Shaken Out of Time: Black Bodies and Movement in Zadie Smith’s Swing Time

Posted in Africa, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-01-18 21:30Z by Steven

Shaken Out of Time: Black Bodies and Movement in Zadie Smith’s Swing Time

Virginia Quarterly Review
Volume 93, Number 1, Winter 2017
pages 196-199

Kaitlyn Greenidge
Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont

Swing Time By Zadie Smith, Penguin, 2016, 464p. HB, $27.

Midway through Zadie Smith’s new novel, Swing Time, the unnamed narrator watches two girls walk “hand in hand” down a dusty road in an anonymous, fictionalized African country. “They looked like best friends,” she notes—that “looked” suggesting the mysteries of friendship that the novel has been dedicated to up until that point. “They were out at the edge of the world, or of the world I knew, and watching them, I realized it was…almost impossible for me to imagine what time felt like for them, out here.” The girls inevitably remind the narrator of her own lost, best friend, Tracey, who angrily haunts the novel, forever resisting the narrator’s attempts to regulate her to incorporeality. Of their friendship, she notes, “We thought we were products of a particular moment, because as well as our old musicals, we liked things like Ghostbusters and Dallas. We felt we had our place in time. What person on earth doesn’t feel this way?” But the narrator is unable to place the two girls before her in any time. “When I waved at those two girls…I couldn’t rid myself of the idea that they were timeless symbols of girlhood…I knew it couldn’t possibly be the case but I had no other way of thinking of them.”

In an interview in T: The New York Times Style Magazine this past fall, Smith noted, “It just seemed to me that what was done to black people, historically, was to take them out of the time of their life. That’s what fundamentally happened. We had a life in one place and it would have continued and who knows what would have happened—nobody knows. But it would’ve gone a certain way, and we were removed from that timeline, placed somewhere entirely different, and radically disrupted. And the consequences of that are pretty much unending. Every people have their trauma. It’s not a competition of traumas. But they’re different in nature. And this one is about having been removed from time.” Swing Time is a novel that is fundamentally concerned with this question. What do we do, how do we respond, when we are violently shaken out of time, when we lose the thread of our own lives, when we are so certain of the narrative of our life and then are suddenly, jarringly, shaken loose? How do we reconcile, what are the lies and myths we tell ourselves, to try and reclaim our time? And when do those lies hurt us and when do they help us find our footing again?

When we meet the narrator of Swing Time, she is deep in the midst of mysterious disgrace, briefly infamous worldwide for a perceived wrong she’s committed against a Madonna-like global superstar who goes by the single name of Aimee. The narrator is Aimee’s assistant: She has worked tirelessly for the past decade helping Aimee, a white woman, set up a school for girls in that unidentified African country. Aimee is a woman who has created her own myth for herself, using sex and youth and pop music to forge a destiny that would not have been available to any woman a generation before her. The narrator meets her by chance, devotes her life to her, and finds herself unmarried and childless, a cog in the superstar celebrity machine of Aimee’s life. But it becomes clear, even though the narrator has spent her adult life serving Aimee, it’s not the pop star who holds her attention. Instead, she exists in a kind of suspended dream state, reliving her brief friendship with Tracey, the only other mixed-race girl in the narrator’s neighborhood in the early 1980s. The narrator’s parents are genteelly poor, and her mother, in particular, is ambitious: She reads postcolonial theory and takes courses on Marxism, ruthlessly forging her identity as a poor, black woman in Britain into a professional activist and self-conscious, self…

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New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Judaism, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2017-01-17 23:53Z by Steven

New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration

New York University Press
February 2017
368 pages
28 halftones
Cloth ISBN: 9781479888801

Judith Weisenfeld, Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor of Religion
Princeton University

When Joseph Nathaniel Beckles registered for the draft in the 1942, he rejected the racial categories presented to him and persuaded the registrar to cross out the check mark she had placed next to Negro and substitute “Ethiopian Hebrew.”  “God did not make us Negroes,” declared religious leaders in black communities of the early twentieth-century urban North. They insisted that so-called Negroes are, in reality, Ethiopian Hebrews, Asiatic Muslims, or raceless children of God. Rejecting conventional American racial classification, many black southern migrants and immigrants from the Caribbean embraced these alternative visions of black history, racial identity, and collective future, thereby reshaping the black religious and racial landscape.

