No Future in This Country: The Prophetic Pessimism of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2020-11-18 02:59Z by Steven

No Future in This Country: The Prophetic Pessimism of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner

University Press of Mississippi
November 2020
208 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496830708
Paperback ISBN: 9781496830692

Andre E. Johnson, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies
University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee

A critical study of the career of the nineteenth-century bishop

No Future in This Country: The Prophetic Pessimism of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner is a history of the career of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner (1834–1915), specifically focusing on his work from 1896 to 1915. Drawing on the copious amount of material from Turner’s speeches, editorial, and open and private letters, Andre E. Johnson tells a story of how Turner provided rhetorical leadership during a period in which America defaulted on many of the rights and privileges gained for African Americans during Reconstruction. Unlike many of his contemporaries during this period, Turner did not opt to proclaim an optimistic view of race relations. Instead, Johnson argues that Turner adopted a prophetic persona of a pessimistic prophet who not only spoke truth to power but, in so doing, also challenged and pushed African Americans to believe in themselves.

At this time in his life, Turner had no confidence in American institutions or that the American people would live up to the promises outlined in their sacred documents. While he argued that emigration was the only way for African Americans to retain their “personhood” status, he also would come to believe that African Americans would never emigrate to Africa. He argued that many African Americans were so oppressed and so stripped of agency because they were surrounded by continued negative assessments of their personhood that belief in emigration was not possible. Turner’s position limited his rhetorical options, but by adopting a pessimistic prophetic voice that bore witness to the atrocities African Americans faced, Turner found space for his oratory, which reflected itself within the lament tradition of prophecy.

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Olivia Ward Bush-Banks and the Dualism of African and Native American Identity

Posted in Articles, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2020-11-02 18:50Z by Steven

Olivia Ward Bush-Banks and the Dualism of African and Native American Identity

Amistad Research Center
Tilton Hall, Tulane University
6823 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana 70118

2014-09-24

Chianta Dorsey

The birth of the African American literary condition occurred in 1773 with the publication of Phyllis Wheatley’s book of poetry and has evolved into a thriving apparatus within American literature ever since. Olivia Ward Bush-Banks is amongst this tradition and the presence of her literary work offers a view into the complex identities of Americans—Black, Native American, and a woman, Bush-Banks had plenty to pull from when she began her writing career at the turn of the 20th century…

Read the entire article here.

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America’s first vampire was Black and revolutionary – it’s time to remember him

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2020-11-01 03:18Z by Steven

America’s first vampire was Black and revolutionary – it’s time to remember him

The Conversation
2020-10-30

Sam George, Associate Professor of Research
University of Hertfordshire


The Black Vampyre is an early literary example of an argument for emancipation of slaves. Thomas Nast/Harper’s Weekly/The Met

In April of 1819, a London periodical, the New Monthly Magazine, published The Vampyre: A Tale by Lord Byron. Notice of its publication quickly appeared in papers in the United States.

Byron was at the time enjoying remarkable popularity and this new tale, supposedly by the famous poet, caused a sensation as did its reprintings in Boston’s Atheneum (15 June) and Baltimore’s Robinson’s Magazine (26 June).

The Vampyre did away with the East European peasant vampire of old. It took this monster out of the forests, gave him an aristocratic lineage and placed him into the drawing rooms of Romantic-era England. It was the first sustained fictional treatment of the vampire and completely recast the folklore and mythology on which it drew.

By July, Byron’s denial of authorship was being reported and by August the true author was discovered, John Polidori.

In the meantime, an American response, The Black Vampyre: A Legend of St. Domingo, by one Uriah Derick D’Arcy, appeared. D’Arcy explicitly parodies The Vampyre and even suggests that Lord Ruthven, Polidori’s British vampire aristocrat, had his origins in the Carribean. A later reprinting in 1845 attributed The Black Vampyre to a Robert C Sands; however, many believe the author was more likely a Richard Varick Dey (1801–1837), a near anagram of the named author…

Read the entire article here.

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That Middle World: Race, Performance, and the Politics of Passing

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2020-10-11 02:38Z by Steven

That Middle World: Race, Performance, and the Politics of Passing

University of North Carolina Press
October 2020
242 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 10 halftones, 1 fig
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5957-2
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5956-5
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-5958-9

Julia S. Charles, Assistant Professor of English
Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama

In this study of racial passing literature, Julia S. Charles highlights how mixed-race subjects invent cultural spaces for themselves—a place she terms that middle world—and how they, through various performance strategies, make meaning in the interstices between the Black and white worlds. Focusing on the construction and performance of racial identity in works by writers from the antebellum period through Reconstruction, Charles creates a new discourse around racial passing to analyze mixed-race characters’ social objectives when crossing into other racialized spaces. To illustrate how this middle world and its attendant performativity still resonates in the present day, Charles connects contemporary figures, television, and film—including Rachel Dolezal and her Black-passing controversy, the FX show Atlanta, and the musical Show Boat—to a range of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literary texts. Charles’s work offers a nuanced approach to African American passing literature and examines how mixed-race performers articulated their sense of selfhood and communal belonging.

