Special Issue "Why Race Matters: The Legacies and Presentation of Race Relations in American History"

A special issue of Genealogy (ISSN 2313-5778).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2023 | Viewed by 8839

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Brandon T. Jett
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Social Sciences, Florida South Western State College, Ft. Myers, FL 33919, USA
Interests: race relations; crime; criminal justice; policing; violence; southern history
Dr. Timothy Fritz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of History, Mount St. Mary's University, Emmitsburg, MD 21727, USA
Interests: history of race and religion; southern history; Atlantic world history

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

 Over the last year, the wider public has become increasingly interested in race relations in the United States. Much of this stems from the seemingly intractable problem of police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Still, as scholars have demonstrated over the last several decades, racism, white supremacy, and racial inequality have been endemic to American institutions, policies, and customs since the colonial period. African Americans and other racial and ethnic groups have systematically engaged with an inequitable system that white Americans explicitly and, at times, implicitly support and perpetuate. Gaps in understanding the intricacies and fluidity of race shape public perceptions of its impact across American history. While scholarship in the broad field of race relations in American history is robust, this volume will trace developments in the research, public understanding, and presentation of American race relations since emancipation in 1865. Our goal is to examine the myriad ways that race continues to shape American life, policies, institutions, and customs well after the end of slavery following the Civil War. At the same time, this volume will also explore how racially minoritized groups have navigated, worked through, and pushed back against the white supremacist structures that shaped so much of post-emancipation American history.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400–600 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the guest editors ([email protected] and [email protected]) or to the Genealogy Editorial Office ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer review.

Some potential areas of focus may include the following, although other submissions are welcome and encouraged:
  • Explorations into the effects of race relations on interpersonal relationships, such as marriage, friendship, employer/employee;
  • Research into race relations and identity;
  • Examinations of the connections between politics and race relations;
  • The connections between the criminal justice system and race relations;
  • Investigations into immigrations, assimilation, and race relations;
  • Studies tracing the impact of race relations on foreign policy;

The presentation of the history of race relations to public audiences.

Tentative completion schedule: 

  • Abstract submission deadline: August 31, 2021
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: September 15, 2021
  • Full manuscript deadline: December 31, 2021

Authors submitting to this special issue will not be charged any Article Processing Charges (APCs).

Dr. Brandon T. Jett
Dr. Timothy Fritz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Race Relations
  • Racism
  • U.S. History

