Identity, racial acceptance explored in ​Waterloo region’s OBOC 2017 pick

Posted in Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive, Passing on 2017-09-29 03:31Z by Steven

Identity, racial acceptance explored in ​Waterloo region’s OBOC 2017 pick

CBC News
2017-09-27


Veteran author Wayne Grady is best known for his compelling writing on science, nature and natural history. Now, his first foray in to fiction, Emancipation Day, has become the One Book One Community selection for Waterloo region for 2017. (Don Denton)

Emancipation Day based on story of Grady’s father who kept black heritage secret for 50 years

Author Wayne Grady spent the first 50 years of his life thinking he was white.

It wasn’t until he began digging through the archives in Windsor, Ont., that he discovered the truth about his father’s heritage. His great-grandfather wasn’t Irish. He was African-American.

“I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under my feet,” Grady told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris.

Working through that revelation is what inspired his first foray into fiction, Emancipation Day; the One Book One Community pick for Waterloo region for 2017.

“That’s kind of why I started working on the novel, to figure out – for myself – how it changed me or how it affected me. And I eventually realized it didn’t really change me at all. I’m still the same person I was before,” he said.

“I think I’ve pretty much decided that it doesn’t mean anything, except what society says it means.”…

Read the entire article here

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Emancipation Day: A Novel

Posted in Books, Canada, Media Archive, Novels, Passing on 2017-09-29 03:22Z by Steven

Emancipation Day: A Novel

Doubleday Canada
2013-07-30
336 pages
6.3 x 0.9 x 9 inches
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-0385677660

Wayne Grady

How far would a son go to belong? And how far would a father go to protect him?

With his curly black hair and his wicked grin, everyone swoons and thinks of Frank Sinatra when Navy musician Jackson Lewis takes the stage. It’s World War II, and while stationed in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Jack meets the well-heeled Vivian Clift, a local girl who has never stepped off the Rock and longs to see the world. They marry against Vivian’s family’s wishes–there’s something about Jack that they just don’t like–and as the war draws to a close, the couple travels to Windsor to meet Jack’s family.

But when Vivian meets Jack’s mother and brother, everything she thought she knew about her husband gets called into question. They don’t live in the dream home Jack depicted, they all look different from one another–different from anyone Vivian has ever seen–and after weeks of waiting to meet Jack’s father, he never materializes.

Steeped in jazz and big-band music, spanning pre- and post-war Windsor-Detroit, St. John’s, Newfoundland, and 1950s Toronto, this is an arresting, heartwrenching novel about fathers and sons, love and sacrifice, race relations and a time in our history when the world was on the cusp of momentous change.

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Hapa-palooza fosters cross-cultural knowledge and celebration

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Media Archive on 2017-09-21 19:03Z by Steven

Hapa-palooza fosters cross-cultural knowledge and celebration

Westender: Everything Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2017-09-20

Tessa Vikander


Participants dance during the family day portion of last year’s Hapa Palooza festival, celebrating mixed race backgrounds. — Contributed photo

Mixed-race artists use hybrid experience as creative spring-board

“Halfers” are one of the fastest growing population groups and their experiences are informing a fresh wave of creativity, says Jeff Chiba Stearns, co-founder of the Hapa-palooza festival.

Now in its seventh year, the annual festival celebrating people of mixed backgrounds will hit Vancouver this weekend, providing space for celebration as well as discussion on the nuances of hybrid identity.

“Don’t think of us as a special little subset of the Canadian community or demographic, but we’re actually growing – we’re one of the fastest growing demographics,” Chiba Stearns says.

Carleigh Baker

Read the entire article here.

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Constantly proving my blackness is exhausting

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive on 2017-09-08 19:13Z by Steven

Constantly proving my blackness is exhausting

The Globe and Mail
2017-09-05

Chelene Knight


Chelene Knight

Chelene Knight is working on her third book, a novel about a friendship between two black women who grew up in Vancouver (Hogan’s Alley) in the 1930s and ’40s.

“But you don’t look that black.”

I remember walking into an event where I was asked to be a guest reader by a woman who had “heard about my book.” We had never met, I was unfamiliar with the other readers, never heard of the venue, but was still interested in expanding my literary horizons.

This is what emerging writers need to do, right? I introduced myself to her and she stared back at me for a good 15 seconds before furrowing her brow and saying “But you don’t look that black.”

