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.

Tags: , ,

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.

Tags: ,

What kind of mixed race/ethnicity data is needed for the 2020/21 global population census round: the cases of the UK, USA, and Canada

Posted in Articles, Canada, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2017-07-27 21:02Z by Steven

What kind of mixed race/ethnicity data is needed for the 2020/21 global population census round: the cases of the UK, USA, and Canada

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Published online: 2017-07-26
pages 1-19
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2017.1346267

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader in Population Health
Centre for Health Services Studies
University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom

In western countries the mixed race/ethnicity population is experiencing a rapid increase in numbers and growing diversity, raising challenges for its capture in censuses and surveys. Methods include exact combinations of interest, multi-ticking, and open response, as exemplified by the censuses of England and Wales, the USA and Canada, and Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively. However, investigations of question face validity, reproducibility of findings, and efficacy of capture reveal quality problems with all three approaches. The low reporting reliability of this population urgently requires research and testing to identify optimal strategies. While there is clearly no one gold standard method of capture and current approaches have developed within national contexts, it is timely to review these methods across the three countries and to make recommendations for the upcoming 2020/21 censuses.

Introduction

Throughout much of the twentieth century the salient view in ethnicity data collection was that people belonged in separate and mutually exclusive racial/ethnic categories,1 an approach termed ethnic absolutism (Gilroy 2004). This status quo was maintained by some statistical agencies in the UK through the claim that persons of mixed race/ethnicity preferred to identify with a single group (Sillitoe and White 1992). Moreover, in the USA, the “one drop rule” privileged the minority ethnic component in a mixed person’s racial identity, requiring only one race to be assigned to a person (Davis 1991). Mixed persons who utilized “other” categories or unofficially multi-ticked went uncounted. However, as the mixed population began to increase in recent decades and respondents in censuses and surveys demonstrated their wish to self-identify their mixedness in free-text (Aspinall 2010), this approach was no longer sustainable. In consequence, census and other official organizations across the world and especially in western countries have been faced with the challenge of how to count this mixed/multiple population. This has led to the adoption of a plurality of measures (Morning 2008) that belies the complexities with respect to conceptualization and the proliferation in type of mixes or combinations. Moreover, several countries are now approaching their second or third decennial census in which the mixed population has been measured, yielding an evidence base on optimal strategies. It is therefore timely to take stock of these practices and to explore what kind of mixed race/ethnicity data is needed for the upcoming 2020/21 global population census round…

Read the entire article in HTML or PDF format.

Tags: , ,

Pakistani, white, Sindhi, Canadian, black: What do you identify as?

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2017-07-26 16:25Z by Steven

Pakistani, white, Sindhi, Canadian, black: What do you identify as?

The Express Tribune
Karachi, Pakistan
2017-07-22

Shanel Khaliq


Jazzmine Raine mother is a third generation Canadian, with Irish, English, Scottish and Spanish bloodlines whereas her father is a second generation Canadian with an Antiguan father and St Lucian mother. PHOTO: KENDA AL YAKOB

With unprecedented levels of immigration, globalisation and the forced displacement of populations worldwide, the intermingling of races, cultures and ethnic groups may become the ‘norm’ in the decades to come. Many countries in the world are now host to a multiplicity of racial groups, particularly countries such as the US and Canada, due to their distinct historical path towards constructing a national identity.

Ironically, over the years, phenomena such as racial profiling have become even more widespread. Is this owed to the ever-changing global order, an increasingly narrow and stringent concept of national security, or is it simply age-old racism disguising itself in new clothes?

In order to protect the purity of races historically, many parts of the world had anti-miscegenation laws in place. The US is one good example where anti-miscegenation laws came under considerable heat for making interracial unions illegal. The ‘one-drop rule’ also persisted in the country for a long time whereby anyone with a single Black ancestor would be considered Black…

…In most parts of the Global North, it is speculated to be the fastest growing group. Nonetheless, scholars such as Minelle Mahtani, warn against the romanticisation of mixed race people as the dawn of a new world since the racialization of bodies continues to persist and affect their experiences even in the Global North, and in a world where even the label ‘mixed’ inevitably evokes the idea of partial ‘Whiteness’ in popular imagination.