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Article
Race and Racism in Bermuda
Genealogy 2022, 6(4), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy6040089 - 21 Nov 2022
Viewed by 670
Abstract
The legacy of chattel slavery persists in the lives of Black people all over the world. The current state of race relations in Bermuda is shaped by the underlying features of European domination and imperialism that gave birth to chattel slavery. The current [...] Read more.
The legacy of chattel slavery persists in the lives of Black people all over the world. The current state of race relations in Bermuda is shaped by the underlying features of European domination and imperialism that gave birth to chattel slavery. The current racial climate in Bermuda is an example of the long-term impact of chattel slavery and the system of controls that followed. The damaging consequences of these systems of exploitation and oppression continue to shape the life chances and opportunities of Black people. Racial ideas, attitudes, and behaviors influence contemporary race relations between Black and White people throughout the African Diaspora, including Bermuda, which is the focus of this essay. Full article
Article
Days of Future Past: Why Race Matters in Metadata
Genealogy 2022, 6(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy6020047 - 26 May 2022
Viewed by 1742
Abstract
While marginalized as a juvenile medium, comics serve as an archive of our collective experience. Emerging with the modern city and deeply affected by race, class, and gender norms, comics are a means to understand the changes linked to identity and power in [...] Read more.
While marginalized as a juvenile medium, comics serve as an archive of our collective experience. Emerging with the modern city and deeply affected by race, class, and gender norms, comics are a means to understand the changes linked to identity and power in the United States. For further investigation, we turn to one such collective archive: the MSU Library Comics Art Collection (CAC), which contains over 300,000 comics and comic artifacts dating as far back as 1840. As noted on the MSU Special Collections’ website, “the focus of the collection is on published work in an effort to present a complete picture of what the American comics readership has seen, especially since the middle of the 20th century”. As one of the world’s largest publicly accessible comics archives, a community of scholars and practitioners created the Comics as Data North America (CaDNA) dataset, which comprises library metadata from the CAC to explore the production, content, and creative communities linked to comics in North America. This essay will draw on the Comics as Data North America (CaDNA) dataset at Michigan State University to visualize patterns of racial depiction in North American comics from 1890–2018. Our visualizations highlight how comics serve as a visual record of representation and serve as a powerful marker of marginalization central to popular cultural narratives in the United States. By utilizing data visualization to explore the ways we codify and describe identity, we seek to call attention to the constructed nature of race in North America and the continuing work needed to imagine race beyond the confines of the established cultural legacy. Full article
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Article
Racial Ideology in Government Films: The Past and Present of the US Information Service’s Men of the Forest (1952)
Genealogy 2022, 6(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy6020041 - 07 May 2022
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Abstract
Movies beyond the scope of Hollywood and entertainment have shaped notions of race in American culture since the early decades of cinema. A range of nontheatrical sponsors and creators in the US made films to serve practical functions in society—to inform, to organize, [...] Read more.
Movies beyond the scope of Hollywood and entertainment have shaped notions of race in American culture since the early decades of cinema. A range of nontheatrical sponsors and creators in the US made films to serve practical functions in society—to inform, to organize, to persuade, to promote, etc. The US federal government was a major sponsor of many of these films, which provided American and foreign audiences depictions of race that differed considerably from popular commercial images. For example, Men of the Forest, a film made in 1952 by the United States Information Service focuses on the Hunters, a Black family who owns land and a forestry business in rural Georgia. A documentary of sorts, the film highlights Black life, work, and land ownership in the South in ways not seen in popular feature films of the day. Yet, in the film and others like it, histories of institutional racism are woven into cinematic form and content in ways that are distinct from the entertainment industry. The creators of Men of the Forest omit details of segregation in the South to emphasize the Hunter family as examples of American democracy, a choice suited to the film’s Cold War purpose: to counter the anti-American message of Soviet propaganda for foreign audiences. On one hand, by producing and distributing the film, the federal government acknowledged Black farmers and landowners in the Jim Crow South. On the other hand, it avoided the structural inequality surrounding the Hunters to frame their reality as an example of American democratic progress for international circulation. Today, government films like Men of the Forest prompt contemporary reflection on the institutional histories they represent and their evolution into the present. The film and many others are available online due to the digitization of collections from the National Archives, Library of Congress, and elsewhere. With this increase in access, contemporary scholars have the ability to investigate how the federal government and its various internal entities mediated racial ideologies with moving image technologies. As an example of such research, this essay examines Men of the Forest by focusing on the past and present contradictions that arise from its depiction of a Black family with land and an agricultural business in rural Georgia. Two recent events shed light on the histories reflected in the film and their contemporary significance. In 2018, Descendants of Men of the Forest, The Legacy Continues—a documentary created by family members of the film’s original participants—contextualized the original production as evidence of the Hunter family’s legacy in the community of Guyton, Georgia. Underlying this local effort, Men of the Forest serves as an important historical event and record of the family and the community. On a broader scale, in March 2021, Congress passed a large relief package for disadvantaged minority farmers, intended to help alleviate decades of systemic racism in government agricultural programs. Lawsuits from white farmers and conservative organizations followed quickly, challenging the provision of government aid based on race. In this federal context, Men of the Forest exposes an institutional image of individual success that downplays the structural racism facing people of color, especially those with agricultural livelihoods. Even as politics and legislation evolve, this vision of democracy once exported by the federal government has widespread currency and accumulating effects. The connections between Men of the Forest and these recent events reveal the racial politics at play in government films and the ways in which they take shape in the real world beyond the screen. Full article
Article
Israel and the Crisis of Radical Blackness
Genealogy 2022, 6(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy6010019 - 25 Feb 2022
Viewed by 2417
Abstract
This article examines the reach of Black Internationalism, a dialogue on race, politics, and modernity nurtured by Black nationalists in the United States, between 1971 and 1974. It focuses on Israel’s encounter with the topic and how Israeli political leaders neutralize its effects. [...] Read more.
This article examines the reach of Black Internationalism, a dialogue on race, politics, and modernity nurtured by Black nationalists in the United States, between 1971 and 1974. It focuses on Israel’s encounter with the topic and how Israeli political leaders neutralize its effects. Israel, one of America’s closes Cold War allies, faced three explosive movements with ties to the discourse and politics of Black Internationalism—the Israeli Black Panthers, the Black Hebrews, and the Jewish Defense League. Each group challenged the narrative of inclusion the nation cultivated since its inception. Israel’s ability to manage the crisis of Black Internationalism demonstrates the topic’s global reach in the final stages of the Cold War, but also its limitations. Full article

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Essay
The Age of Discrimination: Race and American Foreign Policy after World War I
Genealogy 2022, 6(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy6010016 - 14 Feb 2022
Viewed by 1455
Abstract
The decade after World War I has traditionally been defined as an “age of isolation.” The American public’s disillusionment with World War I, highlighted by the dismal failure of President Woodrow Wilson’s efforts to join the League of Nations, led to “A Return [...] Read more.
The decade after World War I has traditionally been defined as an “age of isolation.” The American public’s disillusionment with World War I, highlighted by the dismal failure of President Woodrow Wilson’s efforts to join the League of Nations, led to “A Return to Isolationism,” according to a brief summary of American diplomacy produced by the Department of State. Despite the fact that historian William Appleman Williams attempted to destroy the “legend of isolationism in the 1920s” and other scholars have followed his lead with a string of publications recounting the very active U.S. engagement with the rest of the world following the war, many textbooks continue to describe the 1920s as an age wherein the United States withdrew into a shell of isolation. My article suggests that one way of reconciling these apparently contradictory interpretations of American foreign policy in the decade after World War I is to examine one particular factor that has been largely overlooked: Whether “isolationist” or not, the United States during those years utilized race as a way to simultaneously build walls in and around the American nation as well as construct the ideological foundations for U.S. postwar expansion and engagement. Full article
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