Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2017-03-23 03:56Z by Steven

Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
October 2017
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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Malcolm Gladwell Wants to Make the World Safe for Mediocrity

Posted in Articles, Audio, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2017-03-19 15:45Z by Steven

Malcolm Gladwell Wants to Make the World Safe for Mediocrity

Conversations with Tyler
Mercatus Center at George Mason University
2017-03-15

Tyler Cowen, Host and Professor of Economics
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia


Credit: Caren Louise Photographs

Journalist, author, and podcaster Malcolm Gladwell joins Tyler for a conversation on Joyce Gladwell, Caribbean identity, satire as a weapon, Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden, Harvard’s under-theorized endowment, why early childhood intervention is overrated, long-distance running, and Malcolm’s happy risk-averse career going from one “fur-lined rat hole to the next.”

Listen to the interview (01:32:11) here. Read the transcript here.

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Studying “Mixed Race”: Reflections on Methodological Practice

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2017-03-14 19:50Z by Steven

Studying “Mixed Race”: Reflections on Methodological Practice

International Journal of Qualitative Methods
Volume 13, Issue: 1 (2014)
pages 347-361
DOI: 10.1177/160940691401300117

Jillian Paragg
Department of Sociology
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

In this article, I reflexively consider how three experiences from conducting an interview project with Canadian young adults of mixed race can lead to questions about methodological practice in “mixed race” research. These three experiences also have implications for theorizing mixed race identity. First, in the study, respondents complicated their hailing (Althusser, 2000) as mixed race through responding to a recruitment ad that used that term, but revealed in the interview that they did not actually self-identify as mixed race. Second, the space of the interview enabled me to ask respondents probing questions to “think through” the operation of race in their everyday lives. Third, the complex dynamic of “insider/outsider” between the respondents and myself (through my own identity as mixed race) was foregrounded throughout the research process, signaling complex commonalities between the researcher and research participants.

Read the entire article here.

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I Owe Black Canada

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive on 2017-03-11 04:02Z by Steven

I Owe Black Canada

Medium
2017-03-05

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein


Nova Scotia on the drive from Halifax to Peggy’s Cove, 2010. Formerly enslaved Black people from the American colonies were promised that they could farm this land in Canada if they fought for the British during the Revolution. (source: me) [image: rocky terrain with Atlantic Ocean in the background, lots of moss and short pine-looking bush-trees]

Coming to understand the real but not real border

In a move that many told me was a major professional mistake, I dropped out of one of the best astronomy PhD programs in the United States to pursue research at the relatively new Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, switching to the PhD program at University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. I had never heard of Waterloo, although I’ve come to understand that in math and engineering circles, it’s kind of a BFD, with the largest mathematics faculty in North America (multiple math departments!), and the most extensive engineering co-op program in North America.

Being one of about 10 Black grad students across all departments at UC Santa Cruz, it didn’t cross my mind to be picky about how many Black students there were at Waterloo. It also didn’t occur to me that it would take a rather traumatizing search before I could find anyone who could actually cut my hair without asking me stupid questions like, “Can you put a comb in that?”

I didn’t know Canada, although I thought I did. Here’s what I knew about Canada: that it was like the US but people said “sore-ry” instead of “sawry,” that people sometimes mistook my Los Angeles-British colonial accent for a Canadian one, that some of my cousins on the Barbados side lived north of Toronto, that it was the end of the underground railroad, that they had single-payer health care, that as a child I had to watch Canadian TV to see the diversity that reflected my real life, and that overall this all meant they were more civilized than the US. In other words, I believed what I would now call the Canadian national myth, rather strongly…

…Hanging out in the other bookstore in Waterloo, I found out that the author, Lawrence Hill, would be doing an event with Afua Cooper, who had just published another book, I picked up, The Hanging of Angelique. Cooper’s book was about the Black enslaved woman who burned Montreal down (well, we think anyway). I made a note to show up at their event come hell or high water.

