Friday, April 24, 2009, 3:00–5:00 p.m.
Vara Majette's White Blood: Race and Sexual Freedom in the New South
Leslie Dunlap, Willamette University
Commentator: Sandra Frink, Roosevelt University
Historians tend to cast white female reformers in the New South as asexual proponents of social control, and as complicit partners in white supremacy. This paper explores white women’s search for political and sexual expression in the 1920s through the case of rural reformer and writer Vara Majette. In 1924, Majette published White Blood, a romance novel that challenged some of the white South’s most cherished sexual myths, including the idea that white women needed white men’s “protection” from black men. Her life and writings reveal the complications of southern white women’s relationship to white men and black southerners--and to sexual desire itself--dramatizing how thoroughly white supremacy troubled women’s twentieth-century quest for sexual freedom.
All papers are pre-circulated electronically to those who plan to attend the seminar in person. For a copy of the paper, e-mail Heather Radke at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 312-255-3524. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.
The Newberry Library Seminar on Women and Gender is co-sponsored by the History Departments of Northeastern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture at the University of Chicago
Scholl Center for
American History and Culture
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