"Robin Bernstein’s Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights is a historiographic tour de force that traces a genealogy of the invention of the innocent (white) child and its racialized roots in 19th and 20th century U.S. popular culture. With special attention to objects that perform as “scriptive” things in themselves and in relation to dramatic works like Uncle Tom’s Cabin—Bernstein argues for the importance of everyday objects and print items as formative of racial ideologies that haunt us to the present day. Especially crucial is Bernstein’s focus on objects and texts especially designed for girls and women--i.e. dolls--that are often not taken seriously as cultural artifacts of great import. Her rich archive and nuanced analysis will make this a classic book for theater historians and performance theorists."
Many thanks to the awards committee--Harvey Young, Suk-Young Kim, and Patricia Ybarra--for this award and for the wonderful response to Racial Innocence. I'm deeply honored.