Hill, a light skinned Black man whose white American mother and Black American father had come to Canada when his father got into the University of Toronto for grad school, talked about discovering the hidden Canadian history of the Black Loyalists, as they are known. Cooper, a dark skinned Black woman and an established poet in addition to historian, talked about uncovering the often ignored and hidden history of Canada’s own horrible past with slavery…

Read the entire article here.

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The Missing British Columbia Paintings of Grafton Tyler Brown

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Canada, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-03-10 19:44Z by Steven

The Missing British Columbia Paintings of Grafton Tyler Brown

2015-02-27

John Lutz, Professor of History
University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia


Grafton Tyler Brown in his Victoria studio, 1883, Image A-08775  courtesy of the Royal BC Museum, BC Archives.

Grafton Tyler Brown became the first professional artist in the province when he reinvented himself in his move to British Columbia in 1882. Two years later he headed south to Tacoma and has since become famous in the United States as the first and one of the best Black professional artists in California and the Pacific Northwest. Practically unknown now, his paintings of the Fraser, Thompson, Okanagan, and Similkameen Valleys as well as southern Vancouver Island, were celebrated in Victoria in 1883 when he opened his inaugural exhibition. But Brown, the famous American Black artist, was, surprisingly, a White artist in British Columbia!

Brown was African American by birth. His parents, Thomas and Wilhelmina, were two free Blacks who had left the slave state of Maryland for the free state of Pennsylvania in 1837. Grafton Tyler Brown born February 22, 1841, was the first of three sons and a daughter, all of whom appear as Black in the censuses of the period…

…Whether by chance or more likely by craft, when Grafton Tyler Brown, who had inherited his father’s lighter colouring, was enumerated by the San Francisco directory makers for the 1861, he was listed without the designation “coloured” applied to Blacks. The 1870 census taker called him a “Mulatto” suggesting he was thought to have only one African American parent while that same year the Dun and Bradstreet credit agency called him a “quadroon” meaning that he was thought to have a single African American grandparent. In the census of 1880 he was listed as “White”. Race, the idea that people can be rigidly separated by their looks, proved itself to be quite arbitrary and open to interpretation…

Read the entire article here.

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Who Needs Hybridity? The Political Limits of Mixed Race Identity

Posted in Canada, Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2017-03-07 21:12Z by Steven

Who Needs Hybridity? The Political Limits of Mixed Race Identity

University of Toronto
November 2016
153 pages

Emily Alanna Moorhouse

A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts Department of Social Justice Education Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

This thesis examines how non-white, mixed race women with Asian heritage understand, participate in, and resist colonialism, anti-blackness and anti-Indigeneity. The study finds that mixed race identification is contextual and shifts according to the racial make-up of spaces. Participants performed their identities in white spaces differently than in communities of colour. Although all participants could name whiteness, their awareness of the racial and colonial basis of citizenship was situated on a spectrum. The thesis explores how race is understood through multiple axes of identity such as disability, gender, and sexuality. Although the family is often a good space to learn about race, multiracial families sometimes reproduced ableism, queer-phobia, anti-blackness and shadism. Lastly, I focus on how hybridity is a sexualized discourse that contributes to the fetishization of multiraciality. I highlight the sexualized forms of violence that multiracial women encounter.

Read the entire thesis here.

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Race, Space, and the Law: Unmapping a White Settler Society

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Campus Life, Canada, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Women on 2017-03-06 03:16Z by Steven

Race, Space, and the Law: Unmapping a White Settler Society

Between The Lines
April 2002
320 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781896357591

Edited by:

Sherene Razack, Distinguished Professor of Gender Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

Race, Space, and the Law belongs to a growing field of exploration that spans critical geography, sociology, law, education, and critical race and feminist studies. Writers who share this terrain reject the idea that spaces, and the arrangement of bodies in them, emerge naturally over time. Instead, they look at how spaces are created and the role of law in shaping and supporting them. They expose hierarchies that emerge from, and in turn produce, oppressive spatial categories.

