A Love Letter to Indigenous Blackness

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2021-09-21 00:36Z by Steven

A Love Letter to Indigenous Blackness

NACLA: Report on the Americas
Volume 53, Issue 3, November 2021 (Published online 2021-09-13)
pages 248-254

Paul Joseph López Oro, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts


A Garifuna ritual gathering to honor the ancestors at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, New York, June 2017. (Paul Joseph López Oro)

Garifuna women in New York City working to preserve life, culture, and history across borders and generations are part of a powerful lineage of resistance to anti-Blackness.

Mirtha Colón. Janel Martinez. Aida Lambert. Tania Molina. Carla Garcia. Tola Guerrero. Karen Blanco. Miriam Miranda. Ofelia Bernandez. Olga Nuñez. Luz Solis. Siria Alvarez. Isha Sumner. Sulma Arzu-Brown. Dilma Suazo-Gordon. Isidra Sabio. These are just some names of Garifuna women whose hemispheric political labor highlights a transgenerational and transnational tradition of preserving Garifuna life. Garifuna women are the very foundation of conjuring, mobilizing, and safeguarding Garifuna ancestral memory, rituals, language, and oral histories—all embodied histories of knowledge production—across generations and national boundaries. Some of these Garifuna women live in New York City, and some of them live in Central America’s Caribbean coasts. Some have never been to Central America, but their family’s nostalgia remains with them.

Garifuna life is matrifocal. Garifuna women are not simply the head of the household, but they are also at the center of organizing and governing every family structure, which extends beyond biological kinship. This is not a uniquely Garifuna experience. Throughout the African diaspora in the Americas, Black women are often the head of the household. Especially if we consider non-heteronormative notions of family and kinship, Black women have been at the forefront of preserving and protecting Black life over centuries, as anthropologists Christen A. Smith and Keisha-Khan Y. Perry have documented. However, a matrifocal or matrilineal society does not dismantle misogynoir, patriarchy, racial capitalism, and anti-Blackness. I write this matrilineal love letter to honor, celebrate, and center Garifuna women’s political, intellectual, spiritual, cultural, and knowledge producing labor that often goes unseen, uncited, or undervalued in a world that remains heteropatriarchal and anti-Black…

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Hawai′i Is My Haven: Race and Indigeneity in the Black Pacific

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2021-08-31 02:03Z by Steven

Hawai′i Is My Haven: Race and Indigeneity in the Black Pacific

Duke University Press
September 2021
360 pages
17 illustrations
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-1437-9
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-1346-4

Nitasha Tamar Sharma, Professor of African American Studies and Asian American Studies
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Hawaiʻi Is My Haven maps the context and contours of Black life in the Hawaiian Islands. This ethnography emerges from a decade of fieldwork with both Hawaiʻi-raised Black locals and Black transplants who moved to the Islands from North America, Africa, and the Caribbean. Nitasha Tamar Sharma highlights the paradox of Hawaiʻi as a multiracial paradise and site of unacknowledged anti-Black racism. While Black culture is ubiquitous here, African-descended people seem invisible. In this formerly sovereign nation structured neither by the US Black/White binary nor the one drop rule, non-White multiracials, including Black Hawaiians and Black Koreans, illustrate the coarticulation and limits of race and the native/settler divide. Despite erasure and racism, nonmilitary Black residents consider Hawaiʻi their haven, describing it as a place to “breathe” that offers the possibility of becoming local. Sharma’s analysis of race, indigeneity, and Asian settler colonialism shifts North American debates in Black and Native studies to the Black Pacific. Hawaiʻi Is My Haven illustrates what the Pacific offers members of the African diaspora and how they in turn illuminate race and racism in “paradise.”

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Hawaiʻi Is My Haven
  • 1. Over Two Centuries: The History of Black People in Hawaiʻi
  • 2. “Saltwater Negroes”: Black Locals, Multiracism, and Expansive Blackness
  • 3. “Less Pressure”: Black Transplants, Settler Colonialism, and a Radical Lens
  • 4. Racism in Paradise: AntiBlack Racism and Resistance in Hawaiʻi
  • 5. Embodying Kuleana: Negotiating Black and Native Positionality in Hawaiʻi
  • Conclusion: Identity↔Politics↔Knowledge
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • 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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For James McCune Smith, Racism Was All Over Anthropology

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive on 2021-08-18 01:13Z by Steven

For James McCune Smith, Racism Was All Over Anthropology

JSTOR Daily
2021-08-11

Livia Gershon
Nashua, New Hampshire


James McCune Smith via Wikimedia Commons/Jonathan Aprea

What if the creation story of anthropology isn’t exclusively about white men classifying people as primitive?

In the first half of the nineteenth century, intellectuals working in the nascent field of anthropology sought to divide humanity into more and less civilized races, debating whether these differences were due to biology or deep-seated cultural patterns. At least that’s what Americans today tend to remember about the early days of the discipline. But, anthropologist Thomas C. Patterson writes, that may be because historians studying anthropology have selectively ignored other viewpoints within the field. To counteract this tendency, Patterson invites us to learn about the Black anthropologist James McCune Smith.

