Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name





History, Black.


Simmons, Christina,




Through an examination of historical works written by blacks and whites, and the criticisms made about their publications, this thesis traces the history of the authorship debate. The first chapter begins with a summary explaining why black nationalists felt so strongly that white authored black history weakened their liberating efforts. Next, I compare nationalists' claims with histories written by whites during the 1970s. My study confirms that nationalists' fears were partially justified because whites dominated black history. The next chapter examines writings in American women's history and discovers that black feminists re-problematized white authorship. Unlike the history of slavery, African-American women's history was developed by black women. In addition, most black feminists were in agreement that white feminists had to work harder to incorporate race into their findings. Once white feminists began to address race, the debate re-surfaced and some black feminists challenged white women's attempts to include race. Black activist and feminist Bell Hooks was critical of whites writing black history. She also argued that whites could write about blacks if they challenged structures of domination, like the organization of race, class and gender. The final chapter focuses on the development of postmodern theory in historical investigation and explores the consequences of whites studying blacks in a changed intellectual milieu. Since postmodernism challenged many of the assumptions and practices of contemporary scholarship, it became easier for whites to write about blacks without appropriating their voices. Postmodernist historians such as Joan Scott, for example, deconstructed the concept of difference and argued that a perception of "other" was something discursively produced. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)Dept. of History, Philosophy, and Political Science. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1993 .C66. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 33-04, page: 1127. Adviser: Christina Simmons. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1994.