Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women, the Law, and the Making of a White Argentine Republic

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Slavery, Women on 2020-01-23 15:41Z by Steven

Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women, the Law, and the Making of a White Argentine Republic

University Alabama Press
2020-01-28
184 pages
5 B&W figures / 7 tables
6 x 60 x 9 inches
Trade Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8173-2036-2
EBook ISBN: 978-0-8173-9265-9

Erika Denise Edwards, Associate Professor of History
University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Details how African-descended women’s societal, marital, and sexual decisions forever reshaped the racial makeup of Argentina

Argentina values the perception that it is only a country of European immigrants, making it an exception to other Latin American countries, which can embrace a more mixed—African, Indian, European—heritage. Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women, the Law, and the Making of a White Argentine Republic traces the origins of what some white Argentines mischaracterize as a “black disappearance” by delving into the intimate lives of black women and explaining how they contributed to the making of a “white” Argentina. Erika Denise Edwards has produced the first comprehensive study in English of the history of African descendants outside of Buenos Aires in the late colonial and early republican periods, with a focus on how these women sought whiteness to better their lives and those of their children.

Edwards argues that attempts by black women to escape the stigma of blackness by recategorizing themselves and their descendants as white began as early as the late eighteenth century, challenging scholars who assert that the black population drastically declined at the end of the nineteenth century because of the whitening or modernization process. She further contends that in CĂłrdoba, Argentina, women of African descent (such as wives, mothers, daughters, and concubines) were instrumental in shaping their own racial reclassifications and destinies.

This volume makes use of a wealth of sources to relate these women’s choices. The sources consulted include city censuses and notarial and probate records that deal with free and enslaved African descendants; criminal, ecclesiastical, and civil court cases; marriages and baptisms records and newsletters. These varied sources provide information about the day-to-day activities of cordobés society and how women of African descent lived, formed relationships, thrived, and partook in the transformation of racial identities in Argentina.

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Choosing Racial Identity in the United States, 1880-1940

Posted in Economics, History, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Passing, United States on 2020-01-22 01:56Z by Steven

Choosing Racial Identity in the United States, 1880-1940

National Bureau of Economic Research
NBER Working Paper No. 26465
November 2019
76 pages
DOI: 10.3386/w26465

Ricardo Dahis, Ph.D. Candidate in Economics
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Emily Nix, Assistant Professor of Finance and Business Economics
University of Southern California

Nancy Qian, James J. O’Connor Professor of Managerial Economics & Decision Sciences
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

This paper documents that many black males experienced a change in racial classification to white in the United States, 1880–1940, while changes in racial classification were negligible for other races. We provide a rich set of descriptive evidence on the lives of black men “passing” for white, such as marriage, children, the passing of spouses and children, migration and income.

Read the entire paper here.

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A Painter Resurrects Louisiana’s Vanished Creole Culture

Posted in Articles, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2020-01-22 01:19Z by Steven

A Painter Resurrects Louisiana’s Vanished Creole Culture

The New York Times
2020-01-16

Elizabeth Pochoda, Editor-in-Chief
The Magazine ANTIQUES


Andrew LaMar Hopkins portrays the significant role Creoles played in the civic life of New Orleans. “Edmond Dédé Piano Recital” (2019) shows the freeborn Creole musician and composer in his elegant salon. Andrew LaMar Hopkins

Andrew LaMar Hopkins celebrates the rich contributions of 19th-Century New Orleans in his folk art style (and drag).

NEW ORLEANS — Dressed as his alter ego, the modish matron Désirée Joséphine Duplantier, the artist Andrew LaMar Hopkins is a familiar presence on this city’s arts scene. His paintings, faux naïf renderings of 19th-century life in the city — particularly the vanished culture of New Orleans’s free Creoles of color — also keep good company. You can see these works in Nadine Blake’s gallery on Royal Street in the French Quarter, on the art-filled walls of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in Treme, and in the rooms of collectors like the designer Thomas Jayne and the food stylist Rick Ellis.

