Mississippi Valley Historical Association
The goal of Fred Lee in Extraordinary Racial Politics is to explicate a recurring form of political activity that is distinct from either revolutionary politics that convulse the entire polity or normal politics that yield formal laws and institutions. Between these phenomena, he describes a political experience that can be “unusual, episodic, intensive, decisive, and transformative” yet leaves its mark on a polity (p. 2). Lee is less concerned with the laws on the books than he is with an informal set of potent racial formations that are both sticky and generative: sometimes they are partly codified (as with legal segregation), at other times they are generally unseen but fill gaps in our formal understandings of the law (say, in treaties with native populations and policies demanding their removal), and sometimes they supplant them entirely over time (as with latent notions of citizenship).
Robert L. Tsai,
Review of Extraordinary Racial Politics by Fred Lee
Journal of American History
Available at: https://scholarship.law.bu.edu/faculty_scholarship/2643