Because this book is particularly interested in the ways in which female bodies have negotiated hegemonic, or otherwise emblematic, articulations of “American motherhood” and “reasons of state,” the bodies of white, middle class women feature centrally in its analysis. This is not to say that non-white, non-middle class women do not have to negotiate hegemonic articulations of “American motherhood” and “reasons of state”; clearly, they do. It is, however, to point to “American motherhood” as a classed and raced construct, variously intertwined with “reasons of state” – that is accessed through enactments of race and class, constituting these and nation in turn. It is, in part, a reminder that some bodies can corporeally inhabit the real and symbolic space of “mother of the nation” more comfortably than others. Zillah Eisenstein expresses this as follows:

Nation-building is . . . encoded with a series of racialized/sexualized/ engendered silences. The symbolized woman, as mother of us all, psychically attaches the nation to family . . . with [its] racialized meanings. Colored bodies are scrutinized in relation to this fantasmatic femaleness as though femaleness were a monolithic construction. This process makes americo-euro women painfully visible to women of color, given the racial power they wield.8