Focusing on the Moorish Science Temple, the Nation of Islam, Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement, and a number of congregations of Ethiopian Hebrews, Judith Weisenfeld argues that the appeal of these groups lay not only in the new religious opportunities membership provided, but also in the novel ways they formulated a religio-racial identity. Arguing that members of these groups understood their religious and racial identities as divinely-ordained and inseparable, the book examines how this sense of self shaped their conceptions of their bodies, families, religious and social communities, space and place, and political sensibilities.

Weisenfeld draws on extensive archival research and incorporates a rich array of sources to highlight the experiences of average members. The book demonstrates that the efforts by members of these movements to contest conventional racial categorization contributed to broader discussions in black America about the nature of racial identity and the collective future of black people that still resonate today.

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Red and Yellow, Black and Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2017-01-17 01:09Z by Steven

Red and Yellow, Black and Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies

Rutgers University Press
304 pages
2017-06-09
13 photographs, 4 tables, 6 x 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8135-8730-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8135-8731-8

Edited by:

Joanne L. Rondilla, Program lecturer in Asian Pacific American Studies
School of Social Transformation
Arizona State University, Tempe

Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr., Associate Professor of Asian American Studies
Arizona State University

Paul Spickard, Professor of History; Professor of Asian American Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Red and Yellow, Black and Brown gathers together life stories and analysis by twelve contributors who express and seek to understand the often very different dynamics that exist for mixed race people who are not part white. The chapters focus on the social, psychological, and political situations of mixed race people who have links to two or more peoples of color— Chinese and Mexican, Asian and Black, Native American and African American, South Asian and Filipino, Black and Latino/a and so on. Red and Yellow, Black and Brown addresses questions surrounding the meanings and communication of racial identities in dual or multiple minority situations and the editors highlight the theoretical implications of this fresh approach to racial studies.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Introduction: About Mixed Race, Not About Whiteness / Paul Spickard, Rudy P. Guevarra Jr., Joanne L. Rondilla
  • Part I. Identity Journeys
    • Chapter 2. Rising Sun, Rising Soul: On Mixed Race Asian Identity That Includes Blackness / Velina Hasu Houston
    • Chapter 3. Blackapina / Janet C. Mendoza Stickmon
  • Part II. Multiple Minority Marriage and Parenting
    • Chapter 4. Intermarriage and the Making of a Multicultural Society in the Baja California Borderlands / Verónica Castillo-Muñoz
    • Chapter 5. Cross-Racial Minority Intermarriage: Mutual Marginalization and Critique / Jessica Vasquez-Tokos
    • Chapter 6. Parental Racial Socialization: A Glimpse into the Racial Socialization Process as It Occurs in a Dual-Minority Multiracial Family / Cristina M. Ortiz
  • Part III. Mixed Identity and Monoracial Belonging
    • Chapter 7. Being Mixed Race in the Makah Nation: Redeeming the Existence of African-Native Americans / Ingrid Dineen-Wimberly
    • Chapter 8. “You’re Not Black or Mexican Enough!” Policing Racial/Ethnic Authenticity among Blaxicans in the US / Rebecca Romo
  • Part IV. Asian Connections
    • Chapter 9 Bumbay in the Bay: The Struggle for Indipino Identity in San Francisco / Maharaj Raju Desai
    • Chapter 10. Hyper-visibility and Invisibility of Female Haafu Models in Japanese Beauty Culture / Kaori Mori Want
    • Chapter 11. Checking “Other” Twice: Transnational Dual Minorities / Lily Anne Y. Welty Tamai
  • Part V. Reflections
    • Chapter 12. Neanderthal-Human Hybridity and the Frontier of Critical Mixed Race Studies / Terence Keel
    • Chapter 13. Epilogue: Expanding the Terrain of Mixed Race Studies: What We Learn from the Study of NonWhite Multiracials / Nitasha Tamar Sharma
  • Bibliography
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index
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Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Mexico, Monographs, Social Science on 2017-01-17 01:03Z by Steven

Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America

Duke University Press
2017-05-05
328 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6358-3
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-6373-6
12 illustrations

Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester

Race mixture, or mestizaje, has played a critical role in the history, culture, and politics of Latin America. In Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom, Peter Wade draws on a multidisciplinary research study in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia. He shows how Latin American elites and outside observers have emphasized mixture’s democratizing potential, depicting it as a useful resource for addressing problems of racism (claiming that race mixture undoes racial difference and hierarchy), while Latin American scientists participate in this narrative with claims that genetic studies of mestizos can help isolate genetic contributors to diabetes and obesity and improve health for all. Wade argues that, in the process, genomics produces biologized versions of racialized difference within the nation and the region, but a comparative approach nuances the simple idea that highly racialized societies give rise to highly racialized genomics. Wade examines the tensions between mixture and purity, and between equality and hierarchy in liberal political orders, exploring how ideas and scientific data about genetic mixture are produced and circulate through complex networks.

