Being La Dominicana: Race and Identity in the Visual Culture of Santo Domingo

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Women on 2021-09-06 01:55Z by Steven

Being La Dominicana: Race and Identity in the Visual Culture of Santo Domingo

University of Illinois Press
August 2021
264 pages
6 x 9 in.
13 black & white photographs
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-252-04381-9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-252-08580-2
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-252-05271-2

Rachel Afi Quinn, Associate Professor of Comparative Cultural Studies and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies
University of Houston, Houston, Texas

Dominican women being seen—and seeing themselves—in popular culture

Rachel Afi Quinn investigates the ways Dominican visual culture portrays Dominican women and how women represent themselves in their own creative endeavors in response to existing stereotypes. Delving into the dynamic realities and uniquely racialized gendered experiences of women in Santo Domingo, Quinn reveals how racial ambiguity and color hierarchy work to shape experiences of identity and subjectivity in the Dominican Republic. She merges analyses of context and interviews with young Dominican women to offer rare insights into a Caribbean society in which the tourist industry and popular media reward, and rely upon, the ability of Dominican women to transform themselves to perform gender, race, and class.

Engaging and astute, Being La Dominicana reveals the little-studied world of today’s young Dominican women and what their personal stories and transnational experiences can tell us about the larger neoliberal world.

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Erasure and Recollection: Memories of Racial Passing

Posted in Anthologies, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Louisiana, Passing, United States on 2021-08-31 15:27Z by Steven

Erasure and Recollection: Memories of Racial Passing

Peter Lang
2021
366 pages
13 fig. b/w.
Paperback ISBN:978-2-8076-1625-7
ePUB ISBN:978-2-8076-1627-1 (DOI: 10.3726/b18256)

Edited by:

Hélène Charlery, Professor of English Literature
University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès

Aurélie Guillain, Professor of American Literature
University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès

Many recent studies of racial passing have emphasized the continuing, almost haunting power of racial segregation even in the post-segregation period in the US, or in the post-apartheid period in South Africa. This “present-ness” of racial passing, the fact that it has not really become “passé,” is noticeable in the great number of testimonies which have been published in the 2000s and 2010s by descendants of individuals who passed for white in the English-speaking world. The sheer number of publications suggest a continuing interest in the kind of relation to the personal and national past which is at stake in the long-delayed revelation of cases of racial passing.

This interest in family memoirs or in fictional works re-tracing the erasure of some relative’s racial identity is by no means limited to the United States: for instance, Zoë Wicomb in South Africa or Zadie Smith in the UK both use the passing novel to unravel the complex situation of mixed-race subjects in relation to their family past and to a national past marked by a history of racial inequality.

