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Sunday, January 20, 2013

A "powerhouse of a book"; an "intervention of the highest order"

I'm honored that Douglas A. Jones, a rising star in theatre and performance studies (and, like me, the recipient of an MA in Theatre History, Theory, and Criticism from the University of Maryland), has reviewed Racial Innocence for The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism. Several years ago, Doug delivered one of the best papers I'd ever heard at a conference of the American Studies Association. Since that time, I've watched Doug's career with admiration. I'd happily read anything Doug publishes--and what an uncommon delight that what he has published, this week, is a review of my book. And what a review it is:

“A timely and exemplary contribution to the historiography of racial formation in the United States, Robin Bernstein’s Racial Innocence is an intervention of the highest order. The success of this meticulously researched and carefully argued book rests on two interrelated achievements: the development of a groundbreaking theory and its application toward highly revelatory ends. . . . [W]hat ultimately emerges in Racial Innocence is a historiographic framing that positions children as central actors, literally so, in American economic, political, and social projects. Bernstein writes, ‘Because the culture of childhood so often retains and repurposes that which has elsewhere become abject or abandoned, the study of childhood radically challenges many established historical periodizations’ (7). This is just one of the many invaluable lessons from this powerhouse of a book. Richly illustrated with stunning color plates and a bounty of black-and-white images, Racial Innocence will quickly become a cornerstone text in many fields, ranging from critical race theory and performance studies to American cultural history and childhood studies.” Douglas A. Jones, The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism 27.1 (Fall 2012): 143-146.

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