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Transformable Race – Surprising Metamorphoses in the Literature of Early America - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Transformable Race: Surprising Metamorphoses in the Literature of Early America

Katy L. Chiles


Racial thought at the close of the eighteenth century differed radically from that of the nineteenth century, when the concept of race as a fixed biological category would emerge. Instead, many early Americans thought that race was an exterior bodily trait, incrementally produced by environmental factors, and continuously subject to change. While historians have documented aspects of eighteenth-century racial thought, Transformable Race is the first scholarly book that identifies how this thinking informs the figurative language in the literature of this crucial period. It argues that the noti ... More

Keywords: race, early American literature, racial formation, critical race theory, African American literature, Native American literature, eighteenth century, transformable race, natural history, racial identity

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780199313501
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199313501.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Katy L. Chiles, author
University of Tennessee, Knoxville