Yet, the vast majority of critical approaches to racial passing have so far remained largely focused on the United States and its specific history of race relations. The objective of this volume is twofold: it aims at shedding light on the way texts or films show the work of individual memory and collective recollection as they grapple with a racially divided past, struggling with its legacy or playing with its stereotypes. Our second objective has been to explore the great variety in the forms taken by racial passing depending on the context, which in turn leads to differences in the ways it is remembered. Focusing on how a previously erased racial identity may resurface in the present has enabled us to extend the scope of our study to other countries than the United States, so that this volume hopes to propose some new, transnational directions in the study of racial passing.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction – Hélène Charlery and Aurélie Guillain
  • Part I: Memories of Racial Passing – Reconstructing Local and Personal Histories – From Homer Plessy to Paul Broyard
    • To Pass or Not to Pass in New Orleans – Nathalie Dessens
    • Racial Passing at New Orleans Mardi Gras; From Reconstruction to the Mid- Twentieth Century: Flight of Fancy or Masked Resistance? – Aurélie Godet
    • Passing through New Orleans, Atlanta, and New York City: The Dynamics of Racial Assignation in Walter White’s Flight (1926) – Aurélie Guillain
    • African American Women Activists and Racial Passing: Personal Journeys and Subversive Strategies (1880s– 1920s) – Élise Vallier-Mathieu
  • Part II: Memory, Consciousness and the Fantasy of Amnesia in Passing Novels
    • “What Irene Redfield Remembered”: Making It New in Nella Larsen’s Passing – M. Giulia Fabi
    • Between Fiction and Reality: Passing for Non- Jewish in Multicultural American Fiction – Ohad Reznick
    • Experiments in Passing: Racial Passing in George Schuyler’s Black No More and Arthur Miller’s Focus – Ochem G.l.a. Riesthuis
    • Passing to Disappearance: The Voice/ Body Dichotomy and the Problem of Identity in Richard Powers’s The Time of Our Singing (2004) – Anne-Catherine Bascoul
  • Part III: Memories of Racial Passing within and beyond the United States: Towards a Transnational Approach
    • “The Topsy-Turviness of Being in the Wrong Hemisphere” Transnationalizing the Racial Passing Narrative – Sinéad Moynihan
    • Passing, National Reconciliation and Adolescence in Beneath Clouds (Ivan Sen, 2002) and The Wooden Camera (Ntshaveni Wa Luruli, 2003) – Delphine David and Annael Le Poullennec
    • Transnational Gendered Subjectivity in Passing across the Black Atlantic: Nella Larsen’s Passing, Michelle Cliff ’s Free Enterprise and Zadie Smith’s Swing Time – Kerry-Jane Wallart
  • About the Authors/ Editors
  • Index
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Identities in Flux: Race, Migration, and Citizenship in Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Slavery on 2021-08-30 19:01Z by Steven

Identities in Flux: Race, Migration, and Citizenship in Brazil

SUNY Press
February 2021
296 pages
Hardcover ISBN13: 978-1-4384-8249-1
Paperback ISBN13: 978-1-4384-8250-7

Niyi Afolabi, Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies
University of Texas, Austin

Reevaluates the significance of iconic Afro-Brazilian figures, from slavery to post-abolition.

Drawing on historical and cultural approaches to race relations, Identities in Flux examines iconic Afro-Brazilian figures and theorizes how they have been appropriated to either support or contest a utopian vision of multiculturalism. Zumbi dos Palmares, the leader of a runaway slave community in the seventeenth century, is shown not as an anti-Brazilian rebel but as a symbol of Black consciousness and anti-colonial resistance. Xica da Silva, an eighteenth-century mixed-race enslaved woman who “married” her master and has been seen as a licentious mulatta, questions gendered stereotypes of so-called racial democracy. Manuel Querino, whose ethnographic studies have been ignored and virtually unknown for much of the twentieth century, is put on par with more widely known African American trailblazers such as W. E. B. Du Bois. Niyi Afolabi draws out the intermingling influences of Yoruba and Classical Greek mythologies in Brazilian representations of the carnivalesque Black Orpheus, while his analysis of City of God focuses on the growing centrality of the ghetto, or favela, as a theme and producer of culture in the early twenty-first-century Brazilian urban scene. Ultimately, Afolabi argues, the identities of these figures are not fixed, but rather inhabit a fluid terrain of ideological and political struggle, challenging the idealistic notion that racial hybridity has eliminated racial discrimination in Brazil.

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How Jean Toomer Rejected the Black-White Binary

Posted in Articles, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2021-08-29 01:32Z by Steven

How Jean Toomer Rejected the Black-White Binary

The Paris Review
2019-01-14

Ismail Muhammad

…to be a Negro is—is?—
to be a Negro, is. To Be.

—from “Toomer,” by Elizabeth Alexander

Jean Toomer had a complex relationship to his first and only major publication, the 1923 book Cane. The “novel,” which Penguin Classics has recently reissued with an introduction by the literary scholar George Hutchinson and a foreword by the novelist Zinzi Clemmons, is a heterogeneous collection of short stories, prose vignettes, and poetry that became an unlikely landmark of Harlem Renaissance literature. Its searching fragments dramatize the disappearance of African-American folk culture as black people migrated out of the agrarian Jim Crow South and into Northern industrial cities. It is a haunting and haunted celebration of that culture as it was sacrificed to the machine of modernity. Toomer termed the book a “swan song” for the black folk past.