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Redefining Japaneseness: Japanese Americans in the Ancestral Homeland

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2017-01-17 01:02Z by Steven

Redefining Japaneseness: Japanese Americans in the Ancestral Homeland

Rutgers University Press
2017-01-24
224 pages
6 x 9
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8135-7637-4
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8135-7636-7
Web PDF ISBN: 978-0-8135-7639-8
ePub ISBN: 978-0-8135-7638-1

Jane H. Yamashiro, Visiting Scholar
Asian American Studies Center
University of California, Los Angeles

There is a rich body of literature on the experience of Japanese immigrants in the United States, and there are also numerous accounts of the cultural dislocation felt by American expats in Japan. But what happens when Japanese Americans, born and raised in the United States, are the ones living abroad in Japan?

Redefining Japaneseness chronicles how Japanese American migrants to Japan navigate and complicate the categories of Japanese and “foreigner.” Drawing from extensive interviews and fieldwork in the Tokyo area, Jane H. Yamashiro tracks the multiple ways these migrants strategically negotiate and interpret their daily interactions. Following a diverse group of subjects—some of only Japanese ancestry and others of mixed heritage, some fluent in Japanese and others struggling with the language, some from Hawaii and others from the US continent—her study reveals wide variations in how Japanese Americans perceive both Japaneseness and Americanness.

Making an important contribution to both Asian American studies and scholarship on transnational migration, Redefining Japaneseness critically interrogates the common assumption that people of Japanese ancestry identify as members of a global diaspora. Furthermore, through its close examination of subjects who migrate from one highly-industrialized nation to another, it dramatically expands our picture of the migrant experience.

Table Of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Note on Terminology
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Japanese as a Global Ancestral Group: Japaneseness on the US Continent, Hawaii, and Japan
  • 3. Differentiated Japanese American Identities: The Continent Versus Hawaii
  • 4. From Hapa to Hafu: Mixed Japanese American Identities in Japan
  • 5. Language and Names in Shifting Assertions of Japaneseness
  • 6. Back in the United States: Japanese American Interpretations of Their Experiences in Japan
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix A: Methodology: Studying Japanese American Experiences in Tokyo
  • Appendix B: List of Japanese American Interviewees Who Have Lived in Japan
  • Notes
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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The Checkered Past of Brazil’s New Race Court (JWJI Race & Difference Colloquium Series)

Posted in Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Social Science on 2017-01-17 01:00Z by Steven

The Checkered Past of Brazil’s New Race Court (JWJI Race & Difference Colloquium Series)

Jones Room, Woodruff Library
The James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia 30322
Monday, 2017-02-06, 12:00-13:30 EST (Local Time)

Ruth Hill, Andrew W. Mellon Chair in the Humanities, Professor of Spanish
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

A categorical crisis around racially-mixed persons has become a legal quagmire in Brazil. In August 2016, the Brazilian government announced the formation of the Racial Court (Tribunal Racial) to confront the steady stream of legal challenges that has beset the racial segment of the country’s Quotas System (Sistema de Cotas). The latter is an affirmative-action program giving preference to the disabled, the economically-disadvantaged, graduates of public schools, and specific racial groups (Amerindians and persons of African ancestry) in government offices and higher education. Litigation and media attention are centered on the program’s interstitial racial category, pardo. The category preto—the straightforward “black” in Brazil until it was jettisoned in educated quarters for negro, “negro”—and the category pardo (of European and an undefined amount of African and/or native origins) are often treated as subsets of the category negro. Still, color not descent is invoked when it is stated that persons “of pardo color” or “preto color” are eligible for the racial quotas for government posts, which are set aside “for negros and pardos.”

