Southern Mercy: Empire and American Civilization in Juvenile Reform, 1890-1944

By Annette Louise Bickford

© 2016

From the late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century juvenile reformatories served as citizen-building institutions and a political tool of state racism in post-emancipation America. New South advocates cemented their regional affiliation by using these reformatories to showcase mercies which were racialized, gendered, and linked to sexuality.

Southern Mercy uses four historical examples of juvenile reformatories in North Carolina to explore how spectacles of mercy have influenced Southern modernity. Working through archival material pertaining to race and moral uplift, including rare photos from the private archives of Samarcand Manor (the State Home and Industrial Manor for Girls) and restricted archival records of reformatory racial policies, Annette Bickford examines the limits of emancipation, and the exclusions inherent in liberal humanism that distinguish racism in the contemporary "post-race" era.

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  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.7in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED NOV 2016

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    ISBN 9781442613980
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Quick Overview

In Southern Mercy, Annette Bickford examines the limits of emancipation, and the exclusions inherent in liberal humanism that distinguish racism in the contemporary "post-race" era.

Southern Mercy: Empire and American Civilization in Juvenile Reform, 1890-1944

By Annette Louise Bickford

© 2016

From the late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century juvenile reformatories served as citizen-building institutions and a political tool of state racism in post-emancipation America. New South advocates cemented their regional affiliation by using these reformatories to showcase mercies which were racialized, gendered, and linked to sexuality.

Southern Mercy uses four historical examples of juvenile reformatories in North Carolina to explore how spectacles of mercy have influenced Southern modernity. Working through archival material pertaining to race and moral uplift, including rare photos from the private archives of Samarcand Manor (the State Home and Industrial Manor for Girls) and restricted archival records of reformatory racial policies, Annette Bickford examines the limits of emancipation, and the exclusions inherent in liberal humanism that distinguish racism in the contemporary "post-race" era.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.7in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "Who could doubt the value of mercy as a poignant response to injustice? In this fascinating history of juvenile reform in North Carolina, Annette Louise Bickford demonstrates the dangerous power of mercy to rejuvenate racist practices of discipline. Rich in archival detail, theoretical sophistication, and anti-racist commitment, Southern Mercy is a brilliant contribution to contemporary deliberations on the liberal-humanist underpinnings of the modern biopolitical state."


    Robyn Wiegman, Professor, Literature Program, Duke University

    "Southern Mercy provides fascinating insight on juvenile reformatories as well as the administrators who started and implemented them in North Carolina. Annette Louise Bickford has written an important contribution to the literature on race and gender in the southern United States."


    Miroslava Chávez-García, Professor, Department of History, University of California, Santa Barbara

    "Annette Louise Bickford’s Southern Mercy is refreshingly original in its inquiry. The range of settings, made possible by her thorough research, makes for broad comparative possibilities."


    David Roediger, Foundation Professor of American Studies, University of Kansas
  • Author Information

    Annette Bickford is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Science at York University.
  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgements

    Introduction

    Chapter 1: Swamp Island

    Chapter 2: The Samarcand Arson Case

    Chapter 3: The Energy of Despair

    Chapter 4: The Merciful Executioner

    Chapter 5: The Prodigal Son

    Epilogue

    Bibliography

    Notes

    Index

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