Matthew Pratt Guterl

in Seeing Race in Modern America

Published by University of North Carolina Press

Published in print November 2013 | ISBN: 9781469610689
Published online July 2014 | e-ISBN: 9781469612522

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This chapter discusses the hybrid body, as Jean Toomer imagined it—a racial ensemble, or platoon, in miniature, not easily categorized as a “mulatto” or “mestizo.” With its component features easily viewable, discrete, and engaged productively, this body is an anachronism, out of sync with national time and space, but a useful one, serving as a vehicle for conversations about the new world that is emerging. It focuses our attention on the steely body—typically but not exclusively male—capable of moving back and forth between one racial position and another. Born of a disharmonious blending, the racial expressions of this complicated figure sharpen the color lines within the body, allowing for parallel readings.

Keywords: maleness; Jean Toomer; racial ensemble; platoon; mulatto; mestizo; race

Chapter.  6174 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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