The literary world was then (as it is now, perhaps) hungry for representative black voices; as Hutchinson writes, “Many stressed the ‘authenticity’ of Toomer’s African-Americans and the lyrical voice with which he conjured them into being.” This act of conjuring lured critics into reflexively accepting the book as a representation of the black South—and Toomer as the voice of that South. As his one-time friend Waldo Frank remarked in a forward to the book’s original edition, “This book is the South.” Cane transformed Toomer into a Negro literary star whose influence would filter down through African-American literary history: his interest in the folk tradition crystallized the Harlem Renaissance’s search for a useable Negro past, and would be instructive for later writers from Zora Neale Hurston to Ralph Ellison to Elizabeth Alexander…

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“Latinidad Is Cancelled”: Confronting an Anti-Black Construct

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2021-08-10 02:15Z by Steven

“Latinidad Is Cancelled”: Confronting an Anti-Black Construct

Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture
Volume 3, Issue 3 (July 2021)
pages 58-79
DOI: 10.1525/lavc.2021.3.3.58

Tatiana Flores, Professor of Latino & Caribbean Studies and Art History
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Adopting a hemispheric perspective, this essay problematizes the construct of latinidad by foregrounding how it reproduces Black erasure. I argue that “Latin America,” rather than being a geographical designator, is an imagined community that is Eurocentric to the degree that its conceptual boundaries exclude African diaspora spaces. I then turn to understandings of whiteness across borders, contrasting perceptions of racial mixture in the United States and the Hispanophone Americas. Lastly, I examine works by (Afro-)Latinx artists whose nuanced views on race demonstrate the potential of visual representation to provide insight into this complex topic beyond the black-white binary.

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Racial Identity Choice and its Consequences: A Study on Elizabeth Alexander’s Race

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing on 2021-07-22 02:35Z by Steven

Racial Identity Choice and its Consequences: A Study on Elizabeth Alexander’s Race

Annual International Conference on Language and Literature
Medan, Indonesia
2020-11-04 through 2020-11-05
Published 2021-03-11
Pages 17-27
DOI: 10.18502/kss.v5i4.8661

Nur Saktiningrum
Department of English
Gadjah Mada University of Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Race, as people understand it, is something that you were born with. One was born with specific physical features that by social construction, define one’s race. What if a person was born with physical features that enable him to choose whether to embrace the race defined by blood or the one defined by social construction? And are there any consequences of the choices made? This research studies the choice made by mulatto to pass as white and the consequences following the decision. The focus of the study is a poem written by Elizabeth Alexander entitled Race (2001). To answer the abovementioned questions, the poem is analyzed using a new historical approach. The approach enables the researcher to understand the historical background of and the author’s perspective on racial passing depicted in the poem and its relation to the reality of racial passing in American society. The results show that there are external and internal factors that make it possible for an individual to pass as a member of a different race from what he was. The external factors include the biological taxonomy that identifies him as belonging to a dominant race and the social construction that classifies people based on their physical features. The internal factor is the passer’s belief that by assuming a new racial identity, he will be able to lead a better life and be relieved from the oppression of the dominant race. Despite the privilege and opportunity that the new racial status can offer, racial passing can also bring some disadvantages such as the loss of the sense of belonging to the old racial identity, the feeling of insecurity, and the possibility of being disowned by one’s family.

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Ancestry Studies in Forensic Anthropology: Back on the Frontier of Racism

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2021-07-15 16:36Z by Steven

Ancestry Studies in Forensic Anthropology: Back on the Frontier of Racism

Biology
Volume 10, Issue 7 (2021)
pages 602-613
Published: 2021-06-29
DOI: 10.3390/biology10070602

Ann H. Ross, Professor
Department of Biological Sciences,
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

Shanna E. Williams, Clinical Associate Professor
University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, Greenville


Figure 1
Anatomical landmark location and associated landmark number from Table 1.

