Twenty-First-Century Play, Nineteenth-Century Scripts (review)

Cultural Studies, 26.6

 

Opening section

After James Kincaid’s Erotic Innocence (1998), Lee Edelman’s No Future (2004), and Kathryn Bond Stockton’s Growing Sideways (2009), it would seem that the critical study of literature about children as cultural agents – and of childhood itself as an important cultural designation – have truly become topics worthy of widespread consideration. Robin Bernstein’s Racial Innocence contributes to this growing area of study in unique ways by addressing the racialisation of childhood and by focusing in particular on dolls and doll culture. Racial Innocence describes the ideological project through which racially saturated doll-play is coded as innocent – as though it were race-less – because of its connection to childhood. In this way, Bernstein’s work emphasises the centrality of girls and girlhood to U.S. culture as a whole.

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