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

It’s Not My Job to Teach You about Indigenous People

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2017-07-23 16:36Z by Steven

It’s Not My Job to Teach You about Indigenous People

The Walrus
2017-07-18

Melanie Lefebvre, Red River Métis/Irish writer and visual artist
Kanien’kehá:ka Territory

If you don’t have time to educate yourself, then I can’t help you

I recently spent the evening with someone who is half Indigenous and half white. “Sally” was eager to learn more about her history, her family, and traditions. She was raised white and from what I learned, has a white perspective and approach to the world around her—meaning, her lens is very colonized.

Sally and I had just finished up dinner and were well into a bottle of Ménage à Trois (the name of a good wine, not the situation). Sally proceeded to ask me where she could learn about Indigenous peoples and cultures—you know, as a starting point. I said, the library. Obvious answer, right? Open a book and ye shall find information. Sally wasn’t keen on that response. Apparently, she was tired of reading and needed something a bit more readily available.

“I don’t enjoy research like you do,” said Sally, sipping. True, I spend a lot of time researching. I’m a writer. It’s what I love to do. And I look for positive Indigenous stories, but they often get overshadowed by ones like the recent murder of Barbara Kentner in Thunder Bay or the crisis of suicides among Native children. I attempt to read all of the stories on my feed because I am a witness to what has happened before, what is happening now, and what will happen to my children in the future. Still, many choose not to see…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

ENCORE | Trevor Noah on growing up mixed race in South Africa, ‘a product of my parents’ crime’

Posted in Africa, Audio, Autobiography, Canada, Interviews, Media Archive, South Africa on 2017-07-05 18:45Z by Steven

ENCORE | Trevor Noah on growing up mixed race in South Africa, ‘a product of my parents’ crime’

The Current
CBC Radio
2017-07-05

Anna Maria Tremonti, Host


‘Fundamentally, myself, my mother and my dad were considered different types of citizens under the law,’ says The Daily [Show] Host Trevor Host on living in a mixed race family in South Africa. (Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)

Trevor Noah began his career as a successful stand-up comedian in South Africa. The Daily Show host has travelled a long way since then, but his humour is as biting as ever.

He brings that humour — along with candour — in Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, a new book about growing up mixed race in South Africa, facing prejudice and learning about survival and a mother’s love.

Noah was born in 1984 to a white father and a black mother during apartheid, which meant his family initially had to hide the truth from the outside world. He was largely kept indoors during the early years of his life, and when he did venture into public with his mother they had to pretend she was his caretaker. His father could never be seen with them in public…

Listen to the conversation (00:24:18) here. Read the transcript here.

Tags: , , , ,

What it means to be Métis: University of Ottawa researcher sharpens our understanding of the term

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2017-06-25 22:53Z by Steven

What it means to be Métis: University of Ottawa researcher sharpens our understanding of the term

Research Matters
2017-06-01

Sharon Oosthoek


The University of Ottawa’s Brenda Macdougall brings her expertise in Métis and First Nations history to bear on how a group of people become a nation. (University of Ottawa)

Every second Thursday, we will be featuring an Ontario Research Chair (ORC) from one of the province’s universities. ORCs are university research professorships created to drive provincial research and develop excellence, to create world-class centres of research, and to enhance Ontario’s competitiveness in Canada’s knowledge-based economy. See previous profiles here.

More than a century after being hanged for treason, Métis leader Louis Riel still has the power to polarize Canadians along ethnic lines.

Riel was born in 1844 in a fur-trading community known as the Red River Settlement, near modern-day Winnipeg. He came to fame in the fight for Métis rights and culture as the newly-formed Canadian government sought to expand its reach into his people’s prairie homeland.

Riel remains today one of the most studied figures in Canadian history and his “blood line” is still a topic of heated discussion because he was of French and Dene heritage.