I was left feeling “less than” and not worthy of being part of the event because I didn’t fit the mould of what black should be. I didn’t meet the expectations of the diversity hashtag.

My mother is an American-born black woman. My father is an East Indian-Ugandan who was kicked out of his country for not being black. Now, I am left to question my own blackness in a room full of white people with all eyes on me. I fumbled through my reading without ever looking up from my book…

Read then entire article here.

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Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism, and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-09-06 03:43Z by Steven

Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism, and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton

McGill-Queen’s University Press
July 2016
352 pages
6 x 9
ISBN: 9780773547223

Edited by:

Mary Chapman, Professor of English
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Newly discovered works by one of the earliest Asian North American writers.

When her 1912 story collection, Mrs. Spring Fragrance, was rescued from obscurity in the 1990s, scholars were quick to celebrate Sui Sin Far as a pioneering chronicler of Asian American Chinatowns. Newly discovered works, however, reveal that Edith Eaton (1865-1914) published on a wide variety of subjects—and under numerous pseudonyms—in Canada and Jamaica for a decade before she began writing Chinatown fiction signed “Sui Sin Far” for US magazines. Born in England to a Chinese mother and a British father, and raised in Montreal, Edith Eaton is a complex transnational writer whose expanded oeuvre demands reconsideration.

Becoming Sui Sin Far collects and contextualizes seventy of Eaton’s early works, most of which have not been republished since they first appeared in turn-of-the-century periodicals. These works of fiction and journalism, in diverse styles and from a variety of perspectives, document Eaton’s early career as a short story writer, “stunt-girl” journalist, ethnographer, political commentator, and travel writer. Showcasing her playful humour, savage wit, and deep sympathy, the texts included in this volume assert a significant place for Eaton in North American literary history. Mary Chapman’s introduction provides an insightful and readable overview of Eaton’s transnational career. The volume also includes an expanded bibliography that lists over two hundred and sixty works attributed to Eaton, a detailed biographical timeline, and a newly discovered interview with Eaton from the year in which she first adopted the orientalist pseudonym for which she is best known.

Becoming Sui Sin Far significantly expands our understanding of the themes and topics that defined Eaton’s oeuvre and will interest scholars and students of Canadian, American, Asian North American, and ethnic literatures and history.

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Edith Eaton’s Expanding Oeuvre

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-09-06 03:28Z by Steven

Edith Eaton’s Expanding Oeuvre

American Periodicals: A Journal of History & Criticism
Volume 27, Number 1, 2017
pages 6-10

Mary Chapman, Professor of English
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Since the early 1980s, when S. E. Solberg published a short checklist of twenty-two works of fiction and journalism by Chinese American author Sui Sin Far (Edith Eaton), our knowledge of her oeuvre has grown considerably. By 2007, through the efforts of Annette White-Parks and Amy Ling, as well as Dominika Ferens and Martha Cutter, Eaton’s oeuvre included about one hundred works of fiction, poetry, and journalism, many of which addressed the experiences of diasporic Chinese in North America. In the past ten years, I have discovered more than one hundred fifty texts by Eaton, some of which are collected in Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton.1 Eaton’s expanded oeuvre demonstrates that she was a much more complicated author than formerly believed, a writer who worked in a range of genres and styles, addressed numerous themes beyond the Chinese diaspora, and published in a wide assortment of turn-of-the-century magazines and newspapers in three national contexts: the United States, Canada, and Jamaica.

To locate uncollected works by Eaton, I took inspiration from the impressive detective work of White-Parks and Diana Birchall,2 who wrote biographies of Eaton and her sister Winnifred (Onoto Watanna), respectively, as well as from Ferens’s recovery of Eaton’s Jamaican journalism. To begin, I developed a list of periodicals and newspapers in which Eaton published or to which she submitted work, based on information about twenty-four periodicals provided in the acknowledgments of her only book, Mrs. Spring Fragrance (1912):

I have to thank the Editors of The Independent, Out West, Hampton’s, The Century, Delineator, Ladies’ Home Journal, Designer, New Idea, Short Stories, Traveler, Good Housekeeping, Housekeeper, Gentlewoman, New York Evening Post, Holland’s, Little Folks, American Motherhood, New England, Youth’s Companion, Montreal Witness, Children’s, Overland, Sunset, and Westerner magazines, who were kind enough to care for my children when I sent them out into the world, for permitting the dear ones to return to me to be grouped together within this volume.3