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How The Vanishing Half fits into our cultural fixation with racial passing stories

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-09-19 20:36Z by Steven

How The Vanishing Half fits into our cultural fixation with racial passing stories

Vox
2020-08-14

Constance Grady


Zac Freeland/Vox

The Vox Book Club is linking to Bookshop.org to support local and independent booksellers.

Passing for white never left.”

In Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half, the character of Stella haunts the narrative like a ghost. Stella is the half who vanished: half of her family, half of her sister’s heart. And she vanished by excising half of her own identity.

Stella is a light-skinned Black woman, and when she is 16, she decides to start passing for white. Her identical twin sister Desiree, meanwhile, grows up to marry the darkest-skinned man she can find. Stella breaks away from her family, and we don’t get a chance to meet her on the pages of the novel until nearly halfway through the book when at last her niece, Desiree’s dark-skinned daughter, tracks her down. It’s only in that last section that we finally learn exactly what happened to Stella.

Stella’s fate haunts the novel, and so does the genre her story belongs to. There’s a long history of narratives of racial passing in the American novel, and The Vanishing Half plays with the genre in new and interesting ways. So as the Vox Book Club spends the month talking about The Vanishing Half, I wanted to put it in the context of the passing novel more broadly.

To get an expert view, I called up Alisha Gaines, an English professor at Florida State University and the author of Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy. Together, we talked through the history of the African American passing novel, what passing looks like after Jim Crow (sorry, Ben Shapiro), and how passing novels can show us how race is produced and reproduced. Below is a transcript of our conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity.

The first African American stories of racial passing are slave narratives

Constance Grady

Do we know when the first of these narratives emerged? How old are stories about racial passing?

Alisha Gaines

It’s an old story. In literature and in life, America has a fascination with impersonation, which includes blackface minstrelsy. And passing narratives, if you want to be technical about it, in African American literature, they start with the slave narrative…

Read the entire interview here.

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Afro-German Women are Still Upholding the Legacy of May Ayim

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Women on 2020-09-13 01:55Z by Steven

Afro-German Women are Still Upholding the Legacy of May Ayim

Catapult
2020-09-10

Tari Ngangura


May Ayim with Audre Lorde/Photograph via audrelordeberlin.com

There have always been people suffering from anti-Blackness. And May Ayim highlights the continuity of the Black experience—not only her own, but those before her as well.

In 1986, Afro-German author and poet May Opitz—better known as May Ayim—co-edited the anthology, Showing Our Colours: Afro-German Women Speak Out. The book carries the stories of Afro-German women and their volatile, often violent experiences with anti-Blackness, belonging, and sexism in the European nation. Showing Our Colours remains a seminal offering in works that claim the existence and legitimacy of Black history within Europe, and also examines Germany’s specific role in the nineteenth century colonization of Africa—including the genocide in Namibia, which saw over one hundred thousand of the Herero, Nama, and San people killed by the German regime from 1904 until 1908.

Those who survived the genocide were locked in concentration camps, a precursor to those that would be utilized in the Holocaust. Showing Our Colours is as much about claiming space as it is about holding Germany accountable to its imperial history and its effects on the contemporary realities of Black immigrants living in the country. The book also outlines political shifts through the ages that saw terms like Moor, Negro, and African morph into racial epithets that would later be used by pseudoscientists to justify anti-Black racism, fascism, and medical bias.

Ayim died by suicide in 1996, and in her life and death, I see a testament to the resilience of Black women, and an indictment of insidious white supremacy that makes Black life a fragile negotiation between visibility and erasure. Since her death, Ayim’s work has been revisited most often by young Afro-Germans searching for the language and tools to explore their Blackness and womanhood alongside a European history that interrupted their ancestry and systematically destabilizes their present. For Afro-Germans, and especially the youth who have lived through global Black Lives Matter conversations, who witnessed police brutality on both a national and global scale, it is not enough to be simply German. It’s in this space that Ayim’s work is finding new eyes…

I spoke with Marny Garcia Mommertz, a Black-German researcher born in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, about how the late author’s work has been something of a map, detailing similar experiences of othering, and a reminder that her contemporary reality is not simply of her own making, but part of a larger structural legacy of oppression…

Read the entire interview here.

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Global ‘Mixed Race’ Studies: Global Perspectives on ‘Mixed Race’, Citizenship and Immigration (CULANTH 220FS – 01)

Posted in Course Offerings, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2020-08-26 20:42Z by Steven

Global ‘Mixed Race’ Studies: Global Perspectives on ‘Mixed Race’, Citizenship and Immigration (CULANTH 220FS – 01)

Duke University
Asian American & Diaspora Studies
Fall 2020

Jayne O. Ifekwunigwe, Senior Research Scholar
Duke Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference (GRID), Durham, North Carolina

By exploring pioneering and controversial writings from both the social and the biological sciences as well as the humanities, this course will situate debates on ‘race’, ‘mixed race’ and social hierarchies within broader global, comparative, and historical contexts. These comparative examples shed light on the the different social, social, and historical meanings attached to ‘race’ and ‘mixed race’ and address social and cultural variations in the symbolic rules which determine the social status of ‘mixed race’ communities.

