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Craniums, Criminals, and the ‘Cursed Race': Italian Anthropology in American Racial Thought, 1861–1924

  • Peter D'Agostino (a1)

George Lipsitz, reflecting upon a growing body of American studies scholarship on whiteness, claims we now have a better understanding of “how people who left Europe as Calabrians and Bohemians became something called ‘whites' when they got to America.” As a summary of whiteness studies the statement is accurate. The verb “to become” in Lipsitz's assertion emphasizes the importance of deconstructing race in order to analyze it as an ideological and historical process. The statement implies, however, that European society did not also employ unstable hierarchical racial taxonomies. Indeed, the notion that it was in the United States where people defined by a European region or nation of origin became a race, isolates American racial thought from its Euro-American matrix.George Lipsitz, “The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: Racialized Social Democracy and the ‘White' Problem in American Studies,” American Quarterly 43, 3 (Sept. 1995): 370.

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Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
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