Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self

Paperback | December 8, 2005

byLinda Martin Alcoff

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In the heated debates over identity politics, few theorists have looked carefully at the conceptualizations of identity assumed by all sides. Visible Identities fills this gap. Drawing on both philosophical sources as well as theories and empirical studies in the social sciences, Martin Alcoffmakes a strong case that identities are not like special interests, nor are they doomed to oppositional politics, nor do they inevitably lead to conformism, essentialism, or reductive approaches to judging others. Identities are historical formations and their political implications are open tointerpretation. But identities such as race and gender also have a powerful visual and material aspect that eliminativists and social constructionists often underestimate. Visible Identities offers a careful analysis of the political and philosophical worries about identity and argues that these worries are neither supported by the empirical data nor grounded in realistic understandings of what identities are. Martin Alcoff develops a more realistic characterizationof identity in general through combining phenomenological approaches to embodiment with hermeneutic concepts of the interpretive horizon. Besides addressing the general contours of social identity, Martin Alcoff develops an account of the material infrastructure of gendered identity, compares andcontrasts gender identities with racialized ones, and explores the experiential aspects of racial subjectivity for both whites and non-whites. In several chapters she looks specifically at Latino identity as well, including its relationship to concepts of race, the specific forms of anti-Latinoracism, and the politics of mestizo or hybrid identity.

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In the heated debates over identity politics, few theorists have looked carefully at the conceptualizations of identity assumed by all sides. Visible Identities fills this gap. Drawing on both philosophical sources as well as theories and empirical studies in the social sciences, Martin Alcoffmakes a strong case that identities are not...

Linda Martin Alcoff is Director of Women's Studies and Professor of Philosophy, Women's Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:344 pages, 5.98 × 9.09 × 0.98 inPublished:December 8, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195137353

ISBN - 13:9780195137354

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Table of Contents

Part One: Identities Real and ImaginedIntroduction: Identity and Visibility. 1. The Pathologizing of Identity. 2. The Political Critique. 3. The Philosophical Critique. 4. Real Identities. Part Two: Gender Identity and Gender Differences5. The Identity Crisis in Feminist Theory. 6. The Metaphysics of Gender and Sexual Difference. Part Three: Racialized Identities and Racist Subjects7. A Phenomenology of Racial Embodiment. 8. Racism and Visible Race. 9. The Whiteness Question. Part Four: Latino/a Particularity10. Latinos and the Categories of Race. 11. Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Black-White Binary. 12. On Being Mixed. Conclusion. Notes. Bibliography. Index.

Editorial Reviews

"With her nuanced views of these historical variable visible identities and her careful analyses and arguments against the ways alternative conceptualizations have unfolded in history and in philosophy and political theory, Linda Martin Alcoff has indeed, as she hoped, constructed a'bridge"...over 'the huge gulf that separates races and genders in their country.'"--Hypatia