Theaster Gates on how his new show was inspired by the eviction of 45 people from an island in Maine

Posted in Arts, Europe, History, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2019-02-11 01:14Z by Steven

Theaster Gates on how his new show was inspired by the eviction of 45 people from an island in Maine

The Art Newspaper
2019-02-01

Anna Swansom

Theaster Gates
Theaster Gates ©Theaster Gates; Photo: Julian Salinas

The Chicago-based artist’s exhibition in Paris examines the forced removal in 1911 of the inhabitants of Malaga Island

The US artist Theaster Gates has taken the eviction of a mixed-race community from a small island in Maine as the starting point for his first solo exhibition in France, opening this month at the Palais de Tokyo. In 1912, 45 people from Malaga Island were evicted by the state authorities and eight of them were committed to the Maine School for the Feeble-Minded following the state’s purchase of the island in 1911. The island, a poor fishing village of black, white and mixed-race people, was ridiculed in a Maine newspaper as a “strange community” of “peculiar people”; its eviction has recently been described by a US documentary as having been motivated by economics, racism, eugenics and political retribution.

Through new works including sculptures, a film and a video, the Chicago-based artist has developed the wide-ranging project and exhibition, Amalgam, which explores the complexity of interraciality and migratory histories. The show has been organised by Katell Jaffrès and has received support from Regen Projects, Richard Gray Gallery and White Cube.

The Art Newspaper: How did you become interested in the history of Malaga Island and how did this lead to Amalgam?

Theaster Gates: I had started a residency in 2017 at Colby College in Maine and was visiting a friend who said there was this important, not well-known history about this island that used to have black and mixed-race people that were evicted. We were in a boat and he suggested having lobsters on the adjacent island before checking it out. So I learned of it quite leisurely and then started to do research.

The idea of interracial mixing led to the creation of a sculptural form, “amalgam”: a by-product of what happens when one artistic form from history meets another one to create a new kind of work. I wanted to create a bridge that would make people more curious about this island and for people who are of mixed race and from backgrounds where their parents are of different religions, I wanted Malaga to be a place where all mixes felt that they had a home. The beauty of mixing is one of the cornerstones of the exhibition…

Read the interview article here.

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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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Overlooked No More: Mabel Grammer, Whose Brown Baby Plan Found Homes for Hundreds

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2019-02-09 02:33Z by Steven

Overlooked No More: Mabel Grammer, Whose Brown Baby Plan Found Homes for Hundreds

The New York Times
2019-02-06

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


Mabel Grammer, who started the Brown Baby Plan to help mixed-race children in Germany. She adopted 12, and found homes for 500 others. Associated Press

Since 1851, many remarkable black men and women did not receive obituaries in The New York Times. This month, with Overlooked, we’re adding their stories to our archives.

Grammer’s self-run adoption agency made it possible for unwanted mixed-race children in Germany to find homes after World War II.

They were called “brown babies,” or “mischlingskinder,” a derogatory German term for mixed-race children. And sometimes they were just referred to as mutts.

They were born during the occupation years in Germany after World War II, the offspring of German women and African-American soldiers. Their fathers were usually transferred elsewhere and their mothers risked social repercussions by keeping them, so the babies were placed in orphanages.

But when Mabel Grammer, an African-American journalist, became aware of the orphaned children, she stepped in. She and her husband, an army chief warrant officer stationed in Mannheim, and later Karlsruhe, adopted 12 of them, and Grammer found homes for 500 others…

Read the entire article here.

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Germany’s ‘Brown Babies’

Posted in Articles, Europe, Family/Parenting, History, Media Archive, United States on 2019-02-07 02:30Z by Steven

Germany’s ‘Brown Babies’

Black German Cultural Society
2019-02-05


Home Needed for 10,000 Brown Babies Interracial Children of War, Ebony Magazine, October 1948

We Are Here! (Wir Sind Hier!)

“We’ve struggled through childhoods filled with confusion, fear, anger, and feelings of inferior self-esteem. Navigated adolescence in extreme conformity to perceived structures of authority in order to redeem our existence, or in defiance to them in utter rebellion. Adulthood was either accomplished successfully by integrating the powerful nuances of our diversified selves, or postponed until safety could be found in the distanced wisdom of experience. Some of us didn’t make it. Some of us are just now coming of age.” ~ Rebekka White, Black German

Out of the approximately 95,000 U.S. Occupation babies born in Germany shortly after WWII, there were approximately 5,000 of us, Post WWII Afro-German children or so-called Negro mulatto babies, better known in the United States as Germany’s “Brown Babies.” In 1952, the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany) deemed that we formed a special group, presenting a human and racial problem of a special nature. Our national and cultural heritage were seen to be in direct contrast to our skin color…

Read the entire article here.

