Communing with the Dead: The “New Métis,” Métis Identity Appropriation, and the Displacement of Living Métis Culture

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Canada, Media Archive on 2018-05-22 02:25Z by Steven

Communing with the Dead: The “New Métis,” Métis Identity Appropriation, and the Displacement of Living Métis Culture

The American Indian Quarterly
Volume 42, Number 2, Spring 2018
pages 62-190

Adam Gaudry, Assistant Professor
Faculty of Native Studies & Department of Political Science
University of Alberta

Métis are witnessing an increase in the number of self-identified “Métis” individuals and groups lacking affiliation with long-standing Métis communities. For these groups, genealogical discovery of previously unknown Indian ancestors acts as a catalyst for personal self-discovery, spiritual growth, and ultimately the assertion of a Métis identity, regardless of whether or not this identity is accepted by contemporary Métis communities. These “new Métis” do not situate their Métis identity in the lived practice of Métis communities that have persisted for generations throughout Western Canada but in written genealogical reports that link them to long-dead Indigenous relatives who may not have even understood themselves to be Métis. In light of this problematic “new Métis” orientation to “the dead,” this article explores the narratives generated by the unprecedented growth of Métis self-identification, particularly in Eastern Canada, and how shifting conceptions of Métis identity have inaugurated a problematic “new Métis” subjectivity.

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Black-Asian Counterintimacies: Reading Sui Sin Far in Jamaica

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Passing, Women on 2018-05-22 02:17Z by Steven

Black-Asian Counterintimacies: Reading Sui Sin Far in Jamaica

J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists
Volume 6, Number 1, Spring 2018
pages 197-204
DOI: 10.1353/jnc.2018.0015

Christine “Xine” Yao, SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of English
University of British Columbia

In “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of a Eurasian,” Edith Maude Eaton, writing as Sui Sin Far, reflects on her time in Jamaica as a white-passing mixed-race woman.1 Rumor of her Chinese ancestry provokes a white English naval officer to seek her out for sexual favors, a scenario still all too familiar to women, particularly women of color, today: a predatory conversation sheathed in friendly euphemisms. At first Far believes his visit has to do with her work as a journalist, but his repeated “silly and offensive laugh” suggests otherwise.2 When she attempts to dismiss him, he laughs again, “There’s always plenty of time for good times. That’s what I am here for.”3 After commenting on her “nice little body,” he invites her to sail with him where “I will tell you all about the sweet little Chinese girls I met when we were at Hong Kong. They’re not so shy!”4 The officer’s framing of her presumed affective and sexual availability, and the foregrounding of his own sexual and social prerogative, are an everyday life manifestation of what Lisa Lowe names a “‘political economy’ of intimacy … a particular calculus governing the production, distribution, and possession of intimacy” predicated on empire and settler colonialism.5 The man’s proposition to Far is a demand for her friendliness because those other Chinese girls in Hong Kong are “not so shy.” In her rejection of his desire for intimacy, she risks the dangerous backlash that attends injured white masculinity along with broader social consequences that could impact the relative privilege of her personal and professional life in the Caribbean. Still, instead of a “friendly” relationship to whiteness, Sui Sin Far seeks alternative intimacies. In the same section of her memoir she juxtaposes this incident with musings about her position as a white-passing mixed-race Chinese woman in relation to her observations about antiblackness in the West Indies. Despite the warnings of the English who tell her to fear the “‘brown boys’ of the island,” the writer considered the mother of Asian North American literature affirms a sense of transnational solidarity between peoples of color in her affective racial identifications. “I too am of the ‘brown people’ of the earth,” she confides to her readers, prefiguring, in this assertion, the anti-colonial alliance between African and Asian nations that would be formalized in 1955 at the Bandung Conference in Indonesia.6

Intimacy operates, here, as a heuristic for understanding how the racialized and gendered pressures of domesticity, sentimentality, and sexuality are imbricated with the projects of empire. These exploitative relations undergird the transnational violences of settler colonialism, slavery, and indentured servitude—systems which, as Lowe argues, enable the liberal fictions of white Western individuals, who are able to claim intimacy as one of the privileges associated with the private sphere, as a property of their citizenship in modern civil society. In the shift from the late nineteenth-century threatening “Yellow Peril” to modern-day deserving “model minority,” Asian Americans, particularly those of East Asian descent, are lured by false promises of inclusion into this liberal fiction on the basis of intimate affiliation with whiteness. Among the processes of comparative racialization that emerge from transnational intimacies, Ellen Wu traces how Asian Americans were complicit in the anti-black creation of the “model minority” category in the American cultural imaginary.7 Nonetheless, the solidarity work of activists like Grace Lee Boggs and Yuri Kochiyama, along with studies of earlier black-Asian cultural and political engagements by scholars like Edlie Wong and Julia H. Lee, indicates an alternative genealogy of counterintimacies that disrupts those aligned with the afterlife of imperial exploitation.8 In defiance of the coercive pressures made manifest through sexual violence and emotional labor, the mixed-race Asian and black women of Sui Sin Far’s fiction and nonfiction writings reorient these indices of transnational power relations away from their focus on whiteness and toward the possibility of resistance through affective connections that center peoples of color.

