Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, United States, Women on 2019-02-21 02:24Z by Steven

Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson

Atheneum Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Simon and Schuster)
September 2019
288 pages
Hardcover ISBN 13: 9781534440838
eBook ISBN 13: 9781534440852

Katherine Johnson

The inspiring autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch Apollo 11.

Throughout Katherine Johnson’s extraordinary career, there hasn’t been a boundary she hasn’t broken through or a ceiling she hasn’t shattered. In the early 1950s, she joined the organization that would one day become NASA, and which had only just begun to hire black mathematicians. Her job there was to analyze data and calculate the complex equations needed for successful space flights. As a black woman in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Katherine faced daily challenges and often wasn’t taken seriously by the scientists and engineers she worked with. But her colleagues couldn’t ignore her obvious gifts—or her persistence. Soon she was computing the trajectory for Alan Shepard’s first flight and working on the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon. Katherine’s life has been a succession of achievements, each one greater than the last.

Katherine Johnson’s story was made famous in the bestselling book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Now in Reaching for the Moon she tells her own story for the first time, in a lively autobiography that will inspire young readers everywhere.

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Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2019-02-21 02:12Z by Steven

Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
June 2019
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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Enemies in Love: A German POW, a Black Nurse, and an Unlikely Romance

Posted in Biography, Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2019-02-10 22:57Z by Steven

Enemies in Love: A German POW, a Black Nurse, and an Unlikely Romance

The New Press
May 2018
288 pages
5½ x 8¼
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-62097-186-4

Alexis Clark, Adjunct Faculty
Columbia Journalism School, New York, New York

Enemies in Love

A true and deeply moving narrative of forbidden love during World War II and a shocking, hidden history of race on the home front

This is a love story like no other: Elinor Powell was an African American nurse in the U.S. military during World War II; Frederick Albert was a soldier in Hitler’s army, captured by the Allies and shipped to a prisoner-of-war camp in the Arizona desert. Like most other black nurses, Elinor pulled a second-class assignment, in a dusty, sun-baked—and segregated—Western town. The army figured that the risk of fraternization between black nurses and white German POWs was almost nil.

Brought together by unlikely circumstances in a racist world, Elinor and Frederick should have been bitter enemies; but instead, at the height of World War II, they fell in love. Their dramatic story was unearthed by journalist Alexis Clark, who through years of interviews and historical research has pieced together an astounding narrative of race and true love in the cauldron of war.

Based on a New York Times story by Clark that drew national attention, Enemies in Love paints a tableau of dreams deferred and of love struggling to survive, twenty-five years before the Supreme Court’s Loving decision legalizing mixed-race marriage—revealing the surprising possibilities for human connection during one of history’s most violent conflicts.

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Don’t Touch My Hair

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs on 2019-02-05 15:51Z by Steven

Don’t Touch My Hair

Allen Lane (an imprint of Penguin)
2019-02-05
240 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9780241308349
Ebook ISBN: 9780141986296

Emma Dabiri, Teaching Fellow SOAS; Visual Sociology Ph.D. Researcher, Goldsmiths

Despite our more liberal world views, black hair continues to be erased, appropriated and stigmatised to the point of taboo. Why is that?

Recent years have seen the conversation around black hair reach tipping point, yet detractors still proclaim ‘it’s only hair!’ when it never is. This book seeks to re-establish the cultural significance of African hairstyles, using them as a blueprint for decolonisation. Over a series of wry, informed essays, the author takes us from pre-colonial Africa, through the Harlem Renaissance, Black Power and into today’s Natural Hair Movement, the Cultural Appropriation Wars and beyond. We look at the trajectory from hair capitalists like Madam CJ Walker in the early 1900s to the rise of Shea Moisture today, touching on everything from women’s solidarity and friendship, to forgotten African scholars, to the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian’s braids.

The scope of black hairstyling ranges from pop culture to cosmology, from prehistoric times to the (afro)futuristic. Uncovering sophisticated indigenous mathematical systems – the bedrock of modern computing – in black hair styles, alongside styles that served as secret intelligence networks leading enslaved Africans to freedom, Don’t Touch My Hair proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation.

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The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain

Posted in Books, Europe, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Religion on 2019-01-29 16:26Z by Steven

The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain

Manchester University Press
November 2015
264 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-7849-9120-3
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-5261-3434-9
eBook ISBN: 978-1-7849-9635-2

Christina H. Lee, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain

  • Provides a counter-point to studies on marginality by focusing on how dominant groups reacted and responded to the social and racial ‘passing’ of lowborns and New Christians
  • Provides a new intervention in our current understanding of how Spanish identity was constructed in the early modern period
  • Uses a vast array of literary and non-literary sources to discuss the social tensions that existed between the established elite and the socially mobile
  • Written in a clear style, accessible to both historians and literary critics

This book explores the Spanish elite’s fixation on social and racial ‘passing’ and ‘passers’, as represented in a wide range of texts. It examines literary and non-literary works produced in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that express the dominant Spaniards’ anxiety that socially mobile lowborns, Conversos (converted Jews), and Moriscos (converted Muslims) could impersonate and pass for ‘pure’ Christians like themselves. Ultimately, this book argues that while conspicuous sociocultural and ethnic difference was certainly perturbing and unsettling, in some ways it was not as threatening to the dominant Spanish identity as the potential discovery of the arbitrariness that separated them from the undesirables of society – and therefore the recognition of fundamental sameness. This fascinating and accessible work will appeal to students of Hispanic studies, European history, cultural studies, Spanish literature and Spanish history.

