Mulata Nation: Visualizing Race and Gender in Cuba

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Women on 2018-07-18 18:36Z by Steven

Mulata Nation: Visualizing Race and Gender in Cuba

University Press of Mississippi
2018-08-15
248 pages (approx.)
58 color illustrations
6 x 9 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496814432

Alison Fraunhar, Associate Professor of Art and Design
Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois

A vivid exploration of the key role played by multi-racial women in visualizing and performing Cuban identity

Repeatedly and powerfully throughout Cuban history, the mulata, a woman of mixed racial identity, features prominently in Cuban visual and performative culture. Tracing the figure, Alison Fraunhar looks at the representation and performance in both elite and popular culture. She also tracks how characteristics associated with these women have accrued across the Atlantic world. Widely understood to embody the bridge between European subject and African other, the mulata contains the sensuality attributed to Africans in a body more closely resembling the European ideal of beauty.

This symbol bears far-reaching implications, with shifting, contradictory cultural meanings in Cuba. Fraunhar explores these complex paradigms, how, why, and for whom the image was useful, and how it was both subverted and asserted from the colonial period to the present. From the early seventeenth century through Cuban independence in 1899 up to the late revolutionary era, Fraunhar illustrates the ambiguous figure’s role in nationhood, citizenship, and commercialism. She analyzes images including key examples of nineteenth-century graphic arts, avant-garde painting and magazine covers of the Republican era, cabaret and film performance, and contemporary iterations of gender.

Fraunhar’s study stands out for attending to the phenomenon of mulataje not only in elite production such as painting, but also in popular forms: popular theater, print culture, later films, and other media where stereotypes take hold. Indeed, in contemporary Cuba, mulataje remains a popular theme with Cubans as well as foreigners in drag shows, reflecting queerness in visual culture.

Tags: , ,

Legacies of Postwar Japan’s “War Bride” Era

Posted in Asian Diaspora, History, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-06-30 03:04Z by Steven

Legacies of Postwar Japan’s “War Bride” Era

Japanese American National Museum
100 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90012
Telephone: (213) 625-0414
2018-06-30, 09:00-17:30 PDT (Local Time)

Presented in partnership with the Hapa Japan Project at USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture.

During and shortly after the US-Allied Occupation of Japan, the Japanese women who fraternized with soldiers often met opposition from their families and were shunned by other Japanese. Many mixed-raced children faced severe prejudice for being “impure” and born from the former enemy.

This symposium brings together various stakeholders to tell the stories of the war brides and their children. By focusing on the memories, realities, and legacies of this community, this groundbreaking gathering will create opportunities for listening, discussing, healing, and empowering attendees.

Symposium Schedule

9:00am – 9:30am Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Duncan Williams (USC Shinso Ito Center and Hapa Japan Project)
  • Fredrick Cloyd (author of Dream of the Water Children)

9:30am – 10:40am Session 1 – Occupation/Migration: Women, Children and the U.S. Military Presence

  • Etsuko Crissey (author of Okinawa’s GI Brides: Their Lives in America)
  • Mire Koikari (University of Hawai‘i; author of Cold War Encounters in US-Occupied Okinawa: Women, Militarized Domesticity, and Transnationalism in East Asia)
  • Elena Tajima Creef (Wellesley College; author of Imaging Japanese America: The Visual Construction of Citizenship, Nation, and the Body and Following Her Own Road: The Life and Art of Mine Okubo)

10:40am – 11:50am Session 2 – Difference and Other: War-Bride and Mixed-race Children’s Representations

  • Margo Okazawa-Rey (Fielding Graduate University; Professor Emeritus, San Francisco State University)
  • Sonia Gomez (University of Chicago; Visiting Scholar, MIT; author of From Picture Brides to War Brides: Race, Gender, and Belonging in the Making of Japanese America)

11:50am – 1:15pm LUNCH BREAK

1:15pm – 2:45pm Session 3 — Book Launch of “Dream of the Water Children: Memory & Mourning in the Black Pacific”

  • Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd (author of Dream of the Water Children)
  • Curtiss Takada Rooks (Loyola Marymount University)
  • Angela Tudico (Archives Specialist, National Archives at New York City)

2 :45pm – 3 :00pm COFFEE/TEA BREAK

3 :00pm – 5 :30pm Session 4 – Film and Discussion of “Giving Voice, The Japanese War Brides”

  • Miki Crawford (Producer/author of Giving Voice, The Japanese War Brides)
  • Kathryn Tolbert (Washington Post; Producer/Director of Seven Times Down, Eight Times Up: The Japanese War Brides)

