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Rebirthing a Nation - White Women, Identity Politics, and the Internet

Rebirthing a Nation

White Women, Identity Politics, and the Internet

By Wendy K. Z. Anderson
Series: Race, Rhetoric, and Media Series

Hardcover : 9781496832771, 266 pages, April 2021
Paperback : 9781496832764, 266 pages, April 2021

A timely exploration of the role white women play in supporting systems of racism


Although US history is marred by institutionalized racism and sexism, postracial and postfeminist attitudes drive our polarized politics. Violence against people of color, transgender and gay people, and women soar upon the backdrop of Donald Trump, Tea Party affiliates, alt-right members like Richard Spencer, and right-wing political commentators like Milo Yiannopoulos who defend their racist and sexist commentary through legalistic claims of freedom of speech. While more institutions recognize the volatility of these white men’s speech, few notice or have thoughtfully considered the role of white nationalist, alt-right, and conservative white women’s messages that organizationally preserve white supremacy.

In Rebirthing a Nation: White Women, Identity Politics, and the Internet, author Wendy K. Z. Anderson details how white nationalist and alt-right women refine racist rhetoric and web design as a means of protection and simultaneous instantiation of white supremacy, which conservative political actors including Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Ivanka Trump have amplified through transnational politics. By validating racial fears and political divisiveness through coded white identity politics, postfeminist and motherhood discourse functions as a colorblind, gilded cage. Rebirthing a Nation reveals how white nationalist women utilize colorblind racism within digital space, exposing how a postfeminist framework becomes fodder for conservative white women’s political speech to preserve institutional white supremacy.


"Wendy K. Z. Anderson’s research on how white nationalist women are shaping the current renewal of white supremacy in America is fascinating. "

- Nancy Love, professor of political science, Appalachian State University

"This book is best suited for graduate-level courses on race and gender—or race, gender, and media—providing white women’s rhetoric to talk about white feminism specifically. . . . Rebirthing a Nation offers a unique perspective on challenging whiteness in communities often rampant with (latent) racism."

- Molly Wiant Cummins, Feminist Pedagogy

"Rebirthing a Nation offers a much-needed example of how scholars of extremism can ethically engage their subject as well as their own positionality. Though all may not take up the book’s deeply self-reflexive approach, its relevance is only increasing as the sub-field grows and online extremism itself flourishes. Anderson does the work of untangling how contemporary public discourse covertly frames whiteness in ways that appeal to, or appear to insiders to support, white nationalist and white supremacist politics. Rebirthing a Nation prompts rhetoricians to examine the context of our own lives and professional work in combating the project of white supremacy."

- Megan L. Zahay, Quarterly Journal of Speech

"Anderson’s analysis of white women’s rhetoric and its role in sustaining white nationalist, alt-right, and conservative movements is essential work."

- Aiden James Kosciesza, International Journal of Communication 16(2022)

"Rebirthing a Nation skillfully advances the conversation about women, white supremacy, and the alt-right by examining how players figuratively and literally code bias in ways that are often overlooked and underestimated. . . . Anderson fills a gap in the rhetorical discussion about feminism and white identity politics by revealing how white nationalist women’s coded language is covertly shifting moral discourse in the United States. Anderson ends her book with a call to action that she has demonstrated through the vignettes that began each chapter: We must decode and recode the cycle of communication that is perpetuating the power of white nationalists."

- Nicole Yang, Women's Studies in Communication

"Rebirthing a Nation concludes with a call for other white scholars to challenge their complacency, noting that white scholars have the privilege of taking a break from racism and as such have “an ethical duty to engage it” (p. 161). The book provides a compelling foundation to further this research. . . . Anderson’s book would be especially useful to scholars and students of mass communication (e.g., media studies and journalism), women’s and gender studies, political science, and sociology."

- .Cecilia Salomone, Critical Studies in Media Communication