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Participants Needed for Oral History Research/Dissertation Project: Multiracial Americans in the 1960s and 70s

Posted in Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, United Kingdom, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2019-02-02 02:57Z by Steven

Participants Needed for Oral History Research/Dissertation Project: Multiracial Americans in the 1960s and 70s

Marlena Boswell, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of History
Indiana University, Bloomington

2019-02-01

I am a Ph.D. candidate researching the racial politics of multiracial individuals in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. While the scholarly literature clearly establishes how society has historically viewed and racially identified multiracial Americans, I am seeking to understand how multiracial individuals racially identified themselves and how they related to the various race-based movements of the 60s and 70s. Therefore, I am seeking volunteers to share their stories in this oral history project.

I am seeking multiracial individuals who:

  • Were born between 1945 and 1965
  • Preferably (but not necessarily) have ties to the U.S. military

Because a portion of my research will focus on the U.S. military presence overseas in the post-World War II years and its role in the growth of the multiracial population, I am seeking (but not limiting participation to) individuals who come from multiracial families that grew out of the U.S. military presence in:

Please note: There is no monetary compensation for participation in this project.

If you are interested, please email me, Marlena Boswell, at mrb4@indiana.edu or brown.marlena@yahoo.com.

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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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The Blue Stain: A Novel of a Racial Outcast by Hugo Bettauer (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, Media Archive, Passing on 2019-01-28 19:31Z by Steven

The Blue Stain: A Novel of a Racial Outcast by Hugo Bettauer (review)

Journal of Austrian Studies
Volume 51, Number 2, Summer 2018
pages 99-101
DOI: 10.1353/oas.2018.0027

Adam J. Toth, Lecturer of German
University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Hugo Bettauer, The Blue Stain: A Novel of a Racial Outcast. Edited by Peter Höyng. Translated by Peter Höyng and Chauncey J. Mellor. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2017. 144 pp.

Hugo Bettauer, an author virtually unknown to the U.S., will see new appreciation with the recent translation of his novel The Blue Stain: A Novel of a Racial Outcast. Originally titled Das blaue Mal: Der Roman eines Ausgestoßenen and published in 1922, Peter Höyng and Chauncey J. Mellor’s new and first translation of this book will make it more accessible to audiences in the English speaking-world. The translation of this novel arrives at a critical and relevant time particularly in the U.S., as the novel tells the story a half-white/half-black protagonist of Austrian and African-American descent and his life in various parts of the United States and Vienna. The novel offers crisp perspective during the U.S.’s ever-present crisis of racism and social injustice. Rather than nitpicking and fussing over the details of the translation, however, I will focus on the translators’ note, the introduction, and the afterword, as these matter a great deal to those gaining access to Austrian literature without the benefit of the German language under their belt and therefore weigh heavily on the work’s overall success.

Höyng and Mellor’s notes on the translation process accurately explain how they rendered the novel into English but offer limited perspective behind some of their decisions. When explaining how to translate the interjection “Wehe,” Höyng and Mellor assert that “possible dictionary translations for ‘Wehe’ were ‘alack‘ and ‘woe is me,’ both of which sounded hopelessly stilted and obsolete, reminiscent of shallow melodrama, and out of character for Zeller. ‘Good grief‘ was also rejected, because it evokes Charlie Brown’s use of this stock phrase in Peanuts and the bemusement it conjures up. ‘Good Gracious‘ showed up, but seemed a bit too pretentious, British, and possibly effeminate” (Höyng and Mellor, ix). For whom “Good Gracious” may seem pretentious, how the expression may seem too British, and why it would sound too effeminate (or effeminate at all) remain unanswered. While I can appreciate any amount of constraints the translators may have had in writing their notes, their target audience seems to only be one that speaks English but not German. Dwelling on such Kleinigkeiten in their introduction diverts the reader’s attention away from the text as a whole and down a rabbit hole on semantics and approximation. That said, the careful attention Höyng and Mellor gave to the work’s title and the translation of pejorative language against African-Americans in the original and in the translation express the importance of the novel itself and could itself hardly be considered trivial.

Höyng’s introduction gives the most thorough contextualization of the novel possible, guiding its readers through Bettauer’s known biography and the historical milieus of the book and its author. Höyng notes that “The Blue Stain represents the first novel in German to address racism in the United States in the twentieth century” (xv), stressing an important part of the novel’s position within the Austrian literary canon. He also emphasizes the important parallels made between Austria and the U.S. regarding race that converge in the novel, namely the “1867 law emancipating the Jews,” when Jews “had been granted their civil rights” (xix, xiv). By stressing this historical event, Höyng draws attention to the parallels between institutional anti-Semitism in the Habsburg Empire and institutional racism against African-Americans in the U.S. While I think the historical similarities are a good place to start bringing these historical events into dialogue with one another, additional contextualization of de jure and de facto anti-Semitism in the Habsburg Empire before and after emancipation in 1867 would help the readers see the historical differences between the experiences of Jews in the Habsburg Empire and African-Americans in the U.S.