In Far’s rediscovered Jamaican stories and journalism…

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Voice Business presents Wirework

Posted in Africa, Arts, Forthcoming Media, South Africa, United Kingdom on 2018-05-21 15:14Z by Steven

Voice Business presents Wirework

Tristan Bates Theatre
1A Tower St, Covent Garden
London, United Kingdom WC2H 9NP
Tuesday, 2018-07-03 through Saturday, 2018-07-07, 19:30 (Thurs & Sat Matinees 14:30)

A play about the unexpected relationship between Koos Malgas, a Cape Coloured shepherd and Helen Martins, a one-time actor and teacher, in the creation of the Owl House – an extraordinary environmental piece full of animated sculptures and pulsating light montages.

Set in the isolated landscape of the South African Karoo and inspired by images from pictures and postcards, their world becomes dominated by form and colour. In her struggle to find the ‘light’, Helen looks towards Mecca as Koos faces the reality of apartheid prejudice and survival.

BRITISH PREMIERE, first performed in South Africa, 2009

Supported by Arts Council England

CAST
Helen Elaine Wallace
Koos Kurt Kansley

CREATIVE
Director Jessica Higgs
Scenographer Declan Randall

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Mandarin Brazil: Race, Representation, and Memory

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2018-05-21 15:13Z by Steven

Mandarin Brazil: Race, Representation, and Memory

Stanford University Press
August 2018
256 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9781503605046
Paper ISBN: 9781503606012

Ana Paulina Lee, Assistant Professor of Luso-Brazilian Studies
Columbia University, New York, New York

In Mandarin Brazil, Ana Paulina Lee explores the centrality of Chinese exclusion to the Brazilian nation-building project, tracing the role of cultural representation in producing racialized national categories. Lee considers depictions of Chineseness in Brazilian popular music, literature, and visual culture, as well as archival documents and Brazilian and Qing dynasty diplomatic correspondence about opening trade and immigration routes between Brazil and China. In so doing, she reveals how Asian racialization helped to shape Brazil’s image as a racial democracy.

Mandarin Brazil begins during the second half of the nineteenth century, during the transitional period when enslaved labor became unfree labor—an era when black slavery shifted to “yellow labor” and racial anxieties surged. Lee asks how colonial paradigms of racial labor became a part of Brazil’s nation-building project, which prioritized “whitening,” a fundamentally white supremacist ideology that intertwined the colonial racial caste system with new immigration labor schemes. By considering why Chinese laborers were excluded from Brazilian nation-building efforts while Japanese migrants were welcomed, Lee interrogates how Chinese and Japanese imperial ambitions and Asian ethnic supremacy reinforced Brazil’s whitening project. Mandarin Brazil contributes to a new conversation in Latin American and Asian American cultural studies, one that considers Asian diasporic histories and racial formation across the Americas.

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Legacies of Postwar Japan’s “War Bride” Era

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, United States, Women on 2018-05-21 15:10Z by Steven

Legacies of Postwar Japan’s “War Bride” Era

Japanese American National Museum
100 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90012
Telephone: (213) 625-0414
2018-06-30, 09:00-17:30 PDT (Local Time)

Presented in partnership with the Hapa Japan Project at USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture.

During and shortly after the US-Allied Occupation of Japan, the Japanese women who fraternized with soldiers often met opposition from their families and were shunned by other Japanese. Many mixed-raced children faced severe prejudice for being “impure” and born from the former enemy.

This symposium brings together various stakeholders to tell the stories of the war brides and their children. By focusing on the memories, realities, and legacies of this community, this groundbreaking gathering will create opportunities for listening, discussing, healing, and empowering attendees.

