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Alchemy of Race and Rights

ISBN-10: 0674014715
ISBN-13: 9780674014718
Edition: 1991
List price: $28.50 Buy it from $2.00
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Description: Patricia Williams is a lawyer and a professor of commercial law, the great-great-granddaughter of a slave and a white southern lawyer. The Alchemy of Race and Rights is an eloquent autobiographical essay in which the author reflects on the  More...

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Book details

List price: $28.50
Copyright year: 1991
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 3/1/1992
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 5.75" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.034
Language: English

Patricia Williams is a lawyer and a professor of commercial law, the great-great-granddaughter of a slave and a white southern lawyer. The Alchemy of Race and Rights is an eloquent autobiographical essay in which the author reflects on the intersection of race, gender, and class. Using the tools of critical literary and legal theory, she sets out her views of contemporary popular culture and current events, from Howard Beach to homelessness, from Tawana Brawley to the law-school classrom, from civil rights to Oprah Winfrey, from Bernhard Goetz to Marth Beth Whitehead. She also traces the workings of "ordinary racism"--everyday occurences, casual, unintended, banal perhaps, but mortifying. Taking up the metaphor of alchemy, Williams casts the law as a mythological text in which the powers of commerce and the Constitution, wealth and poverty, sanity and insanity, wage war across complex and overlapping boundaries of discourse. In deliberately transgressing such boundaries, she persues a path toward racial justice that is, ultimately, transformative. Williams gets to the roots of racism not by fingerpointing but by much gentler methods. Her book is full of anecdote and witness, vivid characters known and observed, trenchant analysis of the law's shortcomings. Only by such an inquiry and such patient phenomenology can we understand racism. The book is deeply moving and not so, finally, just because racism is wrong--we all know that. What we don't know is how to unthink the process that allows racism to persist. THis Williams enables us to see. The result is a testament of considerable beauty, a triumph of moral tactfullness, The result, as the title suggests, is magic.

Patricia J. Williams is James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia Law School.

Excluding Voices: A Necklace of Thoughts on the Ideology of Style
The Brass Ring and the Deep Blue Sea
Gilded Lilies and Liberal Guilt
The Death of the Profane
Trial by Text: A Sequence of Sublimation
Teleology on the Rocks
Crimes Without Passion
The Obliging Shell
Ladder to the Light: A Series of Hinged Turning Points
Fire and Ice
The Pain of Word Bondage
Mirrors and Windows
The Incorruptible Simplicity of Being: A String of Crystalline Paroles
Owning the Self in a Disowned World
Arm's-Length Intimacies
On Being the Object of Property
Notes A Word on Categories
Acknowledgments
Index

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