Biofictions: Race, Genetics and the Contemporary Novel

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2020-01-16 04:01Z by Steven

Biofictions: Race, Genetics and the Contemporary Novel

Bloomsbury
2020-02-20
224 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9781350099838
EPUB eBook ISBN: 9781350099852
PDF eBook ISBN: 9781350099845

Josie Gill, Lecturer in Black British Writing
University of Bristol, United Kingdom

In this important interdisciplinary study, Josie Gill explores how the contemporary novel has drawn upon, and intervened in, debates about race in late 20th and 21st century genetic science. Reading works by leading contemporary writers including Zadie Smith, Kazuo Ishiguro, Octavia Butler and Colson Whitehead, Biofictions demonstrates how ideas of race are produced at the intersection of science and fiction, which together create the stories about identity, racism, ancestry and kinship which characterize our understanding of race today. By highlighting the role of narrative in the formation of racial ideas in science, this book calls into question the apparent anti-racism of contemporary genetics, which functions narratively, rather than factually or objectively, within the racialized contexts in which it is embedded. In so doing, Biofictions compels us to rethink the long-asked question of whether race is a biological fact or a fiction, calling instead for a new understanding of the relationship between race, science and fiction.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. The Roots of African Eve: Science Writing on Human Origins and Alex Haley’s Roots
  • 2. Race, Genetic Ancestry Tracing and Facial Expression: “Focusing on the Faces” in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go
  • 3. “One Part Truth and Three Parts Fiction”: Race, Science and Narrative in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth
  • 4. “The Sick Swollen Heart of This Land”: Pharmacogenomics, Racial Medicine and Colson Whitehead’s Apex Hides the Hurt
  • 5. Mutilation and Mutation: Epigenetics and Racist Environments in Octavia Butler’s Kindred and Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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How to Argue With a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2020-01-13 02:47Z by Steven

How to Argue With a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality

Weidenfeld & Nicolson an (imprint of The Orion Publishing Group)
2020-02-06
224 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781474611244
eBook ISBN-13: 9781474611268

Adam Rutherford

How to Argue With a Racist

Race is real because we perceive it. Racism is real because we enact it. But the appeal to science to strengthen racist ideologies is on the rise – and increasingly part of the public discourse on politics, migration, education, sport and intelligence. Stereotypes and myths about race are expressed not just by overt racists, but also by well-intentioned people whose experience and cultural baggage steers them towards views that are not supported by the modern study of human genetics. Even some scientists are uncomfortable expressing opinions deriving from their research where it relates to race. Yet, if understood correctly, science and history can be powerful allies against racism, granting the clearest view of how people actually are, rather than how we judge them to be.

How to Argue With a Racist is a vital manifesto for a twenty-first century understanding of human evolution and variation, and a timely weapon against the misuse of science to justify bigotry.

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Beyond the Sunset: The Melungeon Outdoor Drama, 1969-1976

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2020-01-12 02:01Z by Steven

Beyond the Sunset: The Melungeon Outdoor Drama, 1969-1976

Mercer University Press
2019-12-02
420 pages
6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9780881467185

Wayne Winkler, Director WETS-FM
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee

In 1969, Hancock County, Tennessee was the eighth poorest county in the United States. Isolated by rugged mountains and far from population centers or major highways, the county had few natural resources, couldn’t attract industry, and had lost half its population in just a few decades. Hoping to develop a tourist industry, county leaders decided to stage an outdoor drama about the Melungeons, a mysterious, racially-mixed people that had attracted newspaper and magazine writers to Hancock County for more than a century. To stage the drama, the organizers had to overcome long-standing local prejudice against the dark-skinned Melungeons, the reluctance of the Melungeons to call attention to themselves, the physical isolation of the county, and their own lack of experience in any aspect of this project. In Beyond the Sunset, Wayne Winkler uses contemporary press reports, long-forgotten documents, and interviews with participants to chronicle the struggles of an impoverished rural Appalachian county to maintain its viability in the modern world–and the unexpected consequences of that effort. For those interested in Appalachian history in general and in Melungeon heritage specifically, this is a book that is an essential addition to your reading list.

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Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2020-01-10 01:26Z by Steven

Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia

Mercer University Press
2005-04-08
314 pages
6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9780865548695

Wayne Winkler, Director WETS-FM
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee

Walking toward the Sunset is a historical examination of the Melungeons, a mixed-race group predominantly in southern Appalachia. Author Wayne Winkler reviews theories about the Melungeons, compares the Melungeons with other mixed-race groups, and incorporates the latest scientific research to present a comprehensive portrait. In his telling portrait, Winkler examines the history of the Melungeons and the ongoing controversy surrounding their mysterious origins. Employing historical records, news reports over almost two centuries, and personal interviews, Winkler tells the fascinating story of a people who did not fit the rigid racial categories of American society. Along the way, Winkler recounts the legal and social restrictions suffered by Melungeons and other mixed-race groups, particularly Virginia’s 1924 Racial Integrity Act, and he reviews the negative effects of nineteenth- and twentieth-century magazine and journal articles on these reclusive people. Walking toward the Sunset documents the changes in public and private attitudes toward the Melungeons, the current debates over “Melungeon” identity, and the recent genetic studies that have attempted to shed light on the subject. But most importantly, Winkler relates the lives of families who were outsiders in their own communities, who were shunned and shamed, but who created a better life for their children, descendants who are now reclaiming the heritage that was hidden from them for generations.

