Imagining the Mulatta: Blackness in U.S. and Brazilian Media

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, United States on 2019-10-28 01:07Z by Steven

Imagining the Mulatta: Blackness in U.S. and Brazilian Media

University of Illinois Press
May 2020
288 pages
9 color photographs
6 x 9 in.
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-252-04328-4
Paper ISBN: 978-0-252-08520-8

Jasmine Mitchell, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Media Studies
State University of New York, Old Westbury

Mixed-race women and popular culture in Brazil and the United States

Brazil markets itself as a racially mixed utopia. The United States prefers the term melting pot. Both nations have long used the image of the mulatta to push skewed cultural narratives. Highlighting the prevalence of mixed race women of African and European descent, the two countries claim to have perfected racial representation—all the while ignoring the racialization, hypersexualization, and white supremacy that the mulatta narrative creates.

Jasmine Mitchell investigates the development and exploitation of the mulatta figure in Brazilian and U.S. popular culture. Drawing on a wide range of case studies, she analyzes policy debates and reveals the use of mixed-Black female celebrities as subjects of racial and gendered discussions. Mitchell also unveils the ways the media moralizes about the mulatta figure and uses her as an example of an “acceptable” version of blackness that at once dreams of erasing undesirable blackness while maintaining the qualities that serve as outlets for interracial desire.

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Context-dependence of race self-classification: Results from a highly mixed and unequal middle-income country

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2019-10-19 03:08Z by Steven

Context-dependence of race self-classification: Results from a highly mixed and unequal middle-income country

PLOS ONE
2019-05-16
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216653

DĂłra Chor
Department of Epidemiology and Quantitative Methods
National School of Public Health
Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Alexandre Pereira
Laboratory of Genetics and Molecular Cardiology, Heart Institute (InCor)
University of SĂŁo Paulo, SĂŁo Paulo, SP, Brazil

Antonio G. Pacheco
Scientific Computing Program
Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil

Ricardo V. Santos
Department of Epidemiology and Quantitative Methods
National School of Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
Department of Anthropology, Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil

Maria J. M. Fonseca
Department of Epidemiology and Quantitative Methods
National School of Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Maria I. Schmidt
Postgraduate Program in Epidemiology, School of Medicine
Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS Brazil

Bruce B. Duncan
Postgraduate Program in Epidemiology, School of Medicine
Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS Brazil

Sandhi M. Barreto, Faculty of Medicine & Clinical Hospital
Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG Brazil

Estela M. L. Aquino
Institute of Collective Health
Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, BA Brazil

José G. Mill
Department of Physiological Sciences
Federal University of Espirito Santo, VitĂłria, ES Brazil

Maria delCB Molina
Department of Physiological Science
Federal University of Espirito Santo, VitĂłria, ES Brazil

Luana Giatti, Faculty of Medicine & Clinical Hospital
Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG Brazil

Maria daCC Almeida
Gonçalo Muniz Institute, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Salvador, BA Brazil

Isabela Bensenor
Center for Clinical and Epidemiological Research, University Hospital
University of SĂŁo Paulo, SĂŁo Paulo, SP Brazil

Paulo A. Lotufo
Center for Clinical and Epidemiological Research
University Hospital, University of SĂŁo Paulo, SĂŁo Paulo, SP Brazil

Ethnic-racial classification criteria are widely recognized to vary according to historical, cultural and political contexts. In Brazil, the strong influence of individual socio-economic factors on race/colour self-classification is well known. With the expansion of genomic technologies, the use of genomic ancestry has been suggested as a substitute for classification procedures such as self-declaring race, as if they represented the same concept. We investigated the association between genomic ancestry, the racial composition of census tracts and individual socioeconomic factors and self-declared race/colour in a cohort of 15,105 Brazilians. Results show that the probability of self-declaring as black or brown increases according to the proportion of African ancestry and varies widely among cities. In Porto Alegre, where most of the population is white, with every 10% increase in the proportion of African ancestry, the odds of self-declaring as black increased 14 times (95%CI 6.08–32.81). In Salvador, where most of the population is black or brown, that increase was of 3.98 times (95%CI 2.96–5.35). The racial composition of the area of residence was also associated with the probability of self-declaring as black or brown. Every 10% increase in the proportion of black and brown inhabitants in the residential census tract increased the odds of self-declaring as black by 1.33 times (95%CI 1.24–1.42). Ancestry alone does not explain self-declared race/colour. An emphasis on multiple situational contexts (both individual and collective) provides a more comprehensive framework for the study of the predictors of self-declared race/colour, a highly relevant construct in many different scenarios, such as public policy, sociology and medicine.