Simple Summary

Within the practice of forensic anthropology ancestry is oftentimes used as a proxy for social race. This concept and its implications were explored via a content analysis (2009–2019) of the Journal of Forensic Sciences. Our findings revealed antiquated views of race based on the trifecta of continental populations (Asia, Europe, and Africa) continue to be pervasive in the field despite scientific invalidation of the concept of race decades earlier. Moreover, our employment of modern geometric morphometric and spatial analysis methods on craniofacial coordinate anatomical landmarks from several Latin American samples produced results in which the groups were not patterned by ancestry trifecta. Based on our findings we propose replacing the assumption of continental ancestry with a population structure approach that combines microevolutionary and cultural factors with historical events in the examination of population affinity.

Abstract

One of the parameters forensic anthropologists have traditionally estimated is ancestry, which is used in the United States as a proxy for social race. Its use is controversial because the biological race concept was debunked by scientists decades ago. However, many forensic anthropologists contend, in part, that because social race categories used by law enforcement can be predicted by cranial variation, ancestry remains a necessary parameter for estimation. Here, we use content analysis of the Journal of Forensic Sciences for the period 2009–2019 to demonstrate the use of various nomenclature and resultant confusion in ancestry estimation studies, and as a mechanism to discuss how forensic anthropologists have eschewed a human variation approach to studying human morphological differences in favor of a simplistic and debunked typological one. Further, we employ modern geometric morphometric and spatial analysis methods on craniofacial coordinate anatomical landmarks from several Latin American samples to test the validity of applying the antiquated tri-continental approach to ancestry (i.e., African, Asian, European). Our results indicate groups are not patterned by the ancestry trifecta. These findings illustrate the benefit and necessity of embracing studies that employ population structure models to better understand human variation and the historical factors that have influenced it.

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Afro-Asian Connections in Latin America and the Caribbean

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2021-06-29 23:12Z by Steven

Afro-Asian Connections in Latin America and the Caribbean

Lexington Books (an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield)
November 2018
256 pages
Trim: 6 x 9
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4985-8708-2
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4985-8709-9
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4985-8709-9

Edited By:

Luisa Marcela Ossa, Associate Professor of Spanish
LaSalle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Debbie Lee-DiStefano
Springfield Lyceum College Preparatory, Springfield, Massachusetts

Afro-Asian Connections in Latin America and the Caribbean explores the connections between people of Asian and African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean. Although their journeys started from different points of origin, spanning two separate oceans, their point of contact in this hemisphere brought them together under a hegemonic system that would treat these seemingly disparate continental ancestries as one. Historically, an overwhelming majority of people of African and Asian descent were brought to the Americas as sources of labor to uphold the plantation, agrarian economies leading to complex relationships and interactions. The contributions to this collection examine various aspects of these connections. The authors bring to the forefront perspectives regarding history, literature, art, and religion and engage how they are manifested in these Afro-Asian relationships and interactions. They investigate what has received little academic engagement outside the acknowledgement that there are groups who are of African and Asian descent. In regard to their relationships with the dominant Europeanized center, references to both groups typically only view them as singular entities. What this interdisciplinary collection presents is a more cohesive approach that strives to place them at the center together and view their relationships in their historical contexts.