When a dozen of Mr. Hopkins’s paintings appear at the Winter Show at the Park Avenue Armory on Jan. 24 they will be making their first foray north. Placed alongside 18th- and 19th -century portrait miniatures in the booth of Elle Shushan near the entrance of the show, these small works portraying daily life in New Orleans, circa 1830, will enact their own sly magic, inserting themselves into the stream of art history as if the visual record of people and places in antebellum Creole culture had not been lost. “This is what these lives looked like, and no one else was doing it,” Mr. Hopkins, 42, says of both white Creoles and Creoles of color in his work. “I wanted to do them justice.”

Creole is a long-embattled term, perhaps best defined now as a person whose background and identity is traceable to colonial French Louisiana and/or its Franco-African culture. William Rudolph, the chief curator at the San Antonio Museum of Art and an early enthusiast about the work of Mr. Hopkins, says this artist “has used his work to interrogate Creole history.” He added, “He has deconstructed the past.”…

Read the entire article here.

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UVA and the History of Race: Eugenics, the Racial Integrity Act, Health Disparities

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Virginia on 2020-01-16 03:45Z by Steven

UVA and the History of Race: Eugenics, the Racial Integrity Act, Health Disparities

UVA Today
2020-01-09

P. Preston Reynolds, Professor of Medicine and Nursing
University of Virginia


Thomas Jefferson’s writings included observations about race that aligned with later eugenicists. Under the medical school deanship of Paul Brandon Barringer, right, UVA built its first hospital in 1901, but also continued to advance eugenic science.

Editor’s note: Even an institution as historic as the University of Virginia – now entering its third century – has stories yet to be told. Some are inspiring, while the truths of others are painful, but necessary for a fuller accounting of the past. The President’s Commissions on Slavery and on the University in the Age of Segregation were established to find and tell those stories. Here are some of them, written by those who did the research. One in an occasional series:

By the start of the 20th century, the University of Virginia had become a center of an emerging new strain of racism – eugenics – that would create and perpetuate myths created under the guise of scientific research, but ultimately was intended to demonstrate white racial superiority.

The goal of eugenic science was knowledge of how various traits – emotional, physical, intellectual – were inherited, so that such information could be applied in order to advance the human race and preserve imagined racial superiority. Eugenic scientists used the census, genealogy, measurement of physiological functions and human anatomy, as well as intelligence testing, as methods of investigation.

They believed application of eugenic knowledge, through legislation and community practices, would eliminate mental illness, physical disabilities, moral delinquency, crime and even physical illnesses. They assumed the benefit to society would be a dramatic reduction in the cost of caring for the sick, poor, mentally ill and incarcerated…

Read the entire article here.

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We European Jews never passed as white

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2020-01-12 02:54Z by Steven

We European Jews never passed as white

The Times of Israel
2020-01-09

Rivka Hellendall, Graduate Student of English Literature and Jewish Studies
University of Amsterdam

Rivka Hellendall
Rivka Hellendall

In the last two decades, American Ashkenazi Jews have returned to the question of their Otherness, or, put more crudely, to the question of whether Ashkenazi Jews are White, “white-passing”, or something else entirely. A quick Google search entry of “are Jews white” yields roughly 89 million results, including news articles, op-eds, and even academic tomes. The fact that Karen Brodkin named her 243-page 1998 study on the topic “How Jews Became White Folks and what that Says about Race in America” speaks volumes. Apparently, there was a large enough body of Jews at the time who never suffered anti-Semitism in person for Brodkin to make this title a viable one. A large enough number of American Jews who had never, for example, been denied housing or religious rights, equal opportunity employment (i.e. suffered job discrimination), or experienced insults, social exclusion, threats, and physical violence because of their Jewishness. Sadly, those times have changed since…

Read the entire article here.