5:30pm Closing Remarks: Fredrick Cloyd

For more information and to RSVP, click here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hidden Figures is a Black, not white, Women’s Story

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-06-30 03:02Z by Steven

Hidden Figures is a Black, not white, Women’s Story

Medium
2017-11-22

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein


NASA Administrator Charles Bolden presents an award to Katherine Johnson, the African American mathematician, physicist, and space scientist, who calculated flight trajectories for John Glenn’s first orbital flight in 1962, at a reception to honor members of the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, at the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton, VA. Afterward, the guests attended a premiere of “Hidden Figures” a film which stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan, and Janelle Monae as Mary Jackson. (image: a brown skinned man in a suit handing a plaque to a brown skinned woman in a wheelchair with a brown skinned woman standing behind the wheelchair.)
NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

It’s important to know the difference between “marginalized” and “hidden”

These remarks were made in my role as respondent to a paper on the (white) women students of (white woman) astronomer Maria Mitchell at the 2017 Society of History of Technology meeting. They were well received by the person whose work I was commentating on.

I will respond by offering a history of my own knowledge of women in astronomy. My interest in the Hidden Figures has been strongly shaped by my own experiences as a Black woman working at the intersection of physics and astrophysics. As an undergraduate at Harvard in the early 2000s, I was aware of the white women who had acted as computers for the Harvard College Observatory — this was history that astronomy undergraduates were privy to and that someone (I don’t remember who) took some effort to ensure that at the least women undergraduates learned about. The idea that their history or role was hidden, for this reason, has always seemed jarring to me. They were not hidden to us even as we recognized that more broadly they were a site of disinterest for many, but it was always made clear to me as an undergraduate that while their opportunities were limited, white women astronomers had been part of early American astronomy and that they had played a significant role in my own sub field, cosmology. (As in, without Harvard Computer Henrietta Leavitt’s discovery of the cepheid variable luminosity relation, Hubble could not have discovered the expansion of the universe. Of course, I didn’t learn until much later that Leavitt was a deaf adult, and it is interesting what parts of her story were left out.)…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Adrian Piper’s Show at MoMA is the Largest Ever for a Living Artist. Why Hasn’t She Seen It?

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-06-30 01:10Z by Steven

Adrian Piper’s Show at MoMA is the Largest Ever for a Living Artist. Why Hasn’t She Seen It?

The New York Times Magazine
2018-06-27

Thomas Chatterton Williams


Illustration by Hsiao-Ron Cheng

The conceptual artist’s life and work push against the boundaries

Adrian Piper, the conceptual artist and analytic philosopher, is almost as well known for what she has stopped doing as for what she has done. By 1985, she had given up alcohol, meat and sex. In 2005, she took a leave of absence from her job at Wellesley, sold her home on Cape Cod and shipped all of her belongings to Germany. On a lecture tour in the United States the next year, she discovered a mark on her plane ticket that suggested, to her, that she’d been placed on a watch list; she has not set foot in America since. Then, in 2012, on her 64th birthday, she “retired from being black.” She did this by uploading a digitally altered self-portrait to her website, in which she had darkened her skin — normally café très-au-lait — to the color of elephant hide. It was accompanied by a news bulletin announcing her retirement. The pithy text superimposed at the bottom of the photo elaborated: “Henceforth, my new racial designation will be neither black nor white but rather 6.25% grey, honoring my 1/16th African heritage,” she wrote. “Please join me in celebrating this exciting new adventure in pointless administrative precision and futile institutional control!” (Through extensive genealogical work, she later determined that her African heritage is closer to one-eighth.)

The piece was, like much of Piper’s art and writing, absurdly comical in no small part because it was so brutally honest. It was inspired by Piper’s dawning realization that she was unable to fulfill other people’s expectations through the lens of race; since the early 2000s, she had stopped allowing any of her artwork to be exhibited in all-black shows, which she came to see as ghettoizing. In 2015, she announced that she would no longer talk to the press about her work.

Such inflexibility has done little to damage her standing in the art world. On a drizzly evening in March, a well-turned-out crowd of several hundred alighted upon the Museum of Modern Art to sip prosecco, schmooze and Instagram snippets of Piper’s immense body of work. The occasion was the opening of the enormous, and enormously demanding for the casual viewer, 50-year career retrospective, “Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965-2016,” on display through July 22. The exhibition draws its title from Kant’sCritique of Pure Reason,” a lifelong touchstone for Piper, and marks the first time in MoMA’s history that the work of any living artist has earned the entirety of its sprawling sixth-floor special-exhibitions gallery. Alongside a Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale, which Piper won in 2015, this is among the very highest honors the art world can proffer…


‘‘Self-Portrait Exaggerating My Negroid Features’’ (1981)
The Eileen Harris Norton Collection. Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin.

