That Middle World: The Politics of Passing, from the Antebellum Period to Rachel Dolezal
From the New Books Network's Book of the Day Podcast
In her provocative and innovative study of racial passing literature, That Middle World (UNC Press, 2020), Julia Charles offers a nuanced approach to African American passing literature and examines how mixed-race performers articulated their sense of selfhood and communal belonging in both past and present and invented cultural spaces for themselves—a place she terms “that middle world.”
Charles, a professor in the Department of English at Auburn University, focuses on the construction and performance of racial identity in works by writers from the Antebellum Period through Reconstruction, connecting these passing or crossing narratives to more contemporary examples of racial performativity—including Rachel Dolezal and her Black-passing controversy, the FX show Atlanta, and the musical Show Boat.
Julia S. Charles is assistant professor of English at Auburn University.
James West is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in History at Northumbria University, UK. He is the author of Ebony Magazine and Lerone Bennett Jr.: Popular Black History in Postwar America (University of Illinois Press, 2020)