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Shape Shifters: Journeys across Terrains of Race and Identity

Posted in Anthologies, Books, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2020-01-10 01:09Z by Steven

Shape Shifters: Journeys across Terrains of Race and Identity

University of Nebraska Press
January 2020
432 pages
8 photos, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4962-0663-3
eBook (EPUB) ISBN: 978-1-4962-1698-4
eBook (PDF) ISBN: 978-1-4962-1700-4

Edited by:

Lily Anne Y. Welty Tamai, Curator of History
Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, California

Ingrid Dineen-Wimberly, Professor of History
University of La Verne, Point Mugu, California

Paul Spickard, Distinguished Professor of History
University of California, Santa Barbara

Shape Shifters

Shape Shifters presents a wide-ranging array of essays that examine peoples of mixed racial identity. Moving beyond the static “either/or” categories of racial identification found within typical insular conversations about mixed-race peoples, Shape Shifters explores these mixed-race identities as fluid, ambiguous, contingent, multiple, and malleable. This volume expands our understandings of how individuals and ethnic groups identify themselves within their own sociohistorical contexts.

The essays in Shape Shifters explore different historical eras and reach across of the globe, from the Roman and Chinese borderlands of classical antiquity to Medieval Eurasian shape-shifters, the Native peoples of the missions of Spanish California, and racial shape-shifting among African Americans in the post–civil rights era. At different times in their lives or over generations in their families, racial shape-shifters have moved from one social context to another. And as new social contexts were imposed on them, identities have even changed from one group to another. This is not racial, ethnic, or religious imposture. It is simply the way that people’s lives unfold in fluid sociohistorical circumstances.

With contributions by Ryan Abrecht, George J. Sanchez, Laura Moore, and Margaret Hunter, among others, Shape Shifters explores the forces of migration, borderlands, trade, warfare, occupation, colonial imposition, and the creation and dissolution of states and empires to highlight the historically contingent basis of identification among mixed-race peoples across time and space.

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Beneath the Surface: A Transnational History of Skin Lighteners

Posted in Africa, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, South Africa, Women on 2020-01-10 01:07Z by Steven

Beneath the Surface: A Transnational History of Skin Lighteners

Duke University Press
January 2020
368 pages
85 illustrations (incl. 39 in color)
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0642-8
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0538-4

Lynn M. Thomas, Professor of History
University of Washington

Beneath the Surface

For more than a century, skin lighteners have been an ubiquitous feature of global popular culture—embraced by consumers even as they were fiercely opposed by medical professionals, consumer health advocates, and antiracist thinkers and activists. In Beneath the Surface, Lynn M. Thomas constructs a transnational history of skin lighteners in South Africa and beyond. Analyzing a wide range of archival, popular culture, and oral history sources, Thomas traces the changing meanings of skin color from precolonial times to the postcolonial present. From indigenous skin-brightening practices and the rapid spread of lighteners in South African consumer culture during the 1940s and 1950s to the growth of a billion-dollar global lightener industry, Thomas shows how the use of skin lighteners and experiences of skin color have been shaped by slavery, colonialism, and segregation, as well as consumer capitalism, visual media, notions of beauty, and protest politics. In teasing out lighteners’ layered history, Thomas theorizes skin as a site for antiracist struggle and lighteners as a technology of visibility that both challenges and entrenches racial and gender hierarchies.

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Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity

Posted in Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2019-12-29 02:30Z by Steven

Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity

University of Manitoba Press
September 2019
296 pages
6 × 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-88755-846-7

Darryl Leroux, Associate Professor
Department of Social Justice and Community Studies
Saint Mary’s University, Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Distorted Descent examines a social phenomenon that has taken off in the twenty-first century: otherwise white, French descendant settlers in Canada shifting into a self-defined “Indigenous” identity. This study is not about individuals who have been dispossessed by colonial policies, or the multi-generational efforts to reconnect that occur in response. Rather, it is about white, French-descendant people discovering an Indigenous ancestor born 300 to 375 years ago through genealogy and using that ancestor as the sole basis for an eventual shift into an “Indigenous” identity today.

After setting out the most common genealogical practices that facilitate race shifting, Leroux examines two of the most prominent self-identified “Indigenous” organizations currently operating in Quebec. Both organizations have their origins in committed opposition to Indigenous land and territorial negotiations, and both encourage the use of suspect genealogical practices. Distorted Descent brings to light to how these claims to an “Indigenous” identity are then used politically to oppose actual, living Indigenous peoples, exposing along the way the shifting politics of whiteness, white settler colonialism, and white supremacy.

