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Not Quite White


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Study of the historical development of the category "white trash" in American culture.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements ix
Introduction: White Trash as Social Difference: Groups, Boundaries, and Inequalities 1
1. Lubbers, Crackers, and Poor White Trash: Borders and Boundaries in the Colonies and the Early Republic 21
2. Imagining Poor Whites in the Antebellum South: Abolitionist and Pro-Slavery Fictions 47
3. "Three Generations of Imbeciles Are Enough": American Eugenics and Poor White Trash 65
4. "The Disease of Laziness": Crackers, Poor Whites, and Hookworm Crusaders in the New South 96
5. Limning the Boundaries of Whiteness 133
Notes 145 145
References 181
Index 211

About the Author

Matt Wray is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a 2006-2008 Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at Harvard University. He is a coeditor of The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness; Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life; and White Trash: Race and Class in America.


?White trash? What did you just call me? Not Quite White provides the best social history of America?s most quizzical moniker in the racial-class system. From its colonial origins to the era of eugenics to the public health campaign to eradicate hookworm in the South, Matt Wray?s careful analysis documents the roots of this label, showing what its apparently oxymoronic nature tells us about the larger system of symbolic stratification in the United States.??Dalton Conley, author of Honky "Matt Wray's Not Quite White is a richly textured social history of how and why the nation has come to conceive, categorize, and routinely vilify that part of its population known as 'white trash.' Because this subject has rarely been the focus of systematic scholarly inquiry, that alone would be a notable achievement. Yet the book aims for more--to propose a boundary theory of why 'white trash' has had so many uses--from literature to politics to social science. By any measure, this book is a major contribution."--Troy Duster, New York University

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