McCune Smith was born enslaved in New York City. He became legally free as a teenager in 1827 under New York state’s Emancipation Act. He apprenticed as a blacksmith while studying Latin and Greek. Denied admission to Columbia University because of his race, he attended the University of Glasgow and went on to become a medical doctor…

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Becoming American in Creole New Orleans, 1896–1949

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2021-08-12 21:15Z by Steven

Becoming American in Creole New Orleans, 1896–1949

Louisiana State University Press
July 2021
224 pages
5.50 x 8.50 inches
no illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 9780807175477

Darryl Barthé Jr., Lecturer in History
Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Extensive scholarship has emerged within the last twenty-five years on the role of Louisiana Creoles in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, yet academic work on the history of Creoles in New Orleans after the Civil War and into the twentieth century remains sparse. Darryl Barthé Jr.’s Becoming American in Creole New Orleans moves the history of New Orleans’ Creole community forward, documenting the process of “becoming American” through Creoles’ encounters with Anglo-American modernism. Barthé tracks this ethnic transformation through an interrogation of New Orleans’s voluntary associations and social sodalities, as well as its public and parochial schools, where Creole linguistic distinctiveness faded over the twentieth century because of English-only education and the establishment of Anglo-American economic hegemony.

Barthé argues that despite the existence of ethnic repression, the transition from Creole to American identity was largely voluntary as Creoles embraced the economic opportunities afforded to them through learning English. “Becoming American” entailed the adoption of a distinctly American language and a distinctly American racialized caste system. Navigating that caste system was always tricky for Creoles, who had existed in between French and Spanish color lines that recognized them as a group separate from Europeans, Africans, and Amerindians even though they often shared kinship ties with all of these groups. Creoles responded to the pressures associated with the demands of the American caste system by passing as white people (completely or situationally) or, more often, redefining themselves as Blacks.

Becoming American in Creole New Orleans offers a critical comparative analysis of “Creolization” and “Americanization,” social processes that often worked in opposition to each another during the nineteenth century and that would continue to frame the limits of Creole identity and cultural expression in New Orleans until the mid-twentieth century. As such, it offers intersectional engagement with subjects that have historically fallen under the purview of sociology, anthropology, and critical theory, including discourses on whiteness, métissage/métisajé, and critical mixed-race theory.

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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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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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‘The Other Windrush’: the hidden history of Afro-Chinese families in 1950s London

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2021-07-09 02:19Z by Steven

‘The Other Windrush’: the hidden history of Afro-Chinese families in 1950s London

gal-dem
2021-06-30

Tao Leigh Goffe, Assistant Professor of Literary Theory and Cultural History
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York


image credit: Tao Leigh Goffe/Canva

In this extract from ‘The Other Windrush‘, writer Tao Leigh Goffe explores the history of relative Hyacinth Lee, who migrated to the UK from Jamaica.

Family history is colonial history. How, then, to understand the vernacular photographic record and what is missing about the Windrush era, itself already an omission from British history? Since the inception of the technology of photography in the 1840s, the family photo album as an heirloom to be passed down, vertically, has formed the flesh of blood relation. The family album is also a literary surface inscribed with multiple meanings about race, gender, sexuality, class and who does not belong in the family tree. The visuality of collected images forms the fleshy proof of a seemingly biological argument for bourgeois belonging and familial intimacy. Blood is proof of kinship; the family portrait is flesh, and often colonial belonging.

Because family history is inevitably colonial history, I am invested in what and who is left out of the family album and outside of colonial history. Of particular (and selfish) interest to me is the impossibility of subjects of African and Chinese heritage. Photographs of Afro-Chinese families pose a challenge to the British colonial Trinidad experiment that wished to introduce Chinese labour to the Caribbean plantation to replace Africans in the early nineteenth century.

The ‘experiment’ documented in a secret Parliamentary Papers memorandum predicted the races would not mix. African and Asian people did, of course, ‘mix’; and many subsequent channels of migration were formed from Africa meeting Asia (both China and India) in the Caribbean. Where do we see these descendants present in the routes of the Windrush generation?…

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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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Public Secrets: Race and Colour in Colonial and Independent Jamaica

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2020-06-22 19:42Z by Steven

Public Secrets: Race and Colour in Colonial and Independent Jamaica

Liverpool University Press
2019-09-10
280 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-789-62000-9

Henrice Altink, Professor of Modern History; Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre
University of York

Informed by critical race theory and based on a wide range of sources, including official sources, memoirs, and anthropological studies, this book examines multiple forms of racial discrimination in Jamaica and how they were talked about and experienced from the end of the First World War until the demise of democratic socialism in the 1980s. It also pays attention to practices devoid of racial content but which equally helped to sustain a society stratified by race and colour, such as voting qualifications. Case studies on the labour market, education, the family and legal system, among other areas, demonstrate the extent to which race and colour shaped social relations in the island in the decades preceding and following independence and argue that racial discrimination was a public secret – everybody knew it took place but few dared to openly discuss or criticise it. The book ends with an examination of race and colour in contemporary Jamaica to show that race and colour have lost little of their power since independence and offers some suggestions to overcome the silence on race to facilitate equality of opportunity for all.

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