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Open Access Publications from the University of California

In Defense of the Political: Housework and Policework in the Post-Civil Rights Era

  • Author(s): Anselmo, Philip
  • Advisor(s): Amiran, Eyal
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

This dissertation argues that concerns about labor, productivity, and social mobility are inextricable from anxieties about the gendered and racial reconfiguration of the reigning political reality as it was contested in the last years of the Civil Rights Movement and the decade after. This claim is supported through material analyses of films, congressional hearings, theoretical essays, and television broadcasts from the period (roughly 1967-1983). Methodologically, the work of analysis is informed by object relations theories of care and defense and political and social critique from the post-Marxist emancipatory tradition of critical theory. In contrast with more traditional studies of post-civil rights era literature, this dissertation sees its objects in relational terms as sites of facilitation and frustration where sociopolitical anxieties about the nation, the home, and the state of work are worked through — or not.

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