For more information, click here.

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Blue Beneath My Skin, Alchemist Theatre Co. (Streamed Broadcast)

Posted in Articles, Arts, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2020-08-25 23:56Z by Steven

Blue Beneath My Skin, Alchemist Theatre Co. (Streamed Broadcast)

Breaking The Fourth Wall: Michael Davis’ thoughts on theatre and the Arts.
2020-06-27

Michael Davis

The second entry in Alchemist Theatre’sWriters On Hold’ series, Blue Beneath My Skin continues to explore the themes of racial identity and feminimity. Written and performed by Macadie Amoroso, the monologue focuses on a 17-year-old mixed race girl, who after she was abandoned as a baby by a canal, was found and later raised by an all-white family.

While ‘Canal Baby’ (Amoroso’s character) has a ‘comfortable’ existence, domestic life does have its tensions. She’s still close to her ‘father’, but he and her ‘mother’ are no longer a couple. Living in an all-female household (with ‘mother’ and ‘sister’), far from having many things in common, even neutral interests such as fashion are a divisive subject, where they seldom see eye-to-eye. Regardless of this, it is the one avenue where Amoroso’s character feels she can express her individuality, irrespective of her family’s opinions and tastes.

Read the entire review here.

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Race and Media: Critical Approaches

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, United States on 2020-08-12 00:43Z by Steven

Race and Media: Critical Approaches

New York University Press
December 2020
320 pages
6.00 x 9.00 in
11 b/w illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 9781479895779
Paperback ISBN: 9781479889310

Edited by:

Lori Kido Lopez, Associate Professor in Media and Cultural Studies
University of Wisconsin, Madison

A foundational collection of essays that demonstrate how to study race and media

From graphic footage of migrant children in cages to #BlackLivesMatter and #OscarsSoWhite, portrayals and discussions of race dominate the media landscape. Race and Media adopts a wide range of methods to make sense of specific occurrences, from the corporate portrayal of mixed-race identity by 23andMe to the cosmopolitan fetishization of Marie Kondo. As a whole, this collection demonstrates that all forms of media—from the sitcoms we stream to the Twitter feeds we follow—confirm racism and reinforce its ideological frameworks, while simultaneously giving space for new modes of resistance and understanding.

In each chapter, a leading media scholar elucidates a set of foundational concepts in the study of race and media—such as the burden of representation, discourses of racialization, multiculturalism, hybridity, and the visuality of race. In doing so, they offer tools for media literacy that include rigorous analysis of texts, ideologies, institutions and structures, audiences and users, and technologies. The authors then apply these concepts to a wide range of media and the diverse communities that engage with them in order to uncover new theoretical frameworks and methodologies. From advertising and music to film festivals, video games, telenovelas, and social media, these essays engage and employ contemporary dialogues and struggles for social justice by racialized communities to push media forward.

Contributors include: Mary Beltrán, Meshell Sturgis, Ralina L. Joseph, Dolores Inés Casillas, Jennifer Lynn Stoever, Jason Kido Lopez, Peter X Feng, Jacqueline Land, Mari Castañeda, Jun Okada, Amy Villarejo, Aymar Jean Christian, Sarah Florini, Raven Maragh-Lloyd, Sulafa Zidani, Lia Wolock, Meredith D. Clark, Jillian M. Báez, Miranda J. Brady, Kishonna L. Gray, and Susan Noh.

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“Is There a Self in This Text? Satire, Passing, and Life in Danzy Senna’s Caucasia”

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-07-19 03:50Z by Steven

“Is There a Self in This Text? Satire, Passing, and Life in Danzy Senna’s Caucasia

Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction
Published online 2020-06-25
DOI: 10.1080/00111619.2020.1784083

Myers Enlow
University of Memphis , Memphis, Tennessee

In this paper, I argue that Danzy Senna’s Caucasia is a satirical passing narrative that exposes the tragedy of traditional passing novels as archaic for relying on racial binaries and perpetuating white desirability. I draw on the existing scholarship surrounding satire and traditional passing narratives and apply it to Senna’s work to analyze the ways this novel differs from traditional, early 20th-century passing narratives to comment on the absurdity of white desirability and the racial binary through the American Dream. Specifically, I look at Caucasia as a location in which the main characters – biracial Birdie and Cole Lee; their white mother, Sandy; and their black father, Deck – must find a way to live. The all-white space the characters are forced to inhabit informs their racial identities and desires and leads to a double consciousness within the narrator, Birdie. Ultimately, Senna’s satire illuminates the tragic passing narrative as complicit in upholding and reinforcing assumptions of a binary world. Additionally, Senna shows the double consciousness African Americans and biracial individuals embody because of America’s fixation on the white, American Dream that manifests itself as life in Caucasia.

Read or purchase the article here.

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