I’d flown from Paris to see the opening of “Synthesis” after having struck up a polite but formal email correspondence with Piper. In the last message she had sent me, about three weeks earlier, she refused to speak to me on the record unless she or her archivist could independently fact-check the article before publication. “I decided a long time ago that I would prefer no representation to misrepresentation,” she wrote, and it seemed that, with this impossible condition, she would not grant an exemption from her indefinite moratorium. She suggested, as an alternative, that I consult her website and extensive body of published writing, an incalculable number of academic articles, essays and books. But I had already read many of those, and they had left me convinced that she has been quietly conducting, from that vexed and ever-expanding blot on the American fabric where white and black bleed into each other, one of the smartest, funniest and most profound interrogations of the racial madness that governs and stifles our national life that I had ever encountered…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jefferson’s Monticello finally gives Sally Hemings her place in presidential history

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2018-06-14 17:00Z by Steven

Jefferson’s Monticello finally gives Sally Hemings her place in presidential history

The Washington Post
2018-06-13

Philip Kennicott, Art and architecture critic


A view of Monticello. (Jack Looney)

You cannot see Thomas Jefferson’s mansion, Monticello, from the small room burrowed into the ground along the south wing of his estate. When the door is closed, you can’t see anything at all, because it is a windowless room, with a low ceiling and damp walls. But this was, very likely, the room inhabited by Sally Hemings, the enslaved woman who bore six of Jefferson’s children, a woman about whom little is known, who lived her life as Jefferson’s property, was considered his concubine, was a source of scandal and a political liability, and yet who might be considered the first lady to the third president of the United States if that didn’t presume her relationship to Jefferson was voluntary.

On Saturday, Monticello will open the room to the public, with a small exhibition devoted to the life of Hemings and the Hemings family. Reclaiming this space, which previously had been used as a public restroom, marks the completion of a five-year plan called the Mountaintop Project, which has seen significant changes to the beloved estate of the founding father. Using archaeology and other evidence, Monticello curators have restored Mulberry Row, where enslaved people lived and labored, and made changes (including to the wallpaper, paint and furnishings) inside the mansion, restored the north and south wings, and opened the upstairs rooms to the public on special tours. But symbolically and emotionally, the restoration of the Hemings room is the heart of the new interpretation of Monticello, and it makes tangible a relationship that has been controversial since rumors of “Dusky Sally” became part of American political invective in the early 19th century…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Growing, Faltering, Changing, Growing: Lessons From Kay WalkingStick

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2018-06-08 01:53Z by Steven

Growing, Faltering, Changing, Growing: Lessons From Kay WalkingStick

The New York Times
2018-06-07

Holland Cotter, Co-chief Art Critic


Kay WalkingStick’s “New Mexico Desert,” 2011, in which bands of Navajo patterning float across scrub land and mesas as if surveying and protecting them.
National Museum of the American Indian

MONTCLAIR, N.J. — An artist’s career retrospective, if shaped with care, is more than a look at a life of labor. It’s also a record of contingent lives, cultural changes and a political passage in time. This is true of “Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist,” an era-spanning survey of this 83-year-old painter at the Montclair Art Museum here. Yet what powers the chronologically arranged show, first and last, is the personal: the sense it gives of one worker growing, changing, faltering, then growing and changing more.

Born in 1935 in Syracuse, Ms. WalkingStick was the child of a biracial marriage: “Syracuse Girl Weds Cherokee Indian” was the headline on the report of her parents’ wedding in the local newspaper. As it turned out, she saw little of her father over the years, though her mother, Scottish-Irish by descent, made a point of instilling pride in her daughter’s Native American heritage.

