Noel Ignatiev, scholar who called for abolishing whiteness, dies at 78

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2019-11-12 16:35Z by Steven

Noel Ignatiev, scholar who called for abolishing whiteness, dies at 78

The Los Angeles Times
2019-11-11

Sewell Chan, Deputy Managing Editor, News

Noel Ignatiev
Noel Ignatiev’s 1995 book “How the Irish Became White” was influential and controversial, touching off a firestorm of debate.

Noel Ignatiev, a former steelworker who became a historian known for his work on race and class and his call to abolish “whiteness,” died at Banner-University Medical Center Tucson on Saturday. He was 78. The cause was an intestinal infarction, according to Kingsley Clarke, a longtime friend.

Ignatiev’s best-known book, “How the Irish Became White,” was immediately influential and controversial upon its publication in 1995. It touched off a firestorm of debate at the time at academic conferences and in the pages of newspapers. In time his view that whiteness is a social and political construction — and not a phenomenon with a biological basis — has become mainstream. The resurgence of white identity politics and white nationalism in recent years made Ignatiev’s arguments relevant to a new generation of readers who argued the notion that race is more about power and privilege rather than about ancestry, or even identity.

The book detailed how the Irish, who had first come to North America as indentured servants and were reviled by the more settled populations of English and Dutch Americans, became, by the mid-19th century, accepted as white. Sadly, Ignatiev argued, the Irish became incorporated into whiteness just before the Civil War, through support for slavery and violence against free African Americans. To become white, Ignatiev wrote, did not mean to be middle class, much less rich, but rather to be accepted as equal citizens and to have access to the same neighborhoods, schools and jobs as others…

Read the entire obituary here.

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Racial Passing in America

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-11-10 03:59Z by Steven

Racial Passing in America

Yale University Press Blog
2019-11-04

Adele Logan Alexander, Emeritus Professor of History
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Over the years, the practice of “passing” for white has variously been considered wicked, cowardly, deceptive, essential, all or none of the above by much of the African American community. Certainly, it was and is controversial.

In years, decades, and centuries past, a number of light-skinned African Americans “passed,” either briefly, permanently, or situationally. Their stories are legion. This certainly has been the case for several members of my own family…

…But there are alternative stories too. In the Jim Crow South, my light-skinned grandmother sometimes wore a raceless mask to attend “all-white” suffrage conferences in the pre-Nineteenth Amendment years. Then she brought the information she gleaned back to share with her African American friends and peers who hoped to acquire the vote for women. On occasion, she also manipulated the racial apartheid system to acquire the best possible medical care for herself and her children. Would anyone argue with her choices in those instances?…

Read the entire article here.

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New Hampshire: Beyond Black & White

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, United States on 2019-11-10 03:40Z by Steven

New Hampshire: Beyond Black & White

Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire
2019-2020 Elinor Williams Hooker Expanded Tea Talk Series
Keene State College
Young Student Center
Mountain View Room
229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435
Sunday, 2019-11-10, 14:00 EST

Contact information:
JerriAnne Boggis, Executive Director
603-570-8469

Panelists: David Watters, Darrell Hucks, & (TBA)
Moderator: Dottie Morris

Moving beyond rigid racial identities, this talk will explore the contemporary as well as historic intersection between Black and Indigenous communities, the presence of “passing” mixed race individuals, and the most recent immigrant experience within a New England context. These complex interactions, connections conflicts, experiences, and resistant efforts of Black, white and multi-racial citizens will be explored through scholarly research and an analysis of the film Lost Boundaries.

For more information, click here.

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Latin Blackness in Parisian Visual Culture, 1852-1932

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2019-11-04 17:54Z by Steven

Latin Blackness in Parisian Visual Culture, 1852-1932

Bloomsbury
2019-02-21
232 pages
9 colour and 37 bw illus
229 x 152 mm
Hardback 9781501332357

Lyneise E. Williams, Associate Professor of Art History
University of North Carolina

Latin Blackness in Parisian Visual Culture, 1852-1932

Latin Blackness in Parisian Visual Culture, 1852-1932 examines an understudied visual language used to portray Latin Americans in mid-19th to early 20th-century Parisian popular visual media. The term ‘Latinize’ is introduced to connect France’s early 19th-century endeavors to create “Latin America,” an expansion of the French empire into the Latin-language based Spanish and Portuguese Americas, to its perception of this population.

