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Unsettled StatesNineteenth-Century American Literary Studies$
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Dana Luciano and Ivy Wilson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479857722

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479857722.001.0001

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Race, Reenactment, and the “Natural-Born Citizen”

Race, Reenactment, and the “Natural-Born Citizen”

(p.76) 3 Race, Reenactment, and the “Natural-Born Citizen”
Unsettled States

Tavia Nyong’o

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on the “historical” claims of the Tea Party movement as it reorients and reinvents the Revolutionary War archive. The temporal bend that loops the Tea Party to this revolutionary event camouflages its stronger historical investment in the 14th Amendment's post-Civil War reversal of the foundational terms of citizenship. Tracing the “queasiness” of this time-shifting alliance with white racial innocence, the chapter sets a contemporary performance of archival reenactment against the creative engagement with citizenship portrayed in David Walker's 1829 Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World. Its analysis of the Tea-Party inspired reading of the Constitution is shaped by two books, Rebecca Schneider's Performing Remains (2011) and Jill Lepore's The Whites of Their Eyes (2010), both of which engage aspects of historical reenactment culture in America.

Keywords:   Tea Party movement, Revolutionary War archive, archival reenactment, racial innocence, David Walker, Rebecca Schneider, Jill Lepore, American culture

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