A cutting-edge book which addresses race in American society through the lens of Obama’s election and presidency is to be launched at Edge Hill University next month.

Co-edited by Kevern Verney, Professor of American History and Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Edge Hill University, Barack Obama and the Myth of a Post-Racial America looks at the historical, cultural and political dimensions of race in the United States

Each chapter addresses controversial issues such as whether Obama can be considered an African-American president, whether his presidency has actually delivered the kind of deep-rooted changes that were initially prophesised, and whether Obama has abandoned his core African-American constituency in favour of projecting a race-neutral approach designed to maintain centrist support.

Professor Verney has numerous publications on African American history and since 2011 he has been a co-organiser of the Barack Obama Research Network, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Talking about his contribution to this latest collection of essays, he said: “The 2008 presidential election was celebrated around the world as a crucial moment in American’s political and racial history. However, by 2011, much of the post-election idealism had dissipated in the wake of an on-going economic and financial crisis, escalating wars in Afghanistan and Libya, and the rise of the right-wing Tea Party movement.

“To date, most books on President Obama have focussed on his personal attributes and avoided, or paid scant attention to his ethnic and racial identities. This volume interrogates the idealised and progressive view of American society advanced by much of the mainstream literature on Obama. It addresses many controversial issues including the notion that Obama has no backbone in regard to defending the interests of America’s impoverished classes.”

The book has been edited in conjunction with Mark Ledwidge, Senior Lecturer in History and American Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University; and Inderjeet Parmar, Professor of International Politics at City University London.

To celebrate the launch of the book, a series of events will take place across the country, including a talk and question and answer session at Edge Hill University on 7th March. Professor Verney will be joined on stage by Mark Ledwidge, as they both discuss their involvement in the book and their own research.