“People talk about Riel in fractions all the time—that he is 1/8 Indian and so more white than native” says Brenda Macdougall. “When we discuss him in this fashion, it not only undermines who Riel was, it undermines who we are.”

Macdougall is the province’s first Chair in Métis Research at the University of Ottawa, a position funded by an endowment from the government of Ontario and the University of Ottawa. As chair, and a Métis woman herself, she has thought deeply about what the term means.

Historically, it was the French word for a person of mixed European and Indian ancestry, much like the word half-breed meant “mixed” in English. But Macdougall says the term has evolved over time to mean something more profound: a people who share a history, culture, and geography…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Mixed Art Conference

Posted in Arts, Canada, Live Events, Media Archive on 2017-06-02 19:16Z by Steven

Mixed Art Conference

Toronto Central Grosvenor St. YMCA Centre
20 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, ON M4Y 2V5, Canada
2017-06-03

“The aim of this multidisciplinary biennial art conference is to co-create an inclusive dialogue about racialized mixed identities and lived realities through an intersectional lens.”

For more information, click here.

Tags:

SISS 2017: Race as Kink: Reading Transracial Fetishism – Public Lecture by Dr. Trish Salah

Posted in Canada, Gay & Lesbian, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive on 2017-05-29 01:44Z by Steven

SISS 2017: Race as Kink: Reading Transracial Fetishism – Public Lecture by Dr. Trish Salah

Centre for Feminist Research at York University
Keele Campus
DB0014 (Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Building, formerly Technology Enhanced Learning [TEL] Building)
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3
Telephone: 416-736-2100
Tuesday, 2017-06-06, 10:00-11:30 EDT (Local Time)

Dr. Trish Salah, Assistant Professor
Department of Gender Studies
Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Introduced by Dr. John Greyson

In what sense might we speak or think about race as libidinally charged? How do we understand racial identity as erotically invested and in what ways do we see object choice as racially inflected? To what extent are such libidinal economies of identity formation and object choice both ubiquitously alluded to and routinely disavowed? And what are the circumstances under which they present themselves as an occasion for scandal, crisis and conflict?

Drawing upon Freud’s discussion of the place of disavowal in the constitution of desire, this talk is an attempt to think about the persistence, and affective charge, with which analogies between transgender identities and forms of racial passing or cross-identification, increasingly named as “transracialism,” are made.

Dr. Trish Salah is Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender Studies at Queen’s University and the author of two poetry collections, the Lambda award-winning Wanting in Arabic and Lyric Sexology, Vol. 1

For more information, click here.

Tags: ,

Defining Métis: Catholic Missionaries and the Idea of Civilization in Northwestern Saskatchewan, 1845–1898

Posted in Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion on 2017-05-18 01:27Z by Steven

Defining Métis: Catholic Missionaries and the Idea of Civilization in Northwestern Saskatchewan, 1845–1898

University of Manitoba Press
April 2017
240 pages
6 × 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-88755-774-3

Timothy P. Foran, Curator of British North America
Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, Quebec

Defining Métis examines categories used in the latter half of the nineteenth century by Catholic missionaries to describe Indigenous people in what is now northwestern Saskatchewan. It argues that the construction and evolution of these categories reflected missionaries’ changing interests and agendas.

Defining Métis sheds light on the earliest phases of Catholic missionary work among Indigenous peoples in western and northern Canada. It examines various interrelated aspects of this work, including the beginnings of residential schooling, transportation and communications, and relations between the Church, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and the federal government.

While focusing on the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and their central mission at Île-à-la-Crosse, this study illuminates broad processes that informed Catholic missionary perceptions and impelled their evolution over a fifty-three-year period. In particular, this study illuminates processes that shaped Oblate conceptions of sauvage and métis. It does this through a qualitative analysis of documents that were produced within the Oblates’ institutional apparatus—official correspondence, mission journals, registers, and published reports.

Foran challenges the orthodox notion that Oblate commentators simply discovered and described a singular, empirically existing, and readily identifiable Métis population. Rather, he contends that Oblates played an important role in the conceptual production of les métis.

Tags: , , , ,