Ms. WalkingStick studied painting in college, and as a young wife and mother in suburban New Jersey in the 1960s, she continued to paint, keeping a close eye on what was happening in Manhattan. Among the earliest pieces in the show, from 1971, are two crisp, Pop-ish silhouette images in bright colors of female nudes. The artist herself was the model, and feminism — or at least the loosened-up spirit of it — a spur…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Adventures in Black and White

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2018-05-30 23:37Z by Steven

Adventures in Black and White

2Leaf Press
2018-05-28 (originally published in 1960)
324
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-940939-77-3
eBook ISBN: 978-1-940939-89-6

Philippa Duke Schuyler (1931-1967)

Edited and with a critical introduction by:

Tara Betts, Lecturer
University of Illinois, Chicago; Chicago State University

Adventures in Black and White, a memoir-travelogue, was first published by world-renown child prodigy Philippa Duke Schuyler in 1960. In this first revised edition of Adventures in Black and White since its initial publication, scholar Tara Betts provides a critical introduction to this updated volume, including minor edits, and annotations of the original text. Recognized as a prodigy at an early age, Schuyler was heralded as America’s first internationally-acclaimed mixed race celebrity. Her father, a conservative African American journalist, and her mother, a white Texan heiress, dedicated Schuyler’s development to the cause of integration with the claim that racial mixing could produce a superior hybrid human, a claim that Schuyler resisted, but would nonetheless hurl her into a destructive identity crisis that consumed her throughout her life. When the transition from child prodigy to concert pianist proved challenging in America, like many black performers before her, she went abroad during the 1950s for larger audiences. Schuyler’s witnessing first-hand the dissemblage of European colonies in Africa and the Middle East, is the focus of Adventures in Black and White. Luckily, this narrative connects the twenty-first century to right after the Harlem Renaissance, and the prelude to the forthcoming Civil Rights Movement at a time when interracial identity was just becoming part of a public conversation in America. As Schuyler begins to write about Africa—”the homeland of her ancestors”—readers can begin to understand how the young musician would eventually find her way as an author and a journalist, and the books that followed.

Tags: , , ,

The Life-Giving Art of Adrian Piper

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-05-25 02:44Z by Steven

The Life-Giving Art of Adrian Piper

Shondaland
2018-04-20

Rebecca Carroll, Editor of Special Projects
WNYC New York Public Radio, New York, New York


GETTY IMAGES/PHOTO BY SUZANNE KREITER/THE BOSTON GLOBE

I went to college at a small, private liberal arts school in rural Massachusetts on a full financial scholarship. There I navigated two sets of friends: my black friends, and my white friends. The school was, of course, predominantly white, but the students of color created a strong and robust community. For the first couple of years, though, still legit messed up by being adopted by a white family and raised in an all-white town, I placed an inordinate amount of value on proximity to white folks. So I went ahead and kept up with them Saab-driving, co-op shift-having, jazz-loving white friends, who largely performed their wokeness and ignored or exotified my blackness. Enter: the conceptual artist Adrian Piper, who pretty much gave me my life…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Black-Asian Counterintimacies: Reading Sui Sin Far in Jamaica

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Passing, Women on 2018-05-22 02:17Z by Steven

Black-Asian Counterintimacies: Reading Sui Sin Far in Jamaica

J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists
Volume 6, Number 1, Spring 2018
pages 197-204
DOI: 10.1353/jnc.2018.0015

Christine “Xine” Yao, SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of English
University of British Columbia

In “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of a Eurasian,” Edith Maude Eaton, writing as Sui Sin Far, reflects on her time in Jamaica as a white-passing mixed-race woman.1 Rumor of her Chinese ancestry provokes a white English naval officer to seek her out for sexual favors, a scenario still all too familiar to women, particularly women of color, today: a predatory conversation sheathed in friendly euphemisms. At first Far believes his visit has to do with her work as a journalist, but his repeated “silly and offensive laugh” suggests otherwise.2 When she attempts to dismiss him, he laughs again, “There’s always plenty of time for good times. That’s what I am here for.”3 After commenting on her “nice little body,” he invites her to sail with him where “I will tell you all about the sweet little Chinese girls I met when we were at Hong Kong. They’re not so shy!”4 The officer’s framing of her presumed affective and sexual availability, and the foregrounding of his own sexual and social prerogative, are an everyday life manifestation of what Lisa Lowe names a “‘political economy’ of intimacy … a particular calculus governing the production, distribution, and possession of intimacy” predicated on empire and settler colonialism.5 The man’s proposition to Far is a demand for her friendliness because those other Chinese girls in Hong Kong are “not so shy.” In her rejection of his desire for intimacy, she risks the dangerous backlash that attends injured white masculinity along with broader social consequences that could impact the relative privilege of her personal and professional life in the Caribbean. Still, instead of a “friendly” relationship to whiteness, Sui Sin Far seeks alternative intimacies. In the same section of her memoir she juxtaposes this incident with musings about her position as a white-passing mixed-race Chinese woman in relation to her observations about antiblackness in the West Indies. Despite the warnings of the English who tell her to fear the “‘brown boys’ of the island,” the writer considered the mother of Asian North American literature affirms a sense of transnational solidarity between peoples of color in her affective racial identifications. “I too am of the ‘brown people’ of the earth,” she confides to her readers, prefiguring, in this assertion, the anti-colonial alliance between African and Asian nations that would be formalized in 1955 at the Bandung Conference in Indonesia.6