Inspired by Jean Lee Cole’s recovery of periodical works by Winnifred Eaton, I also scoured Eaton’s autobiographical writings, correspondence with editors, and reviews of and introductions to her periodical publications for any mention of publications to which she may have submitted work.4 Eaton’s reference in “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian” to “local [Montreal] papers” that gave her a “number of assignments, including most of the local Chinese reporting,”5 for example, prompted me to consult late 1880s and 1890s issues of the Montreal Star, Montreal Witness, and Montreal Gazette. In “A Word from Miss Eaton” in the Westerner, Eaton mentions publishing in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.6 The literary editor of the Westerner also notes in his preamble to “A Word from Sui Sin Far” that Eaton’s works had appeared in Woman’s Home Companion.7 Eaton’s correspondence with Land of Sunshine editor Charles Lummis and Century editor Robert Underwood Johnson, as well as a letter that Los Angeles Express editor Samuel Clover wrote to Johnson, also mention periodicals to which Eaton submitted fiction.8 To this list of publications, I added Fly Leaf, Lotus, the Chautauquan, and the Boston Globe—publications in which White-Parks and Ling had located works by Eaton—as well as Metropolitan Magazine, Gall’s News Letter, and Leslie’s Weekly—periodicals in which Cutter, Ferens, and June Howard had located additional texts.9

I then searched as many issues of these publications as possible for relevant years, in either digitized or paper form. Given the brevity of Eaton’s career (twenty-six years between 1888 and her death in 1914), looking through bound volumes or tables of contents for key years of nondigitized (and sometimes short-lived) monthly magazines was not arduous. Comprehensive searches of nondigitized daily newspapers were more challenging, however, so I searched the Los Angeles Express, Montreal Star, Montreal Gazette, Montreal Witness, Chicago Evening Post, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and New York Evening Post for only particular periods during which Eaton was likely to…

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Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Teaching Resources on 2017-08-27 02:56Z by Steven

Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada

HighWater Press (an imprint of Portage and Main Press)
September 2016
240 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1553796800

Chelsea Vowel

Delgamuukw. Sixties Scoop. Bill C-31. Blood quantum. Appropriation. Two-Spirit. Tsilhqot’in. Status. TRC. RCAP. FNPOA. Pass and permit. Numbered Treaties. Terra nullius. The Great Peace

Are you familiar with the terms listed above? In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel, legal scholar, teacher, and intellectual, opens an important dialogue about these (and more) concepts and the wider social beliefs associated with the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada. In 31 essays, Chelsea explores the Indigenous experience from the time of contact to the present, through five categories – Terminology of Relationships; Culture and Identity; Myth-Busting; State Violence; and Land, Learning, Law, and Treaties. She answers the questions that many people have on these topics to spark further conversations at home, in the classroom, and in the larger community.

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My Family Always ‘Passed’ as White, Until We Didn’t

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2017-08-23 15:28Z by Steven

My Family Always ‘Passed’ as White, Until We Didn’t

Vice
2017-08-22

Mike Miksche


Images courtesy of the author

Each of my siblings’ names, skin, hair, and religious observances earned us different levels of privilege.

My family immigrated from Lebanon to Canada before I was born in order to flee a nasty civil war. Since we’re quite light-skinned, growing up people assumed we were some kind of white: Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese was mainly what I heard. My mom explained how back in those pre-9/11 days, people she met hardly knew where Lebanon was and hadn’t heard much about Islam either, so it was easy for us to live under the radar, hassle-free. This was before the hummus craze. But obviously, with everything going on today, things have changed. Now, the disclosure of who we are, along with some cultural clues, shifts how people see us regardless of our light skin tone. I suppose one could argue that it’s a privilege to be passable as white, or a variant thereof, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

As a kid, my folks cultivated a dual identity within the Lebanon-like bubble of our southwestern Ontario home. We remixed the Lebanese Arabic dialect with English idioms and ate kibbeh with chicken nuggets and homemade fries. As Muslims, we studied the Qu’ran, prayed five times a day, and were forbidden to eat pork—including pepperoni and bacon, too. You’d expect it all to be confusing, but I was a happy kid living under the radar and felt my upbringing was normal…

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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