Symposium Schedule

9:00am – 9:30am Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Duncan Williams (USC Shinso Ito Center and Hapa Japan Project)
  • Fredrick Cloyd (author of Dream of the Water Children)

9:30am – 10:40am Session 1 – Occupation/Migration: Women, Children and the U.S. Military Presence

  • Etsuko Crissey (author of Okinawa’s GI Brides: Their Lives in America)
  • Mire Koikari (University of Hawai‘i; author of Cold War Encounters in US-Occupied Okinawa: Women, Militarized Domesticity, and Transnationalism in East Asia)
  • Elena Tajima Creef (Wellesley College; author of Imaging Japanese America: The Visual Construction of Citizenship, Nation, and the Body and Following Her Own Road: The Life and Art of Mine Okubo)

10:40am – 11:50am Session 2 – Difference and Other: War-Bride and Mixed-race Children’s Representations

  • Margo Okazawa-Rey (Fielding Graduate University; Professor Emeritus, San Francisco State University)
  • Sonia Gomez (University of Chicago; Visiting Scholar, MIT; author of From Picture Brides to War Brides: Race, Gender, and Belonging in the Making of Japanese America)

11:50am – 1:15pm LUNCH BREAK

1:15pm – 2:45pm Session 3 — Book Launch of “Dream of the Water Children: Memory & Mourning in the Black Pacific”

  • Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd (author of Dream of the Water Children)
  • Curtiss Takada Rooks (Loyola Marymount University)
  • Angela Tudico (Archives Specialist, National Archives at New York City)

2 :45pm – 3 :00pm COFFEE/TEA BREAK

3 :00pm – 5 :30pm Session 4 – Film and Discussion of “Giving Voice, The Japanese War Brides”

  • Miki Crawford (Producer/author of Giving Voice, The Japanese War Brides)
  • Kathryn Tolbert (Washington Post; Producer/Director of Seven Times Down, Eight Times Up: The Japanese War Brides)

5:30pm Closing Remarks: Fredrick Cloyd

For more information and to RSVP, click here.

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Meghan Markle and the Bicultural Blackness of the Royal Wedding

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2018-05-21 14:33Z by Steven

Meghan Markle and the Bicultural Blackness of the Royal Wedding

The New York Times
2018-05-20

Salamishah Tillet, Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies
University of Pennsylvania


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their wedding ceremony in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England.
Pool photo by WPA

“Who are your people?” is the question that repeatedly came to me as I watched Doria Ragland, Meghan Markle’s mother, sitting a few feet away from her daughter at Saturday’s royal wedding. A common expression among southern African-Americans when greeting a stranger, it is never simply a matter of bloodline or individual biography. Rather, responses like “I’m the daughter of so and so” or “My family comes from here by way of there” serves the greater purpose of attesting to one’s place in history and potential bonds of kinship.

Despite Ms. Ragland’s being the sole member of Ms. Markle’s family at the wedding, we still know so little about her. In contrast to the media obsession with Ms. Markle’s father and his children from his first marriage, Ms. Ragland is a bit of a mystery who rarely gives interviews. As a result of her silence, we are left to deduce meaning from her physical image. As she sat across from the British monarchy in her pale green Oscar de la Renta dress and coat, it was the symbolism of her long dreadlocks, quietly tucked underneath her hat, that spoke volumes as it reminded us that black women’s natural hair is regal too.

Among the group of black women with whom I watched the ceremony early Saturday morning in New Jersey, she was a source of pride. Yet out of a sense of sisterly protection, we were also worried about her as she sat there alone, without siblings or friends. The wedding itself helped alleviate our fears, for even if none were not physically present at St. George’s Chapel, the ceremony was filled with gestures, big and small, that explicitly celebrated her “people” and the various black worlds in which she raised Ms. Markle.

But it was “what are you?” — a substantially more alienating question than “who are your people?” — that Meghan Markle recalls hearing almost every day of her life. In a 2015 essay for Elle magazine, she wrote, “I’m an actress, a writer, the Editor-in-Chief of my lifestyle brand The Tig, a pretty good cook and a firm believer in handwritten notes. A mouthful, yes, but one that I feel paints a pretty solid picture of who I am.” But such an answer is insufficient. Ms. Markle went on, “But here’s what happens: they smile and nod politely, maybe even chuckle, before getting to their point, ‘Right, but what are you? Where are your parents from?’ I knew it was coming, I always do.”…

Read the entire article here.

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I identify in a category not formalized or accepted in colonial census charts or western ways of understanding the other, as a black South Asian. I am an Indian who lays claim to the global community of black consciousness, and I reside between so many worlds of belonging and unbelonging.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-05-20 01:33Z by Steven

I identify in a category not formalized or accepted in colonial census charts or western ways of understanding the other, as a black South Asian. I am an Indian who lays claim to the global community of black consciousness, and I reside between so many worlds of belonging and unbelonging. In racializing colorism and politicizing my own experience of antipathy witnessed toward the color of my skin, I crafted my own passport into marooned and shapeshifting black communities that gave credence to ontologies and a posteriori narratives over normative constructions of race, ethnicities, and nationalities.