Table of Contents

  1. Afro and Chinese Depictions in Peruvian Social Discourse at the Turn of the 20th Century
  2. Locating Chinese Culture and Aesthetics in the Art of Wifredo Lam
  3. Through the Prism of the Harlem Ashram: Afro-Asian-Caribbean Connections in Transnational Circulation
  4. Merging the Transpacific with the Transatlantic: Afro-Asia in Japanese Brazilian Narratives
  5. Parallels and Intersections: Literary Depictions of the Lives of Chinese and Africans in 19th Century and Early 20th Century Cuba
  6. Erased from Collective Memory: Dreadlocks Story Documentary Untangles the Hindu Legacy of Rastafari
  7. Body of Reconciliation: Aida Petrinera Cheng’s Journey in Como un Mensajero Tuyo
  8. “I am Like One of those Women”: Effeminization of Chinese Caribbean men as Feminist Strategy in Three Contemporary Caribbean Novels
  9. La Mulata Achinada: Bodies, Gender, and Authority in Afro-Chinese Religion in Cuba
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Social Representations of Art in Public Places: A Study of Everyday Explanations of the Statue of ‘A Real Birmingham Family’

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Family/Parenting, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2021-06-29 22:20Z by Steven

Social Representations of Art in Public Places: A Study of Everyday Explanations of the Statue of ‘A Real Birmingham Family’

Genealogy
Volume 5, Issue 3
pages 59-74
First Published 2021-06-22
DOI: 10.3390/genealogy5030059

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader
Centre for Health Services Studies
University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom


Figure 1. ‘A Real Birmingham Family’, 2014. Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/
commons/2/27/Real_Birmingham_Family_statue_-_Library_of_Birmingham_(15119604114).jpg, accessed on 1 May 2021.

This article focuses on the social/cultural representations of the statue of A Real Birmingham Family cast in bronze and unveiled in Britain’s second city in October 2014. It reveals a family comprising two local mixed-race sisters, both single mothers, and their sons, unanimously chosen from 372 families. Three of the four families shortlisted for the statue were ‘mixed-race’ families. The artwork came about through a partnership between the sculptress, Gillian Wearing, and the city’s Ikon Gallery. A number of different lay representations of the artwork have been identified, notably, that it is a ‘normal family with no fathers’ and that it is not a ‘typical family’. These are at variance with a representation based on an interpretation of the artwork and materials associated with its creation: that a nuclear family is one reality amongst many and that what constitutes a family should not be fixed. This representation destabilizes our notion of the family and redefines it as empirical, experiential, and first-hand, families being brought into recognition by those in the wider society who choose to nominate themselves as such. The work of Ian Hacking, Richard Jenkins, and others is drawn upon to contest the concept of ‘normality’. Further, statistical data are presented that show that there is now a plurality of family types with no one type dominating or meriting the title of ‘normal’. Finally, Wearing’s statues of families in Trentino and Copenhagen comprise an evolving body of cross-national public art that provides further context and meaning for this representation.

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Opinion: ‘In the Heights’ is just more of the same whitewashed Hollywood

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Latino Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2021-06-22 20:11Z by Steven

Opinion: ‘In the Heights’ is just more of the same whitewashed Hollywood

The Washington Post
2021-06-21

Julissa Contreras and Dash Harris Machado


Producer Lin-Manuel Miranda attends the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival opening-night premiere of “In the Heights” on June 9 in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Julissa Contreras is a Dominican writer, poet, actor and creator of the “Ladies Who Bronché” podcast. Dash Harris Machado is co-founder of AfroLatino Travel, producer and facilitator of the “Radio Caña Negra” podcast and producer of “NEGRO: A Docu-series About Latinx Identity.”

The recent controversy surrounding “In the Heights,” the big-budget film based on the musical created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, came as no surprise for Black Latin American and Caribbean people. With its White and light-skinned leading roles, the film became part of a long tradition in the Americas of Black erasure.

When moviegoers and journalists, including the Root’s Felice León, started highlighting the lack of Black leading cast members in the film, many prominent figures rushed to defend it. “We shouldn’t burden Lin-Manuel with the responsibility of representing every Latino,” commentator Ana Navarro said. “You can never do right, it seems,” actress Rita Moreno said in defense of Miranda. “This is the man who literally has brought Latino-ness and Puerto Rican-ness to America.” Both accounts are inaccurate.

Read the entire article here.

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