Contents

  • Introduction
  • Part 1: The usurpation of nobility and lowborn passers
    • 1. Theorising and practicing nobility
    • 2. The forgery of nobility in literary texts
  • Part II: Conversos and the threat of sameness
    • 3. Spotting Converso blood in official and unofficial discourses
    • 4. The unmasking of Conversos in popular and literary texts
  • Part III: Moriscos and the reassurance of difference
    • 5. Imagining the Morisco problem
    • 6. Desirable Moors and Moriscos in literary texts
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Valley of the Guns: The Pleasant Valley War and the Trauma of Violence

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2019-01-22 21:27Z by Steven

Valley of the Guns: The Pleasant Valley War and the Trauma of Violence

University of Oklahoma Press
October 2018
312 Pages
10 b&w illus., 3 maps, 2 tables, 2 charts
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8061-6154-9
Kindle ISBN: 978-0-8061-6251-5
e-pub ISBN: 978-0-8061-6252-2

Eduardo Obregón Pagán, Bob Stump Endowed Professor of History
Arizona State University, Tempe

In the late 1880s, Pleasant Valley, Arizona, descended into a nightmare of violence, murder, and mayhem. By the time the Pleasant Valley War was over, eighteen men were dead, four were wounded, and one was missing, never to be found. Valley of the Guns explores the reasons for the violence that engulfed the settlement, turning neighbors, families, and friends against one another.

While popular historians and novelists have long been captivated by the story, the Pleasant Valley War has more recently attracted the attention of scholars interested in examining the underlying causes of western violence. In this book, author Eduardo Obregón Pagán explores how geography and demographics aligned to create an unstable settlement subject to the constant threat of Apache raids. The fear of surprise attack by day and the theft of livestock by night prompted settlers to shape their lives around the expectation of sudden violence.

As the forces of progress strained natural resources, conflict grew between local ranchers and cowboys hired by ranching corporations. Mixed-race property owners found themselves fighting white cowboys to keep their land. In addition, territorial law enforcement officers were outsiders to the community and approached every suspect fully armed and ready to shoot. The combination of unrelenting danger, its accompanying stress, and an abundance of firearms proved deadly.

Drawing from history, geography, cultural studies, and trauma studies, Pagán uses the story of Pleasant Valley to demonstrate a new way of looking at the settlement of the West. Writing in a vivid narrative style and employing rigorous scholarship, he creatively explores the role of trauma in shaping the lives and decisions of the settlers in Pleasant Valley and offers new insight into the difficulties of survival in an isolated frontier community.

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American Routes: Racial Palimpsests and the Transformation of Race

Posted in Books, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2019-01-22 01:31Z by Steven

American Routes: Racial Palimpsests and the Transformation of Race

Oxford University Press
2017-04-18
296 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780190624750

Angel Adams Parham, Associate Professor of Sociology
Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana

Reviews and Awards

  • Co-winner, 2018 Allan Sharlin Memorial Award, Social Science History Association
  • Honorable Mention, Thomas and Znaniecki Book Award, International Migration Section, American Sociological Association
  • Co-winner, Barrington Moore Book Award in Comparative and Historical Sociology, American Sociological Association

Overview

  • The first comparative sociological study of nineteenth century white and free black immigrants to the US
  • Challenges the reliance of immigration scholarship on the historical experiences of European immigrants
  • Combines archival research, interviews, oral histories, and participant observation to trace the experience of white and black refugees and their descendants in Louisiana over two hundred years

American Routes provides a comparative and historical analysis of the migration and integration of white and free black refugees from nineteenth century St. Domingue/Haiti to Louisiana and follows the progress of their descendants over the course of two hundred years. The refugees reinforced Louisiana’s tri-racial system and pushed back the progress of Anglo-American racialization by several decades. But over the course of the nineteenth century, the ascendance of the Anglo-American racial system began to eclipse Louisiana’s tri-racial Latin/Caribbean system. The result was a racial palimpsest that transformed everyday life in southern Louisiana. White refugees and their descendants in Creole Louisiana succumbed to pressure to adopt a strict definition of whiteness as purity that conformed to standards of the Anglo-American racial system. Those of color, however, held on to the logic of the tri-racial system which allowed them to inhabit an intermediary racial group that provided a buffer against the worst effects of Jim Crow segregation. The St. Domingue/Haiti migration case foreshadows the experiences of present-day immigrants of color from Latin-America and the Caribbean, many of whom chafe against the strictures of the binary U.S. racial system and resist by refusing to be categorized as either black or white. The St. Domingue/Haiti case study is the first of its kind to compare the long-term integration experiences of white and free black nineteenth century immigrants to the U.S. In this sense, it fills a significant gap in studies of race and migration which have long relied on the historical experience of European immigrants as the standard to which all other immigrants are compared.

