Lee D. Baker explores what racial categories mean to the American public and how these meanings are reinforced by anthropology, popular culture, and the law. Focusing on the period between two landmark Supreme Court decisions– Plessy v. Ferguson (the so-called "separate but equal" doctrine established in 1896) and Brown v. Board of Education (the public school desegregation decision of 1954)–Baker shows how racial categories change over time. Baker paints a vivid picture of the relationships between specific African American and white scholars, who orchestrated a paradigm shift within the social sciences from ideas based on Social Darwinism to those based on cultural relativism. He demonstrates that the greatest impact on the way the law codifies racial differences has been made by organizations such as the NAACP, which skillfully appropriated the new social science to exploit the politics of the Cold War.
Life in America: Identity and Everyday Experience is a fascinating collection of readings that explores how people negotiate identity in the United States today. Brings together readings that provide a thoroughly engaging and fascinating look at central issues of identity and what it means to be American. Explores the tension between identity and identification to help readers begin to understand how people creatively confront the perks and perils of identity in the United States. Offers a look at a wide range of subjects including: violence and video games, queer pilgrimages to San Francisco, Filipina critiques of "sleeping around," and the significance of "lowriders" in Hispano/Chicano culture.
Papers from the Symposium: Cultural Subjects and Objects: The Legacy of Franz Boas and Its Futures in Anthropology, Academe, and Human Rights.
2001 Profit, Power, and Privilege: The Racial Politics of Ancestry. Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, & Soceity 3(4):66-72.
Baker, Lee D. and Thomas C. Patterson 1994 Race, Racism, and the History of U.S. Anthropology. Transforming Anthropology (5)1:1-7.
1998 Unraveling the Boasian Discourse: The Racial Politics of "Culture" in School Desegregation, 1944-1954. Transforming Anthropology 7:(1)15-32.
2001 Response to 'Philosophical Aspects of the "AAA Statement on 'Race' " Anthropological Theory Vol. 1(4)467- 471.
1999 Columbia University's Franz Boas: He Led the Undoing of Scientific Racism Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. Vol. 22 (Winter):89-96.
2009 The Location of Franz Boas within the African-American Struggle. In Franz Boas: Kultur, Sprache, Rasse. Friedrich Pöhl & Bernhard Tilg, eds. Pp. 111-129. Wege einer antirassistischen Anthropologie, Wien, LIT Verlag.
2009 Saggin’ and Braggin’ In Anthropology Off the Shelf: Anthropologists on Writing. Alisse Waterston & Maria Vesperi, eds. Pp. 46-59 London: Wiley-Blackwell
1996 Review of Rethinking Race: Franz Boaz and His Contemporaries, by Vernon J. Williams, Jr. American Journal of Sociology 102(3):909-910.
1999 Review of The Roots of African American Identity: Memory and History in Free Antebellum Communities, by Elizabeth Rauh Bethel. Social Forces 78(1)372-374.
2000 Review of African-American Pioneers in Anthropology, edited Faye V. Harrison and Ira E. Harrison. American Anthropologist 102(2):368-370.
2003 Review of Delimiting Anthropology: Occasional Inquiries and Reflections. George W. Stocking, Jr. Journal of Anthropological Research 59:252-253.
2003 Affirmative Action and Anthropological Research. Anthropology News (October) 44(7):8.