Shreerekha, “In the Wake of His Damage,” The Rumpus, May 12, 2018. http://therumpus.net/2018/05/in-the-wake-of-his-damage/.

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Mixed Korean: Our Stories

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books on 2018-05-20 01:26Z by Steven

Mixed Korean: Our Stories

Truepeny Publishing Company
2018
ISBN: 978-0-692-06959-2

Edited by: Cerrissa Kim, Katherine Kim, Soon Kim-Russell, and Mary-Kim Arnold

From the struggles of the Korean War, to the modern dilemmas faced by those who are mixed race, comes an assortment of stories that capture the essence of what it is to be a mixed Korean. With common themes of exclusion, and recollections of not looking Korean enough, black enough, white enough, or “other” enough, this powerful collection features works by award-winning authors Alexander Chee, Michael Croley, Heinz Insu Fenkl, alongside pieces composed by prominent writers, poets and scholars. Interwoven between known literary names, are the voices of newcomers with poignant memories that have never been captured before. Collectively, these stories will resonate with anyone who has ever stood on the outside of a group, longing for inclusion. They are a testament to the courage, strength and resilience of mixed people everywhere.

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Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs on 2018-05-20 01:02Z by Steven

Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific

2Leaf Press
2018-06-08
470 pages
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-940939-28-5
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-940939-29-2

Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd

Introduction by Gerald Horne
Foreword by Velina Hasu Houston
Edited by Karen Chau

Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd’s debut, Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific, is a lyrical and compelling memoir about a son of an African American father and a Japanese mother who has spent a lifetime being looked upon with curiosity and suspicion by both sides of his ancestry and the rest of society. Cloyd begins his story in present-day San Francisco, reflecting back on a war-torn identity from Japan, U.S. military bases, and migration to the United States, uncovering links to hidden histories.

Dream of the Water Children tells two main stories: Cloyd’s mother and his own. It was not until the author began writing his memoir that his mother finally addressed her experiences with racism and sexism in Occupied Japan. This helped Cloyd make better sense of, and reckon with, his dislocated inheritances. Tautly written in spare, clear poetic prose, Dream of the Water Children delivers a compelling and surprising account of racial and gender interactions. It tackles larger social histories, helping to dispel some of the great narrative myths of race and culture embedded in various identities of the Pacific and its diaspora.

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The Chat With Chelene Knight

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Interviews, Media Archive on 2018-05-20 00:59Z by Steven

The Chat With Chelene Knight

49th Shelf
2018-05-09

Trevor Corkum

dearcurrentoccupant

Chelene Knight’s debut memoir Dear Current Occupant (Bookt*ug) takes a closer look at childhood trauma and the uncertain idea of home. It’s a haunting, experimental, and deeply moving book which follows the author as she returns to many of the apartments she lived in as a young girl.

The Toronto Star calls Knight “one of the storytellers we need most right now” and calls the writing in Dear Current Occupant “lush, lyrical…mesmerizing.”

Chelene Knight was born in Vancouver, and is currently the Managing Editor of Room Magazine. A graduate of The Writers’ Studio at SFU, Chelene has been published in various Canadian and American literary magazines. Her debut book, Braided Skin, was published in 2015. Dear Current Occupant is her second book. Chelene is also working on a historical novel set in the 1930s and 40s in Vancouver’s Hogan’s Alley.

Trevor Corkum: Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind Dear Current Occupant?

Chelene Knight: While I was writing my first book, Braided Skin (Mother Tongue Publishing 2015), I felt that there was an unfinished thread. Something wasn’t complete. I actually started working on Dear Current Occupant in 2013, but quickly tucked it away because the realization that I was not ready to re-experience everything was quite apparent. I was not ready to write these stories.

When it comes to childhood and trauma, there’s a certain amount of healing that needs to occur, you have to distance yourself a bit, step back from the table. Every day on my way to work I’d pass ride the Sky Train and just before the train pulled into Broadway Station, I’d get this twinge as I passed one of the buildings I used to live in as a young girl. Then I’d pass another, and another, and another and the same twinges poked and prodded under my skin. Then I knew I was ready to start the work, to put the pieces together.

I stood out front of as many of the houses as I could remember and I just wrote. It was winter and I was cold. I didn’t have gloves on and the snow was coming down, but I couldn’t stop. Memories and fragments came back like lightening. There was something about being there in the space. Even though I was outside those walls I knew so well, I will still there, back in time. I had no idea the effect this book would have on people. I have received nothing but stories of change, emails, tweets, messages, and posts about how this book changed them.

And at the end of the day isn’t that what a book is supposed to do? Change the reader…

Read the entire interview here.

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