Intimacy operates, here, as a heuristic for understanding how the racialized and gendered pressures of domesticity, sentimentality, and sexuality are imbricated with the projects of empire. These exploitative relations undergird the transnational violences of settler colonialism, slavery, and indentured servitude—systems which, as Lowe argues, enable the liberal fictions of white Western individuals, who are able to claim intimacy as one of the privileges associated with the private sphere, as a property of their citizenship in modern civil society. In the shift from the late nineteenth-century threatening “Yellow Peril” to modern-day deserving “model minority,” Asian Americans, particularly those of East Asian descent, are lured by false promises of inclusion into this liberal fiction on the basis of intimate affiliation with whiteness. Among the processes of comparative racialization that emerge from transnational intimacies, Ellen Wu traces how Asian Americans were complicit in the anti-black creation of the “model minority” category in the American cultural imaginary.7 Nonetheless, the solidarity work of activists like Grace Lee Boggs and Yuri Kochiyama, along with studies of earlier black-Asian cultural and political engagements by scholars like Edlie Wong and Julia H. Lee, indicates an alternative genealogy of counterintimacies that disrupts those aligned with the afterlife of imperial exploitation.8 In defiance of the coercive pressures made manifest through sexual violence and emotional labor, the mixed-race Asian and black women of Sui Sin Far’s fiction and nonfiction writings reorient these indices of transnational power relations away from their focus on whiteness and toward the possibility of resistance through affective connections that center peoples of color.

In Far’s rediscovered Jamaican stories and journalism…

Tags: , , , , , ,

In the Wake of His Damage

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-05-19 23:46Z by Steven

In the Wake of His Damage

The Rumpus
2018-05-12

Shreerekha
New York, New York


Rumpus original art by Aubrey Nolan

All the sleeping women
Are now awake and moving.
Yosano Akiko (1911)

For all women who already know this narrative;
For all women touched by the Great Writers, named, unnamed, and some listed as letters;
For all who commune in the trauma and healing promised herein;
For all who believe in the power of radical transgressive border-crossing love;
For my Happiness, and my son and my daughter, so that you may walk differently;
For the ex with whom love remains the last transgression —

The Autobiographical

The year after I started teaching in Texas, his novel came out. Ten years after the event of our relationship, ten tortured years where we continued to communicate, a sort of communication that involved him reaching out, letting me know I made all the wrong decisions in my life, and then, asking for forgiveness and another chance, I thought I should teach his novel in my classes. The novel itself was important, won the Pulitzer, and by teaching it enough times, I thought it would do the trick. The classroom is sacral: all that goes through it turns magical and I would emerge whole. I would finally be rid of my ghost-love and I could sanitize our past through the distance offered by teaching and making a monument of his work for my students. Somehow, that plan failed.

What I do is teach, write, and think on, most often, feminist texts and theories. Such a pedagogy has not just carried me through the classrooms over the decades, but become a mooring post in life. It offers me a vision and a strategy, a way to love radically, think fearlessly, and keep renewing, as I can, the bridges between projects of feminism and social justice. Gloria Anzaldua’s vision, a vision that has carried many a woman through a dark day, has been valuable in thinking through the rubble of this event in my life. In Borderlands, Anzaldua offers a prophetic amalgam that helps women identify the productive potential of the mestiza way, the middle spaces she calls the nepantla. For women of the many elsewheres, women who continually travel and cross borders, Anzaldua’s psychic restlessness gives a fist bump of legitimacy, an anchor in the cultural collisions many of us remain mired in. Rather than a counter stance, she speaks of developing a position that is inclusive, inaugurating for us the amasamiento, a creature of both light and darkness.

I identify in a category not formalized or accepted in colonial census charts or western ways of understanding the other, as a black South Asian. I am an Indian who lays claim to the global community of black consciousness, and I reside between so many worlds of belonging and unbelonging. In racializing colorism and politicizing my own experience of antipathy witnessed toward the color of my skin, I crafted my own passport into marooned and shapeshifting black communities that gave credence to ontologies and a posteriori narratives over normative constructions of race, ethnicities, and nationalities…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,