Latin-American elites traveler to Paris in the 1840s from their newly independent nations were denigrated in representations rather than depicted as equals in a developing global economy. Darkened skin, etched onto images of Latin Americans of European descent mitigated their ability to claim the privileges of their ancestral heritage. Whitened skin, among other codes, imposed on turn-of-the-20th-century Black Latin Americans in Paris tempered their Blackness and rendered them relatively assimilatable compared to colonial Africans, Blacks from the Caribbean, and African Americans.

After identifying mid-to-late 19th-century Latinizing codes, the study focuses on shifts in latinizing visuality between 1890-1933 in three case studies: the depictions of popular Cuban circus entertainer Chocolat; representations of Panamanian World Bantamweight Champion boxer Alfonso Teofilo Brown; and paintings of Black Uruguayans executed by Pedro Figari, a Uruguayan artist, during his residence in Paris between 1925-1933.

Table of contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
    • The Term “Latin American”
    • Why Paris?
    • Much More Than Primitivism
    • Reduced to Latin Americans
    • Parisian Figurations of Blackness from the Mid-Nineteenth to the Early Twentieth Century
    • Overview of the Study
  • Chapter 1: Playing Up Blackness and Indianness; Downplaying Europeanness
    • Editing Francisco Laso: Racializing Spanish and Portuguese Americans
    • Performing Rastaquerismo
    • Justified by Anthropology: Quatrefages, Hamy, and the Casta Paintings
    • Latin American Self-Representation
    • The Shifting Rastaquouère
    • Maintaining Anthropological Interpretations in the Early Twentieth Century
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 2: Chocolat the Clown: Not Just Black
    • Chocolat and Footit: Partners in Contrast
    • The Auguste Chocolat
    • The Give and Take of Chocolat and Footit
    • Chocolat and Footit at the Nouveau Cirque
    • Chocolat as Brand Image
    • Beneath the Surface
    • Chocolat as Mixed Animal
    • Chocolat the Contaminant
    • Impure Chocolat(e)
    • Chocolat, That Special Ingredient: The Racially Mixed Object of Desire
    • Complicating Notions of Minstrelsy
    • Lip Interventions
    • Representations Through Clothing
    • Sexualizing Black Dandies
    • Assimilating the Latin
    • Beyond the Circus
    • Chocolat, Object of Gay Desire
    • Chocolat and the Elite and the Virile
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 3: Alfonso Teofilo Brown: Agency and Impositions of Blackness and Europeanness
    • Sport and the Imagined Ideal Male Body
    • Black Boxers in Turn-of-the-Century France
    • Gangly Brown
    • The Purity and Hybridity of Gangly Brown
    • Brown the Gentleman
    • Images of Black Difference
    • Brown the Philanthropist
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 4: Figari’s Blacks: Negotiating French and Southern Cone Blackness
    • Figari and Paris
    • Contested Whiteness and the Black Body
    • Conceptualizing Regional Identity
    • Through the Anthropological Gaze
    • Candombe as Framing Device
    • Gender and Race in Candombe
    • Objects as Markers
    • Figari as “NaĂŻf” Painter
    • Increasing Latin American Presence in Paris
    • Perceptions of Black Uruguayans
    • Figari’s Evolution in Paris
    • Contradictions and Contrasts between Figari’s Paintings and Written Work
    • Conclusion
  • Coda
  • Select Bibliography
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Mexican Costumbrismo: Race, Society, and Identity in Nineteenth-Century Art

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2019-11-03 03:05Z by Steven

Mexican Costumbrismo: Race, Society, and Identity in Nineteenth-Century Art

Pennsylvania State University Press
2018
180 pages
8″ Ă— 10″
31 color/29 b&w illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-07907-3

Mey-Yen Moriuchi, Assistant Professor of Art History
LaSalle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Cover image for Mexican Costumbrismo: Race, Society, and Identity in Nineteenth-Century Art By Mey-Yen Moriuchi

The years following Mexican independence in 1821 were critical to the development of social, racial, and national identities. The visual arts played a decisive role in this process of self-definition. Mexican Costumbrismo reorients current understanding of this key period in the history of Mexican art by focusing on a distinctive genre of painting that emerged between 1821 and 1890: costumbrismo.