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Beyond the Sunset: The Melungeon Outdoor Drama, 1969-1976

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2020-01-12 02:01Z by Steven

Beyond the Sunset: The Melungeon Outdoor Drama, 1969-1976

Mercer University Press
2019-12-02
420 pages
6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9780881467185

Wayne Winkler, Director WETS-FM
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee

In 1969, Hancock County, Tennessee was the eighth poorest county in the United States. Isolated by rugged mountains and far from population centers or major highways, the county had few natural resources, couldn’t attract industry, and had lost half its population in just a few decades. Hoping to develop a tourist industry, county leaders decided to stage an outdoor drama about the Melungeons, a mysterious, racially-mixed people that had attracted newspaper and magazine writers to Hancock County for more than a century. To stage the drama, the organizers had to overcome long-standing local prejudice against the dark-skinned Melungeons, the reluctance of the Melungeons to call attention to themselves, the physical isolation of the county, and their own lack of experience in any aspect of this project. In Beyond the Sunset, Wayne Winkler uses contemporary press reports, long-forgotten documents, and interviews with participants to chronicle the struggles of an impoverished rural Appalachian county to maintain its viability in the modern world–and the unexpected consequences of that effort. For those interested in Appalachian history in general and in Melungeon heritage specifically, this is a book that is an essential addition to your reading list.

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Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2020-01-10 01:26Z by Steven

Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia

Mercer University Press
2005-04-08
314 pages
6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9780865548695

Wayne Winkler, Director WETS-FM
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee

Walking toward the Sunset is a historical examination of the Melungeons, a mixed-race group predominantly in southern Appalachia. Author Wayne Winkler reviews theories about the Melungeons, compares the Melungeons with other mixed-race groups, and incorporates the latest scientific research to present a comprehensive portrait. In his telling portrait, Winkler examines the history of the Melungeons and the ongoing controversy surrounding their mysterious origins. Employing historical records, news reports over almost two centuries, and personal interviews, Winkler tells the fascinating story of a people who did not fit the rigid racial categories of American society. Along the way, Winkler recounts the legal and social restrictions suffered by Melungeons and other mixed-race groups, particularly Virginia’s 1924 Racial Integrity Act, and he reviews the negative effects of nineteenth- and twentieth-century magazine and journal articles on these reclusive people. Walking toward the Sunset documents the changes in public and private attitudes toward the Melungeons, the current debates over “Melungeon” identity, and the recent genetic studies that have attempted to shed light on the subject. But most importantly, Winkler relates the lives of families who were outsiders in their own communities, who were shunned and shamed, but who created a better life for their children, descendants who are now reclaiming the heritage that was hidden from them for generations.

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Shape Shifters: Journeys across Terrains of Race and Identity

Posted in Anthologies, Books, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2020-01-10 01:09Z by Steven

Shape Shifters: Journeys across Terrains of Race and Identity

University of Nebraska Press
January 2020
432 pages
8 photos, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4962-0663-3
eBook (EPUB) ISBN: 978-1-4962-1698-4
eBook (PDF) ISBN: 978-1-4962-1700-4

Edited by:

Lily Anne Y. Welty Tamai, Curator of History
Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, California

Ingrid Dineen-Wimberly, Professor of History
University of La Verne, Point Mugu, California

Paul Spickard, Distinguished Professor of History
University of California, Santa Barbara

Shape Shifters

Shape Shifters presents a wide-ranging array of essays that examine peoples of mixed racial identity. Moving beyond the static “either/or” categories of racial identification found within typical insular conversations about mixed-race peoples, Shape Shifters explores these mixed-race identities as fluid, ambiguous, contingent, multiple, and malleable. This volume expands our understandings of how individuals and ethnic groups identify themselves within their own sociohistorical contexts.