The authors’ unmapping takes us through drinking establishments, parks, slums, classrooms, urban spaces of prostitution, parliaments, the main streets of cities, mosques, and the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders. Each example demonstrates that “place,” as a Manitoba Court of Appeal judge concluded after analyzing a section of the Indian Act, “becomes race.”

Contents

  • Introduction: When Place Becomes Race / Sherene H. Razack
  • Chapter 1: Rewriting Histories of the Land: Colonization and Indigenous Resistance in Eastern Canada / Bonita Lawrence
  • Chapter 2: In Between and Out of Place: Mixed-Race Identity, Liquor, and the Law in British Columbia, 1850-1913 / Renisa Mawani
  • Chapter 3: Cartographies of Violence: Women, Memory, and the Subject(s) of the “Internment” / Mona Oikawa
  • Chapter 4: Keeping the Ivory Tower White: Discourses of Racial Domination / Carol Schick
  • Chapter 5: Gendered Racial Violence and Spatialized Justice: The Murder of Pamela George /Sherene H. Razack
  • Chapter 6: The Unspeakability of Racism: Mapping Law’s Complicity in Manitoba’s Racialized Spaces / Sheila Dawn Gill
  • Chapter 7: Making Space for Mosques: Struggles for Urban Citizenship in Diasporic Toronto / Engin F. Isin and Myer Siemiatycki
  • Chapter 8: The Space of Africville: Creating, Regulating, and Remembering the Urban “Slum” / Jennifer J. Nelson
  • Chapter 9: Delivering Subjects: Race, Space, and the Emergence of Legalized Midwifery in Ontario / Sheryl Nestel
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Contributors
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Sense of Place with Minelle Mahtani – Adebe DeRango-Adem and George Elliot Clarke

Posted in Arts, Audio, Canada, Interviews, Media Archive on 2017-03-01 23:08Z by Steven

Sense of Place with Minelle Mahtani – Adebe DeRango-Adem and George Elliot Clarke

Sense of Place with Minelle Mahtani
Roundhouse Radio 98.3 FM
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2017-02-27

Minelle Mahtani, Host and Associate Professor of Human Geography and Planning, and the Program in Journalism
University of Toronto, Scarborough

Minelle speaks with Canada’s current Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliot Clarke and poet and PhD student Adebe DeRango-Adem about the mentor-mentee relationship.

Listen to the interview (00:19:08) here.

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Sense of Place with Minelle Mahtani – Chelene Knight

Posted in Arts, Audio, Canada, Interviews, Media Archive on 2017-03-01 21:09Z by Steven

Sense of Place with Minelle Mahtani – Chelene Knight

Sense of Place with Minelle Mahtani
Roundhouse Radio 98.3 FM
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2017-02-16

Minelle Mahtani, Host and Associate Professor of Human Geography and Planning, and the Program in Journalism
University of Toronto, Scarborough

Minelle speaks with Room magazine’s managing editor, Chelene Knight, about the local magazine and its volunteer collective.

Listen to the interview (00:15:50) here.

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How a man of mixed race helped create British Columbia

Posted in Articles, Biography, Canada, History, United States on 2017-03-01 02:12Z by Steven

How a man of mixed race helped create British Columbia

The Vancouver Courier
2017-02-14

Martha Perkins, Editor-in-Chief


Sir James Douglas, who became governor of Vancouver Island in 1851, was born in Guyana to a Creole mother and Scottish father.

To celebrate Black History Month we profile the Hudson Bay Company’s Sir James Douglas

In 1803 in what was then British Guyana, James Douglas was born. His father was a Scottish merchant and his mother was what they called “free coloured” — a Creole woman of mixed African and European heritage.

Unlike his younger sister, who was as dark skinned as their mother, Douglas appeared to be Caucasian. But his later actions, including marrying a woman of Cree ancestry, have led amateur historian (and former Vancouver mayor) Sam Sullivan to believe that when Douglas built Fort Victoria, his aim was to create an inclusive society where everyone had an opportunity to thrive…

Read the entire article here.

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