In contrast to the neoclassical work favored by the Mexican academy, costumbrista artists portrayed the quotidian lives of the lower to middle classes, their clothes, food, dwellings, and occupations. Based on observations of similitude and difference, costumbrista imagery constructed stereotypes of behavioral and biological traits associated with distinct racial and social classes. In doing so, Mey-Yen Moriuchi argues, these works engaged with notions of universality and difference, contributed to the documentation and reification of social and racial types, and transformed the way Mexicans saw themselves, as well as how other nations saw them, during a time of rapid change for all aspects of national identity.

Carefully researched and featuring more than thirty full-color exemplary reproductions of period work, Moriuchi’s study is a provocative art-historical examination of costumbrismo’s lasting impact on Mexican identity and history.

Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. Racialized Social Spaces in Casta and Costumbrista Painting
  • 2. Traveler-Artists’ Visions of Mexico
  • 3. Literary Costumbrismo: Celebration and Satire of los tipos populares
  • 4. Local Perspectives: Mexican Costumbrista Artists
  • 5. Costumbrista Photography
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Opinion: The pernicious myth of a Caucasian race

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive on 2019-10-26 03:06Z by Steven

Opinion: The pernicious myth of a Caucasian race

The Los Angeles Times
2019-09-11

Joel Dinerstien, Professor of English
Tulane University, New Orleans Louisiana

Anthropologists have for centuries studied human skulls and drawn conclusions about human origins — some of them inaccurate.
Anthropologists have for centuries studied human skulls and drawn conclusions about human origins — some of them inaccurate. (Menahem Kahana / AFP/Getty Images)

How did a female skull lead to “Caucasians”?

In the vocabulary of ethnicity, some designations are obvious. African Americans are of African descent; Latinos have Latin American roots. But what about Caucasians? If a Native American told a Caucasian to “go back where you came from,” where would that person go?

Geographically, Caucasia is a region of Russia, a place from which few white Americans come. Yet the term Caucasian remains in wide use as a synonym for a white person.

The classification dates back to 1795, when Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, a respected German physician and anthropologist, conducted research in which he measured skulls, a then-common practice for comparing disparate human groups…

Read the entire article here.

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Ep13 – Loving v. Virginia

Posted in Audio, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2019-10-26 02:02Z by Steven

Ep13 – Loving v. Virginia

Salacious History: Sex. Romance. Infamy.
2019-10-16

Sarah Duncan, Host

At 2am on July 11, 1958, Mildred and Richard Loving were ripped from their beds in the middle of the night and thrown in jail. Their crime? Being married to someone of a different race. On today’s show, we get the background on the Lovings’ relationship, a brief history of miscegenation law, and how the Loving’s legal battle changed the United States forever.

Listen to the episode (00:25:26) here. Download the episode here.

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Blurring the Lines of Race and Freedom: Mulattoes in English Colonial North America and the Early United States Republic

Posted in Dissertations, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2019-10-26 01:11Z by Steven

Blurring the Lines of Race and Freedom: Mulattoes in English Colonial North America and the Early United States Republic

University of California at Berkeley
Spring 2013
183 pages

Aaron B. Wilkinson

A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History

This project investigates people of mixed African, European, and sometimes Native American ancestry, commonly referred to as mulattoes, in English colonial North America and the early United States republic. This research deconstructs nascent African American stratification by examining various types of privilege that allowed people of mixed heritage to experience upward social mobility, with a special focus on access to freedom from slavery and servitude in the colonies and states of the southeast Atlantic Coast. Additionally, this work provides a framework for understanding U.S. mixed-race ideologies by following the trajectory of how people of mixed descent and their families viewed themselves and how they were perceived by the broader societies in which they lived. This study contributes to historiographical and contemporary discussions associated with mixed-heritage peoples, ideas of racial mixture, “whiteness,” and African American identity.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Who Was the Real James Young Deer?

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2019-10-24 17:28Z by Steven

Who Was the Real James Young Deer?

Bright Lights Film Journal
Issue May 2013 (2013-04-30)
10 pages

Angela Aleiss, Full Time Lecturer, Information Systems
California State University, Long Beach

James Young Deer, 1909, at Bison

The Mysterious Identity of the Pathè Producer Finally Comes to Light

“With his acting experience and technical know-how, Young Deer soon advanced to one of PathĂ©’s leading filmmakers. His Indian identity served him well: no one in the cast or crew at that time would have taken orders from a black man.”

