Kudos to Robin Bernstein, winner of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education Outstanding Book Award
Robin Bernstein's Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights has won the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Outstanding Book Award.
One of those rare books that shifts the paradigm... A landmark. – Dr. Philip Nel, Director of the Program in Children's Literature, Kansas State University
In Racial Innocence, Robin Bernstein argues that the concept of "childhood innocence" has been central to U.S. racial formation since the mid-nineteenth century. Children---white ones imbued with innocence, black ones excluded from it, and others of color erased by it---figured pivotally in sharply divergent racial agendas from slavery and abolition to anti-black violence and the early civil rights movement. Bernstein takes up a rich archive, including theatrical productions and domestic knickknacks featuring Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Throughout, Bernstein shows how "innocence" gradually became the exclusive province of white children---until the Civil Rights Movement succeeded not only in legally desegregating public spaces, but in culturally desegregating the concept of childhood itself.