but also to bring critical pressure on the interpretations, practices, and assumptions that correspond to and buttress representations of racial difference.