The essays in Shape Shifters explore different historical eras and reach across of the globe, from the Roman and Chinese borderlands of classical antiquity to Medieval Eurasian shape-shifters, the Native peoples of the missions of Spanish California, and racial shape-shifting among African Americans in the post–civil rights era. At different times in their lives or over generations in their families, racial shape-shifters have moved from one social context to another. And as new social contexts were imposed on them, identities have even changed from one group to another. This is not racial, ethnic, or religious imposture. It is simply the way that people’s lives unfold in fluid sociohistorical circumstances.

With contributions by Ryan Abrecht, George J. Sanchez, Laura Moore, and Margaret Hunter, among others, Shape Shifters explores the forces of migration, borderlands, trade, warfare, occupation, colonial imposition, and the creation and dissolution of states and empires to highlight the historically contingent basis of identification among mixed-race peoples across time and space.

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Beneath the Surface: A Transnational History of Skin Lighteners

Posted in Africa, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, South Africa, Women on 2020-01-10 01:07Z by Steven

Beneath the Surface: A Transnational History of Skin Lighteners

Duke University Press
January 2020
368 pages
85 illustrations (incl. 39 in color)
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0642-8
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0538-4

Lynn M. Thomas, Professor of History
University of Washington

Beneath the Surface

For more than a century, skin lighteners have been an ubiquitous feature of global popular culture—embraced by consumers even as they were fiercely opposed by medical professionals, consumer health advocates, and antiracist thinkers and activists. In Beneath the Surface, Lynn M. Thomas constructs a transnational history of skin lighteners in South Africa and beyond. Analyzing a wide range of archival, popular culture, and oral history sources, Thomas traces the changing meanings of skin color from precolonial times to the postcolonial present. From indigenous skin-brightening practices and the rapid spread of lighteners in South African consumer culture during the 1940s and 1950s to the growth of a billion-dollar global lightener industry, Thomas shows how the use of skin lighteners and experiences of skin color have been shaped by slavery, colonialism, and segregation, as well as consumer capitalism, visual media, notions of beauty, and protest politics. In teasing out lighteners’ layered history, Thomas theorizes skin as a site for antiracist struggle and lighteners as a technology of visibility that both challenges and entrenches racial and gender hierarchies.

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Race-shifters: white people who identify as Indigenous NB Media Co-op

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2019-12-29 02:46Z by Steven

Race-shifters: white people who identify as Indigenous

NB Media Co-op
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
2019-11-22

Susan O’Donnell, Adjunct Professor of Sociology
University of New Brunswick

Race-shifters: white people who identify as Indigenous
Sportsman and Indigenous guides (carrying snowshoes), with game in winter. Gabe Atwin far left, ca. 1875. Image from the Provincial Archives of NB.

The number of people across Canada who self-identify as Indigenous is growing rapidly. Some of that growth can be explained by the Indigenous children of the Sixties Scoop and residential school survivors re-discovering or accepting their Indigenous identities. However an entirely different group of Canadians has emerged. “Race-shifters” are white people with no or a small amount of Indigenous ancestry who identify as Indigenous.

Race-shifters live in every province, mostly in communities with large populations of French ancestry. In this province, for example, in 1996 and 2016, the population of New Brunswick was roughly the same. However in the 1996 census, only 950 people self-identified as MĂ©tis, but in the 2016 census that number jumped to 10,200. How is this possible?

The confusion includes the misconception that anyone with Indigenous ancestry can call themselves Métis. On the contrary, “Métis” has a specific definition in Canadian law. In 2003 the Supreme Court Powley decision described a Métis person as “one who self-identifies, has an ancestral connection to a historic Métis community, and is accepted by that community.” Anyone can self-identify as “Métis” when answering a census question, but not everyone of them is a member of the historic Métis Nation that originated in the Red River Valley of Manitoba.

Darryl Leroux has been exploring the race-shifting phenomenon for more than two decades. The social scientist from St. Mary’s University was in Fredericton Nov. 20 to speak about the process he has called “white settler revisionism,” a new wave of colonialism and to launch his new book, Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity published by the University of Manitoba Press

Read the entire article here.

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