Nr. 39 | Die Farbe »weiß« | Abstract

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Thomas C. Holt

The Power of „Whiteness“

Thomas Holt comments on Barrett’s and Roediger’s essay and places its argument in the context of an ongoing heated debate over the premises and the value of so-called „whiteness studies“, as recent research on race that focuses on white racial identities and ascriptions has come to be termed in the United States. While agreeing with the critics of „whiteness studies“ that „whiteness“ has proven to be an elusive and vague category in some of these studies, Holt stresses that this can hardly mean that historians ought to give up on the task of pinning down what it meant to be „white“ in specific settings and how the concept evolved historically. In order to fully understand the dynamics of racial formation, he argues, it is important not to treat racial marking as a phenomon peculiar to people of color while „white“ remains an un-interrogated given.

Kurz-Bio: Thomas C. Holt

Historiker, James Westfall Thompson Professor of American and African-American History an der University of Chicago

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