Racial and Cultural Imitativeness by Early Americans Is Subject of New Book by Prof. Jason Richards

book cover of early Americans

A new book by Dr. Jason Richards, assistant professor of English at Rhodes, is scheduled for release this month by the University of Virginia Press. It is titled Imitation Nation: Red, White, and Blackface in Early and Antebellum US Literature.

Richards uses literary pieces— including works by Washington Irving, Harriet Beecher Stowe, James Fenimore Cooper, and Martin Delany—to show how early Americans created the nation’s identity by imitating and absorbing the cultures they actually disavowed. His book also offers a new model for understanding the ways in which the nation’s literature took shape from the time of the American Revolution to the Civil War.

Richards’ teaching and research interests at Rhodes include early and 19th-century American literature, postcolonial studies, and critical race theory.