Building a New Racialized State
Reviews and Awards
Winner, 2016 Charles Taylor Book Award, Interpretive Methodologies and Methods Section, American Political Science Association
"In this original and meticulously researched book, Daniel Kato provides an impressive argument about the role of the federal government in both the persistence of lynching and efforts to enact anti-lynching legislation. Drawing on a range of theoretical arguments and empirical sources, Liberalizing Lynching is a major scholarly contribution to analyses of the American State and racial inequality with implications for contemporary politics. Kato explains how, for close to the hundred years before 1966, the federal government accommodated the concurrent existence of liberal democracy and murderous lynch mobs. Displaying mastery of existing scholarship, Kato exposes the limits of standard notions of America as a weak state. I highly recommend Liberalizing Lynching." -Desmond King, University of Oxford, and author of Separate and Unequal: African Americans and the US Federal Government.
"For nearly a century in the American South, lynching as a practice of racialized violence persisted openly and with minimal federal intervention. In his powerful new book, Daniel Kato not only provides a compelling and novel explanation for the reasons why. He also forcefully contends that one cannot understand either the character of American liberalism or how the American state developed over the course of the twentieth century without placing the question of racial violence at the center. Strikingly argued and displaying conceptual and historical mastery, Liberalizing Lynching is an essential and thought-provoking reinterpretation of American constitutional history as well as a timely reminder of the continuing effects of race on the body politic." -Aziz Rana, Cornell Law School, and author of The Two Faces of American Freedom
"Using the case of lynchings of African Americans - a crime that legally had no perpetrators, yet claimed thousands of victims - Kato powerfully argues that far from being unable to act against lynching, the federal government actively chose to not act. Kato employs the theory of 'constitutional anarchy' to trace how the different branches of the federal government allowed this domestic terrorism to occur. In the wake of recent deaths of unarmed African American citizens at the hands of the police, what recourse do the people have? Kato offers a sobering look at the willingness of the American state to protect all of its citizens." -Kimberley S. Johnson, Barnard College, and author of Reforming Jim Crow: Southern Politics and State in the Age before Brown