The Harlem Renaissance’s Hidden Figure

Posted in Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Passing, United States on 2017-08-16 21:57Z by Steven

The Harlem Renaissance’s Hidden Figure

Ursinus College
English Summer Fellows Student Research
2017-07-21
23 pages

Jada A. Grice
Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pennsylvania

This project will seek to look at the Harlem Renaissance’s hidden figure, Jessie Fauset. Jessie Fauset was born to an A.M.E. minister and his wife as one of ten children in Camden County, New Jersey and raised in Philadelphia. From there she got her college degree and began teaching all over the country. She has written four novels, There is Confusion, Plum Bun, The Chinaberry Tree, and Comedy: American Style, all of which I have read this summer. Each novel focuses on the early twentieth century black family. I will be analyzing these novels under the four themes of passing, acceptance, romance, and Paris/escape. I will also be mapping the characters in the novel on a QGIS system in order to indicate where the majority of the novel takes place and to see if certain characters have more movement than others. I will finally map Jessie Fauset’s life in order to see if her life parallels with the lives of her characters. Mapping consists of a close reading of the novel, identifying locations in the book, creating an [Microsoft] Excel spreadsheet, and plotting the spreadsheet onto an online map on QGIS.

Read the entire paper here.

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The Great Gatsby, Race, and Passing

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-08-10 01:36Z by Steven

The Great Gatsby, Race, and Passing

English 356: The “Great” American Novel: 1900-1965 (Prof. VZ)
College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina
2015-02-03

Christine McSwain

Like most people in the class, I’ve read The Great Gatsby several times, both for class and on my own.  Gatsby is one of those novels that doesn’t get old to me, and I think that’s due in part to the different ways each part of the novel can be interpreted, and how I notice something new each time I read it.  Not long after the Baz Luhrman adaptation of the novel came out, I saw a theory floating around that Jay Gatsby could be read as a black man passing as a white man, and I thought that theory was pretty interesting and did some more research on it.  I think reading the novel with that interpretation in mind brings a whole new narrative out.

The article I’m referencing was published in 2000, thirteen years before the newest adaptation starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby was released.  Professor Carlyle V. Thompson argues that Gatsby was indeed black, specifically that “‘Fitzgerald characterizes Jay Gatsby as a pale black individual passing as white.’”  There are clues throughout the novel that allude to Gatsby’s race, including his name change from Gatz to Gatsby, much like freed slaves changed their names to give themselves a new beginning.  There are also mentions that Gatsby’s family is dead, which according to Thompson references that “‘those light-skinned black individuals who pass for white become symbolically dead to their families’”, suggesting that perhaps Jay Gatsby had done the same…

Read the entire article here.

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Identity Issues: The Passing Mulatto and the Politics of Representations

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-08-09 17:45Z by Steven

Identity Issues: The Passing Mulatto and the Politics of Representations

American Scientific Research Journal for Engineering, Technology, and Sciences (ASRJETS)
Volume 28, Number 1 (2017)
pages 296-305

Dr. Hayder Naji Shanbooj Alolaiw, Faculty of Letters
Department of Anglo-American and German Studies
University of Craiova Craiova, Romania

The transformation of the American nation into a multicultural society could result in a nation that voluntarily and openly accepts the benefits of contributing traditions, values, philosophies and behaviors. This trend, though, is struggling against a social structure that has been perceived to be grounded upon a dominant culture and value system. According to John A. Garcia, multiculturalism and difference are challenging cultural and ideological supremacy upsetting the sense of naturalness and neutrality that infused most peoples’ sense of modern society. The U.S. American ethos was characterized by individualism, egalitarianism, equality of opportunity and emphasis on Western cultures, among other things. All these characteristics have historically been turned into the perfect ingredients of a pervasive American tradition that serves as a cultural core that all members of society learnt to share and internalize ensuring societal stability and gradual change.

Read the entire article here.

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50th Narrative: Michelle La Flamme, Associate Professor, English, University of the Fraser Valley

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2017-08-06 13:51Z by Steven

50th Narrative: Michelle La Flamme, Associate Professor, English, University of the Fraser Valley

TRaCE: Track Report Connect Exchange
Narrative
2017

Michelle La Flamme, Professor of English
University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Editor’s note: This is TRaCE’s 50th narrative, and we’re excited to feature Michelle La Flamme’s story! Our past narratives are all available in our archive. See also our reflection posts on the process of writing narratives, the quantitative data collection and analysis, and the experiences of our student interviewers.