The more critical points made about Bettauer’s…

Read or purchase the article here.

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Emory professor translates 1922 novel about racial identity

Posted in Articles, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-01-27 03:06Z by Steven

Emory professor translates 1922 novel about racial identity

Emory News Center
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia
2017-10-12

April Hunt, Communications Manager


In “The Blue Stain,” a man viewed as white in Europe struggles with identity after he comes to the U.S., where he is seen as black. Thanks to Peter Höyng, associate professor of German studies, the novel is now available in English.

Carletto is a man raised in privilege and wealth in Europe, where he is seen as white, if exotic. He struggles with the very question of identity after he loses his fortune and comes to the United States, where he is viewed as black.

What may sound like a contemporary debate about the complex questions of race and identity is actually the plot from the 1922 novel “The Blue Stain.”

Austrian author Hugo Bettauer’s novel might have been lost to the ages had Peter Höyng, an associate professor of German studies in Emory College, not stumbled across it in the Austrian National Library while doing scholarly research on the author in 2002.

He was struck that Carletto’s story starts, and ends, in Georgia. Along the way, it touches on the entrenched role that race has in American society, as seen by an outsider like Bettauer, a Jewish man from Austria.

Höyng became devoted to translating the story. His labor of love recently became the English-language version of “Blue Stain” — published with the subtitle, “A Novel of a Racial Outcast” —with him as editor and co-translator with Chauncey J. Mellor, a former colleague at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

“There is nothing else in German literature at the time that addresses racial issues in the United States, how racism worked not just in the South, but in New York and the North,” Höyng says. “The story itself, though, is a small but very effective way to discuss the deeply political ideas of standing up for equality and against injustice.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The Blue Stain: A Novel of a Racial Outcast

Posted in Books, Europe, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2019-01-27 02:10Z by Steven

The Blue Stain: A Novel of a Racial Outcast

Camden House (an imprint of Boydell & Brewer)
May 2017 (Originally published in 1922)
182 pages
9×6 in
Paperback ISBN: 9781571139993
Hardback ISBN: 9781571139825
eBook for Handhelds ISBN: 9781782049975
eBook ISBN: 9781787440876

Hugo Bettauer (1872-1925)

Translated by:

Peter Höyng, Associate Professor of German Studies
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Chauncey J. Mellor, Emeritus Professor of German
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Afterword by:

Kenneth R. Janken, Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

A European novel of racial mixing and “passing” in early twentieth-century America that serves as a unique account of transnational and transcultural racial attitudes that continue to reverberate today.

Hugo Bettauer’s The Blue Stain, a novel of racial mixing and “passing,” starts and ends in Georgia but also takes the reader to Vienna and New York. First published in 1922, the novel tells the story of Carletto, son of a white European academic and an African American daughter of former slaves, who, having passed as white in Europe and fled to America after losing his fortune, resists being seen as “black” before ultimately accepting that identity and joining the early movement for civil rights. Never before translated into English, this is the first novel in which a German-speaking European author addresses early twentieth-century racial politics in the United States – not only in the South but also in the North. There is an irony, however: while Bettauer’s narrative aims to sanction a white/European egalitarianism with respect to race, it nevertheless exhibits its own brand of racism by asserting that African Americans need extensive enculturation before they are to be valued as human beings. The novel therefore serves as a unique historical account of transnational and transcultural racial attitudes of the period that continue to reverberate in our present globalized world.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction by Peter Höyng
  • Part One: Georgia
  • Part Two: Carletto
  • Part Three: The Colored Gentleman
  • Afterword by Kenneth R. Janken
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Mixed-race couples, residential mobility, and neighborhood poverty

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Europe, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2018-12-29 02:19Z by Steven

Mixed-race couples, residential mobility, and neighborhood poverty

Social Science Research
Volume 73, July 2018
pages 146-162
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2018.03.007

Ryan Gabriel, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

Despite substantial growth in mixed-race coupling, we know little about their association with neighborhood poverty. To address this gap, I utilize data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics linked to information from four censuses. With these data, I assess the extent to which mixed-race couples are more likely than monoracial couples to migrate in response to higher percentages of neighborhood poverty; and, once they move, I examine the percentage poverty in their destination neighborhoods. I find that most mixed-race couples are similar to white couples in their out-mobility responses to neighborhood poverty. However, when mixed-race couples with black partners migrate they tend to move to neighborhoods with higher poverty concentrations than couples without a black partner. Mixed-race couples without black partners experience similar percentages of poverty in their destination neighborhoods as whites, providing further evidence of the profound impact of black race on residential stratification.

Read or purchase the article here.

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