Few in Hollywood knew that James Young Deer, general manager of PathĂ© Frères West Coast Studio from 1911 to 1914, was really an imposter. After all, Young Deer had earned a reputation as the first Native American producer and had worked alongside D. W. Griffith, Fred J. Balshofer, and Mack Sennett. As one of Hollywood’s pioneer filmmakers, Young Deer oversaw the production of more than 100 one-reel silent Westerns for PathĂ©, the world’s largest production company with an American studio in Edendale in Los Angeles.

Young Deer was married to Lillian St. Cyr, a Winnebago Indian from Nebraska known as “Princess Red Wing” and star of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1914 classic The Squaw Man. He boasted of a full-blooded Winnebago heritage similar to his wife: his birthplace became Dakota City, Nebraska, and his father was “Green Rainbow” from the Winnebago reservation. He claimed he attended the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, the first off-reservation Indian boarding school.

In a 2010 BBC Radio 3 segment, “James Young Deer: The Winnebago Film-Maker,” no one — including this author — could unscramble Young Deer’s murky past. Young Deer was elusive, and a search in his background leads to a maze of contradictions and discrepancies. But after ten months of poking through dusty archives and faded vital records and tracking down Lillian’s relatives, the identity of this mysterious filmmaker finally came to light. His real name: James Young Johnson, born about April 1, 1878, in Washington, D.C., to mulatto parents George Durham Johnson and Emma Margaret Young.

“If Young Deer claimed to be Winnebago, he was lying to himself and others to promote himself,” says David Smith, Winnebago historian, author, and former director of Indian Studies at Little Priest Tribal College in Nebraska. Smith has heard endless stories about Young Deer’s supposed Winnebago heritage, and he’s had enough. His reaction is understandable: Native American identity is an especially sensitive issue, and no Indian tribe wants their name appropriated by some wannabe.

Little did anyone know that Young Deer’s true heritage lies hidden within the small mid-Atlantic community of whites, African Americans, and Native Americans once known as the “Moors of Delaware.” So secluded were these people that the late historian Clinton A. Weslager referred to them as “Delaware’s Forgotten Folk.”…

Read the entire article here.

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He passed as a white student at U-M — but was actually college’s first black enrollee

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-10-24 15:03Z by Steven

He passed as a white student at U-M — but was actually college’s first black enrollee

Detroit Free Press
2019-10-19

Micah Walker

Tylonn J. Sawyer, 42 of Detroit, works on the mural he's been painting inside the University of Michigan, Modern Languages Building on campus in Ann Arbor on Saturday, October 19, 2019. The mural titled "First Man: Samuel Codes Watson (Acrylic)" is dedicated to the first African-American to attend the University of Michigan, Samuel Codes Watson. In 1853, Samuel Codes Watson was the first African American student admitted to the Michigan.
Tylonn J. Sawyer, 42 of Detroit, works on the mural he’s been painting inside the University of Michigan, Modern Languages Building on campus in Ann Arbor on Saturday, October 19, 2019. The mural titled “First Man: Samuel Codes Watson (Acrylic)” is dedicated to the first African-American to attend the University of Michigan, Samuel Codes Watson. In 1853, Samuel Codes Watson was the first African American student admitted to the [University of] Michigan. (Photo: Eric Seals, Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press)

In 1853, Samuel Codes Watson became the first black student admitted to the University of Michigan at a time where higher education for African Americans was nearly impossible.

Studying to become a doctor, Watson would go on to receive his M.D. from Cleveland Medical College in 1857, being one of the first black people to do so. He later became Detroit’s first elected African-American city official and the city’s richest property owner by 1867.

Now, Tylonn Sawyer is bringing more awareness to Watson’s story through a work of art.

The Detroit artist is working with two U-M students on a mural to honor Watson. He’s spent the last two weekends painting inside U-M’s Modern Language Building. The mural was to be completed Saturday.

The project is part of Sawyer’s residency at the Institute for the Humanities, which will include his exhibition, “White History Month Vol. 1,” and a series of student engagement opportunities…

…”I was trying to find something not too heavy-handed, but something that could fit the theme (of the exhibit) and then it dawned on me, I wanted to know who was the first black person to attend the school,” he said.

However, since Watson was of mixed race, he passed as white during his two years at U-M. Fortunately for Sawyer, that fact made the doctor more compelling to paint for “White History.”

“That fascinates me that there was a black person who had white privilege and was cognizant of his ethnicity,” he said. “When you really think about it, he kinda wasn’t a black person when he was there. That’s such a juxtaposition for me.”…

Read the entire article here.

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