Being asked to reflect upon my experiences as a graduate student flashes me back to a time that had some serious practical and financial constraints. As a woman of color with Aboriginal ancestry, the idea of going to university necessitated an engagement with the negative stigma that universities represented to me. It was a struggle for me to feel a sense of belonging and to find the right to express my own voice in such a space. I experienced the typical loneliness that comes from doing focused graduate studies, but there was also an extra loneliness I felt by not seeing people who looked like me, or professors who looked like me, and never being exposed to texts which resonated with my own experience as a mixed blood woman of color. My love of literature, the guidance of some very supportive mentors, and the knowledge that I was the first in my family to complete a doctoral degree were the forces which drove me forward. Here is a little bit of my story that I have been asked to share in the hope that it will make the path a bit easier for others…

…I finished my doctoral degree in four years due to the support of my supervisor and my committee, as well as the cultural supports that I experienced through the Longhouse at UBC. When I graduated, my dissertation, Living, Writing and Staging Racial Hybridity, won the departmental prize for the best dissertation in 2006. It was a very proud moment for me, made especially noteworthy as I am the only one in my family ever to complete a terminal degree! Though my niece exclaimed that the doctoral defense was the most boring day of her life, I hope she will realize the significance and impact that this moment had on our whole family when she is mature enough to reflect on it…

Read the entire article here.

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Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2017-08-05 21:31Z by Steven

Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
June 2018
295 pages
ISBN13: 978-1-77112-240-5

Michelle La Flamme, Professor of English
University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Canada’s history is bicultural, Indigenous, and multilingual, and these characteristics have given risen to a number of strategies used by our writers to code racially mixed characters. This book examines contemporary Canadian literature and drama in order to tease out some of those strategies and the social and cultural factors that inform them.

Racially hybrid characters in literature have served a matrix of needs. They are used as shorthand for interracial desire, signifiers of taboo love, images of impurity, symbols of degeneration, and examples of beauty and genetic perfection. Their fates have been used to suggest the futility of marrying across racial lines, or the revelation of their “one drop” signals a climactic downfall. Other narratives suggest mixed-race bodies are foundational to colonization and signify contact between colonial and Indigenous bodies.

Author Michelle LaFlamme approaches racial hybridity with a cross-generic and cross-racial approach, unusual in the field of hybridity studies, by analyzing characters with different racial mixes in autobiographies, fiction, and drama. Her analysis privileges literary texts and the voices of artists rather than sociological explanations of the mixed-race experience. The book suggests that the hyper-visualization of mixed-race bodies in mono-racial contexts creates a scopophilic interest in how those bodies look and perform race.

La Flamme’s term “soma text” draws attention to the constructed, performative aspects of this form of embodiment. The writers she examines witness that living in a racially hybrid and ambiguous body is a complex engagement that involves reading and decoding the body in sophisticated ways, involving both the multiracial body and the racialized gaze of the onlooker.

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Margo Jefferson with Jackie Kay

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2017-08-05 21:29Z by Steven

Margo Jefferson with Jackie Kay

Edinburgh International Book Festival
Studio Theatre
13-29 Nicolson St
Edinburgh EH8 9FT, United Kingdom
Sunday, 2017-08-20, 20:45-21:45 BST (Local Time)


Feminism and Civil Rights

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning cultural critic Margo Jefferson is the author of a bold, defiant and astonishingly accomplished memoir, Negroland. Powerfully demonstrating that a ‘post-racial’ America is far from being a reality, Jefferson explores the challenge of reconciling feminism (often regarded as a white woman’s terrain) with black power (sometimes seen as a black male issue). Jefferson discusses her compelling life story with Scotland’s Makar, the poet and novelist Jackie Kay.

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Passing: Intersections of Race, Gender, Sexuality and Class

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-08-02 00:19Z by Steven

Passing: Intersections of Race, Gender, Sexuality and Class

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
2017-07-17
379 pages

Dana Christine Volk

Dissertation submitted to the faculty of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy In ASPECT: Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought

African American Literature in the 20th century engaged many social and racial issues that mainstream white America marginalized during the pre-civil rights era through the use of rhetoric, setting, plot, narrative, and characterization. The use of passing fostered an outlet for many light-skinned men and women for inclusion. This trope also allowed for a closer investigation of the racial division in the United States during the 20th century. These issues included questions of the color line, or more specifically, how light-skinned men and women passed as white to obtain elevated economic and social status. Secondary issues in these earlier passing novels included gender and sexuality, raising questions as to whether these too existed as fixed identities in society. As such, the phenomenon of passing illustrates not just issues associated with the color line, but also social, economic, and gender structure within society. Human beings exist in a matrix, and as such, passing is not plausible if viewed solely as a process occurring within only one of these social constructs, but, rather, insists upon a viewpoint of an intersectional construct of social fluidity itself. This paper will re-theorize passing from a description solely concerning racial movements into a theory that explores passing as an intersectional understanding of gender, sexuality, race, and class. This paper will focus on contemporary cultural products (e.g., novels) of passing that challenge the traditional notion of passing and focus on an intersectional linkage between race, gender, sexuality, and class.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Colouring the Caribbean: Race and the art of Agostino Brunias

Posted in Arts, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2017-07-30 21:56Z by Steven

Colouring the Caribbean: Race and the art of Agostino Brunias

Manchester University Press
December 2017
272 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-5261-2045-8
eBook ISBN: 978-1-5261-2047-2

Mia L. Bagneris, Jesse Poesch Junior Professor of Art History
Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

Colouring the Caribbean offers the first comprehensive study of Agostino Brunias’s intriguing pictures of colonial West Indians of colour – so called ‘Red’ and ‘Black’ Caribs, dark-skinned Africans and Afro-Creoles, and people of mixed race – made for colonial officials and plantocratic elites during the late-eighteenth century. Although Brunias’s paintings have often been understood as straightforward documents of visual ethnography that functioned as field guides for reading race, this book investigates how the images both reflected and refracted ideas about race commonly held by eighteenth-century Britons, helping to construct racial categories while simultaneously exposing their constructedness and underscoring their contradictions. The book offers provocative new insights about Brunias’s work gleaned from a broad survey of his paintings, many of which are reproduced here for the first time.

Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Brunias’s tarred brush, or painting Indians black: race-ing the Carib divide
  • 2. Merry and contented slaves and other island myths: representing Africans and Afro-Creoles in the Anglxexo-American world
  • 3. Brown-skinned booty, or colonising Diana: mixed-race Venuses and Vixens as the fruits of imperial enterprise
  • 4. Can you find the white woman in this picture? Agostino Brunias’s ‘ladies’ of ambiguous race
  • Coda – Pushing Brunias’s buttons, or re-branding the plantocracy’s painter: the afterlife of Brunias’s imagery
  • Index
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In Passing: Arab American Poetry and the Politics of Race

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-07-30 20:46Z by Steven

In Passing: Arab American Poetry and the Politics of Race

Ethnic Studies Review
Volume 28, Issue 2 (2005)
pages 17-36

Katherine Wardi-Zonna
Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania

Anissa Janine Wardi
Chatham College, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Racial passing has a long history in America. In fact, there are manifold reasons for passing, not the least of which is to reap benefits-social, economic and legal-routinely denied to people of color. Passing is conventionally understood to be a volitional act that either situationally or permanently allows members of marginalized groups to assimilate into a privileged culture. While it could be argued that those who choose to pass are, in a sense, race traitors, betraying familial, historical and cultural ties to personhood,1 Wald provides another way of reading passing, or “crossing the line,” as a “practice that emerges from subjects’ desires to control the terms of their racial definition, rather than be subject to the definitions of white supremacy” (6). She further contends that racial distinction, itself, “is a basis of racial oppression and exploitation” (6).

Read the entire article here.

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Hypatia’s Editor and Reviews Editor Resign; Authority of Associate Editors “Temporarily Suspended”

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Philosophy on 2017-07-23 23:48Z by Steven

Hypatia’s Editor and Reviews Editor Resign; Authority of Associate Editors “Temporarily Suspended”

Daily Nous: News For and About the Philosophy Profession
2017-07-21

Justin W.

The editor of feminist philosophy journal, Hypatia, Sally Scholz (Villanova University) and the editor of Hypatia Reviews OnlineShelley Wilcox (San Francisco State University), are resigning from their positions in the wake of the controversy surrounding the publication of “In Defense of Transracialism” by Rebecca Tuvel (Rhodes College). Meanwhile, the Board of Directors of Hypatia, the non-profit corporation that owns the journal, is taking “emergency measures to restore the academic integrity of the journal” and has “temporarily suspended the authority of the Associate Editorial Board.”

Readers may recall that the associate editors of Hypatia, responding to criticism on social media of the journal’s decision to publish Tuvel’s article, issued an unofficial apology in which they stated that the article “should not have been published.”…

Read the entire article here.

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