Whether colors or categories, where does pardo end and branco (“white”) or negro begin? In other words, when does afrodescendente (“Afro-descendant”) end and branco begin? In this Race and Difference Colloquium, Ruth Hill (Andrew W. Mellon Chair in the Humanities, Professor of Spanish, Vanderbilt University) argues that the pardo problem of today streams from the first global and systematic investigation into racial admixture, in the sixteenth century, which came on the heels of legislation to “uplift” Catholic neophytes in the Iberian empires. Those centuries-old arguments over mixed-race neophytes anticipated the moral and legal dilemmas of Brazil’s present-day affirmative-action program.

The Race and Difference Colloquium Series, a weekly event on the Emory University campus, features local and national speakers presenting academic research on contemporary questions of race and intersecting dimensions of difference. The James Weldon Johnson Institute is pleased to have the Robert W. Woodruff Library and the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript and Rare Book Library as major co-sponsors of the Colloquium Series.

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William flips her onto her stomach, and then he’s inside her breathing hotly into her ear, telling her that fucking her is just like fucking a black girl without having to fuck a black girl.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-01-17 01:00Z by Steven

William kneels between Sarah’s thighs. He uses a condom. He doesn’t know where the stripper has been. He practices some of the lingo he has learned from years of listening to rap music. “I’ve wanted to get all up in that since the day I first saw you, Sierra. I love your phat ass.” Sarah moans and heaves, reaches for her cell phone on the coffee table. It is just beyond her reach. William flips her onto her stomach, and then he’s inside her breathing hotly into her ear, telling her that fucking her is just like fucking a black girl without having to fuck a black girl. He smacks her thigh and tells her to do as Lil Jon instructs and bounce, bounce, bounce that ass.

Roxanne Gay, “La Negra Blanca,” The Collagist: Online literature from Dzanc Books, Issue Three (October 2009). http://thecollagist.com/the-collagist/la-negra-blanca.html.

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For African Americans, Obama’s presidency had been largely defined by his reluctance to engage with the ways that racial discrimination was blunting the impact of his administration’s recovery efforts.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-01-17 00:36Z by Steven

For African Americans, Obama’s presidency had been largely defined by his reluctance to engage with the ways that racial discrimination was blunting the impact of his administration’s recovery efforts. Obama has not shown nearly the same reticence when publicly chastising African Americans for a range of behaviors that read like a handbook on anti-black stereotypes, from parenting skills and dietary choices to sexual mores and television-watching habits.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, ”Barack Obama’s original sin: America’s post-racial illusion,” The Guardian, January 13, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/13/barack-obama-legacy-racism-criminal-justice-system.

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As I see it, Mr. Obama is the only figure to ever give Dr. King a run for his money as Greatest Black Man in American history.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-01-17 00:34Z by Steven

President Obama’s historic tenure ends as the nation celebrates what would have been Martin Luther King’s 88th birthday. As I see it, Mr. Obama is the only figure to ever give Dr. King a run for his money as Greatest Black Man in American history. More than a gentle rivalry for supremacy in the history books joins the two. They are tethered by death, too — if not by its actual occurrence, then by its looming possibility.

Michael Eric Dyson, “How Black America Saw Obama,” The New York Times, January 14, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/14/opinion/sunday/how-black-america-saw-obama.html.

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Writing the biography of a black person who passed for white in 20th-century America adds an extra layer of difficulty to the detective work any biographer must undertake. This is especially true since Herriman seems never to have addressed his deception in his personal writings or confided his feelings about racial identity to family or friends.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-01-17 00:25Z by Steven

Writing the biography of a black person who passed for white in 20th-century America adds an extra layer of difficulty to the detective work any biographer must undertake. This is especially true since [George] Herriman seems never to have addressed his deception in his personal writings or confided his feelings about racial identity to family or friends. He claimed he came from a family of bakers and had worked in his youth as a house painter and carnival barker. In truth he was the great-grandson of Stephen Herriman, a married white boat’s captain from Long Island with roots in England, who purchased enslaved workers after settling in Louisiana, and Justine Olivier, a “free woman of color” who engaged in a plaçage relationship in which her lover financially supported her and her two children.

Nelson George, “Invisibly Black: A Life of George Herriman, Creator of ‘Krazy Kat’,” The New York Times, January 12, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/books/review/krazy-george-herriman-biography-michael-tisserand.html.

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