Human Rights Book Salon: Jane Dailey - "White Fright: The Sexual Panic at the Heart of America's Racist History" - Mark Bradley

Monday, January 25, 2021 - 5:00pm - 6:15pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Jane Dailey

Jane Dailey will discuss White Fright: The Sexual Panic at the Heart of America's Racist History. She will be joined in conversation by Mark Bradley.

Presented in partnership with the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality

Virtual event


About the book: In White Fright, historian Jane Dailey brilliantly reframes our understanding of the long struggle for African American rights. Those fighting against equality were not motivated only by a sense of innate superiority, as is often supposed, but also by an intense fear of black sexuality. In this urgent investigation, Dailey examines how white anxiety about interracial sex and marriage found expression in some of the most contentious episodes of American history since Reconstruction: in battles over lynching, in the policing of black troops’ behavior overseas during World War II, in the violent outbursts following the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, and in the tragic story of Emmett Till. The question was finally settled—as a legal matter—with the Court’s definitive 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia, which declared interracial marriage a “fundamental freedom.” Placing sex at the center of our civil rights history, White Fright offers a bold new take on one of the most confounding threads running through American history.

About the author: Jane Dailey is an associate professor of history at the University of Chicago. A recipient of fellowships from the American Academy in Berlin and the Guggenheim Foundation, she is also the author and coauthor of several previous books, including Before Jim Crow and Building the American Republic

About the interlocutor: Mark Philip Bradley is Bernadotte E. Schmitt Professor of History and the College, and serves as the Faculty Director of the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights. He is the author of The World Reimagined: Americans and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2016); Vietnam at War: The Search for Meaning (Oxford University Press, 2009); Imagining Vietnam and America: The Making of Postcolonial Vietnam, 1919–1950 (University of North Carolina Press, 2000); and co-editor of Truth Claims: Representation and Human Rights (Rutgers University Press, 2002).

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