Table of Contents

  • List of Charts and Figures
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Racial Systems and the Racial Palimpsest
  • Chapter 2: St. Domingue as Training Ground: Color, Class, and Social Life Before Louisiana
  • Chapter 3: White St. Domingue Refugees and White Creoles in Nineteenth Century Louisiana
  • Chapter 4: St. Domingue Refugees and Creoles of Color
  • Chapter 5: Twenty-first Century Remnants of a White Creole Past
  • Chapter 6: Into the Twenty-First Century: Creoles of Color Finding Their Way
  • Chapter 7: Conclusions: Racial Palimpsests and the Transformation of U.S. American Regions
  • Appendix
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index
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Untangling a Red, White, and Black Heritage: A Personal History of the Allotment Era

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2019-01-05 20:32Z by Steven

Untangling a Red, White, and Black Heritage: A Personal History of the Allotment Era

University of New Mexico Press
November 2018
312 pages
21 figs
6×9 in.
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8263-5979-7
E-book ISBN: 978-0-8263-5980-3

Darnella Davis
Washington, D.C.

Examining the legacy of racial mixing in Indian Territory through the land and lives of two families, one of Cherokee Freedman descent and one of Muscogee Creek heritage, Darnella Davis’s memoir writes a new chapter in the history of racial mixing on the frontier. It is the only book-length account of the intersections between the three races in Indian Territory and Oklahoma written from the perspective of a tribal person and a freedman.

The histories of these families, along with the starkly different federal policies that molded their destinies, offer a powerful corrective to the historical narrative. From the Allotment Period to the present, their claims of racial identity and land in Oklahoma reveal inequalities that still fester more than one hundred years later. Davis offers a provocative opportunity to unpack our current racial discourse and ask ourselves, “Who are ‘we’ really?”

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Walter F. White: The NAACP’s Ambassador for Racial Justice

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Justice, United States on 2019-01-05 01:39Z by Steven

Walter F. White: The NAACP’s Ambassador for Racial Justice

West Virginia University Press
January 2019
468 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-946684-62-2
eBook ISBN: 978-1-946684-63-9

Robert L. Zangrando, Professor Emeritus of History
University of Akron

Ronald L. Lewis, Stuart and Joyce Robbins Chair and Professor Emeritus of History
West Virginia University

Walter F. White of Atlanta, Georgia, joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1918 as an assistant to Executive Secretary James Weldon Johnson. When Johnson retired in 1929, White replaced him as head of the NAACP, a position he maintained until his death in 1955. During his long tenure, White was in the vanguard of the struggle for interracial justice. His reputation went into decline, however, in the era of grassroots activism that followed his death. White’s disagreements with the US Left, and his ambiguous racial background—he was of mixed heritage, could “pass” as white, and divorced a black woman to marry a white woman—fueled ambivalence about his legacy.

In this comprehensive biography, Zangrando and Lewis seek to provide a reassessment of White within the context of his own time, revising critical interpretations of his career. White was a promoter of and a participant in the Harlem Renaissance, a daily fixture in the halls of Congress lobbying for civil rights legislation, and a powerful figure with access to the administrations of Roosevelt (via Eleanor) and Truman. As executive secretary of the NAACP, White fought incessantly to desegregate the American military and pushed to ensure equal employment opportunities. On the international stage, White advocated for people of color in a decolonized world and for economic development aid to nations like India and Haiti, bridging the civil rights struggles at home and abroad.

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Shades of Gray: Writing the New American Multiracialism

Posted in Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2018-12-26 19:54Z by Steven

Shades of Gray: Writing the New American Multiracialism

University of Nebraska Press
December 2018
348 pages, index
Hardcover: 978-0-8032-9681-7

Molly Littlewood McKibbin, Assistant Professor of Instruction
English and Creative Writing Department
Columbia College Chicago

Shades of Gray

In Shades of Gray Molly Littlewood McKibbin offers a social and literary history of multiracialism in the twentieth-century United States. She examines the African American and white racial binary in contemporary multiracial literature to reveal the tensions and struggles of multiracialism in American life through individual consciousness, social perceptions, societal expectations, and subjective struggles with multiracial identity.

McKibbin weaves a rich sociohistorical tapestry around the critically acclaimed works of Danzy Senna, Caucasia (1998); Rebecca Walker, Black White and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self (2001); Emily Raboteau, The Professor’s Daughter (2005); Rachel M. Harper, Brass Ankle Blues (2006); and Heidi Durrow, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky (2010). Taking into account the social history of racial classification and the literary history of depicting mixed race, she argues that these writers are producing new representations of multiracial identity.

Shades of Gray examines the current opportunity to define racial identity after the civil rights, black power, and multiracial movements of the late twentieth century changed the sociopolitical climate of the United States and helped revolutionize the racial consciousness of the nation. McKibbin makes the case that twenty-first-century literature is able to represent multiracial identities for the first time in ways that do not adhere to the dichotomous conceptions of race that have, until now, determined how racial identities could be expressed in the United States.

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