For more information on the rise of the so-called ‘Eastern Metis’ in the eastern provinces and in New England, including a storymap, court documents, and research materials, visit the Raceshifting website, created by Unwritten Histories Digital Consulting.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction—Self-Indigenization in the Twenty-First Century
  • Part One: The Mechanics of Descent
    • Chapter One—Lineal Descent and the Political Use of Indigenous Women Ancestors
    • Chapter Two—Aspirational Descent: Creating Indigenous Women Ancestors
    • Chapter Three—Lateral Descent: Remaking Family in the Past
  • Part Two: Race Shifting as Anti-Indigenous Politics
    • Chapter Four—After Powley: Anti-Indigenous Activism and Becoming “Métis” in Two Regions of Quebec
    • Chapter Five—The Largest Self-Identified “Métis” Organization in Quebec: The Métis Nation Of The Rising Sun
  • Conclusion—White Claims to Indigenous Identity
  • Acknowledgements
  • Appendix
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Imagining the Mulatta: Blackness in U.S. and Brazilian Media

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, United States on 2019-12-13 15:11Z by Steven

Imagining the Mulatta: Blackness in U.S. and Brazilian Media

University of Illinois Press
May 2020
288 pages
9 color photographs
6 x 9 in.
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-252-04328-4
Paper ISBN: 978-0-252-08520-8

Jasmine Mitchell, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Media Studies
State University of New York, Old Westbury

Mixed-race women and popular culture in Brazil and the United States

Brazil markets itself as a racially mixed utopia. The United States prefers the term melting pot. Both nations have long used the image of the mulatta to push skewed cultural narratives. Highlighting the prevalence of mixed race women of African and European descent, the two countries claim to have perfected racial representation—all the while ignoring the racialization, hypersexualization, and white supremacy that the mulatta narrative creates.

Jasmine Mitchell investigates the development and exploitation of the mulatta figure in Brazilian and U.S. popular culture. Drawing on a wide range of case studies, she analyzes policy debates and reveals the use of mixed-Black female celebrities as subjects of racial and gendered discussions. Mitchell also unveils the ways the media moralizes about the mulatta figure and uses her as an example of an “acceptable” version of blackness that at once dreams of erasing undesirable blackness while maintaining the qualities that serve as outlets for interracial desire.

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The Revisioners, A Novel

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Novels, United States, Women on 2019-12-03 02:09Z by Steven

The Revisioners, A Novel

Counterpoint Press
2019-11-05
288 pages
5.5 x 8.25
Hardcover ISBN: 9781640092587

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

Following her National Book Award– nominated debut novel, A Kind of Freedom, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton returns with this equally elegant and historically inspired story of survivors and healers, of black women and their black sons, set in the American South

In 1924, Josephine is the proud owner of a thriving farm. As a child, she channeled otherworldly power to free herself from slavery. Now her new neighbor, a white woman named Charlotte, seeks her company, and an uneasy friendship grows between them. But Charlotte has also sought solace in the Ku Klux Klan, a relationship that jeopardizes Josephine’s family.

Nearly one hundred years later, Josephine’s descendant, Ava, is a single mother who has just lost her job. She moves in with her white grandmother, Martha, a wealthy but lonely woman who pays Ava to be her companion. But Martha’s behavior soon becomes erratic, then threatening, and Ava must escape before her story and Josephine’s converge.

The Revisioners explores the depths of women’s relationships—powerful women and marginalized women, healers and survivors. It is a novel about the bonds between mothers and their children, the dangers that upend those bonds. At its core, The Revisioners ponders generational legacies, the endurance of hope, and the undying promise of freedom.

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Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, United States, Women on 2019-12-02 01:22Z by Steven

Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism

New York University Press
March 2020
280 pages
6.00 x 9.00 in
Paperback ISBN: 9781479800292
Hardcover ISBN: 9781479881086

Edited by:

Nikki Khanna, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Vermont

Whiter

Heartfelt personal accounts from Asian American women on their experiences with skin color bias, from being labeled “too dark” to becoming empowered to challenge beauty standards

“I have a vivid memory of standing in my grandmother’s kitchen, where, by the table, she closely watched me as I played. When I finally looked up to ask why she was staring, her expression changed from that of intent observer to one of guilt and shame. . . . ‘My anak (dear child),’ she began, ‘you are so beautiful. It is a shame that you are so dark. No Filipino man will ever want to marry you.’” —“Shade of Brown,” Noelle Marie Falcis

How does skin color impact the lives of Asian American women? In Whiter, thirty Asian American women provide first-hand accounts of their experiences with colorism in this collection of powerful, accessible, and brutally honest essays, edited by Nikki Khanna.

Featuring contributors of many ages, nationalities, and professions, this compelling collection covers a wide range of topics, including light-skin privilege, aspirational whiteness, and anti-blackness. From skin-whitening creams to cosmetic surgery, Whiter amplifies the diverse voices of Asian American women who continue to bravely challenge the power of skin color in their own lives.

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