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How States Make Race: New Evidence from Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science on 2019-10-19 02:42Z by Steven

How States Make Race: New Evidence from BrazilHow States Make Race: New Evidence from Brazil

Sociological Science
Volume 5, (2018-11-26)
pages 722-751
DOI: 10.15195/v5.a31

Stanley R. Bailey, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Irvine

FabrĂ­cio M. Fialho, Postdoctoral Researcher
Centre de Recherches Internationales, Sciences Po Paris, France

Mara Loveman, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Berkeley

Sociological Science

The Brazilian state recently adopted unprecedented race-targeted affirmative action in government hiring and university admissions. Scholarship would predict the state’s institutionalization of racial categories has “race-making” effects. In this article, we ask whether the Brazilian state’s policy turnabout has affected racial subjectivities on the ground, specifically toward mirroring the categories used by the state. To answer, we conceptualize race as multidimensional and leverage two of its dimensions—lay identification and government classification (via open-ended and closed-ended questions, respectively)—to introduce a new metric of state race-making: a comparison of the extent of alignment between lay and government dimensions across time. Logistic regression on large-sample survey data from before the policy turn (1995) and well after its diffusion (2008) reveals an increased use of state categories as respondents’ lay identification in the direction of matching respondents’ government classification. We conclude that the Brazilian state is making race but not from scratch nor in ways that are fully intended.

Read the entire article here.

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Racial Intermarriage in the Americas

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2019-10-19 02:25Z by Steven

Racial Intermarriage in the Americas

Sociological Science
Volume 6, (2019-04-23)
pages 293-320
DOI: 10.15195/v6.a12

Edward Telles, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Santa Barbara

Albert Esteve, Director and Adjunct Professor (Department of Geography)
Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Sociological Science

We compare intermarriage in Brazil, Cuba, and the United States among the black, white, and mixed-race population using log-linear models with data from newly available anonymized and harmonized individual census microdata for the 2000 round of censuses. We find that black–white intermarriage is 105 times as likely in Brazil and 28 times as likely in Cuba compared to the United States; that Brazilian mulatos are four times as likely to marry whites than blacks, but Cuban mulatos are equally likely to marry whites and blacks; and negative educational gradients for black–white intermarriage for Cuba and Brazil but nonexistent or positive gradients in the United States. We propose a theory of intergenerational mixture and intermarriage and discuss implications for the role of preferences versus structure, universalism and education, and mulato escape-hatch theory.

Read the entire article here.

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Freedom and Frustration: Rachel Dolezal and the Meaning of Race

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2019-08-18 22:12Z by Steven

Freedom and Frustration: Rachel Dolezal and the Meaning of Race

Contexts
Volume: 18 issue: 3
pages 36-41
DOI: 10.1177/1536504219864957

Chinyere Osuji, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden

In the United States, people often discuss how the burgeoning multi-racial population and immigrants from Asia and Latin America are forcing us to call into question what we know about racial and ethnic categories. This argument, however, takes for granted that being Black or White, categories at the poles, are unproblematic distinctions. This perspective essentializes Blackness and Whiteness as commonsense phenomena. They are anything but. The meanings of who is White and who is Black in the United States have shifted over centuries, and who gets slotted into what category changes across societies.

A couple of years ago, the media became fascinated with Rachel Dolezal, a woman born naturally to White parents, who identified as a Black woman. At a time when transgender issues were becoming salient, news media posed what seemed to them an obvious question: is it possible to be born White and become Black the same way it was possible to be born with male sex organs and become female? Although Dolezal never used the term “transracial” to identify herself, she reminded us that race is a social construction, something many people understand as fake and baseless. On these grounds, Dolezal decided that she would wear Black hairstyles, spend time in Black communities, date and marry Black men, lead a chapter of a historically Black organization, and supposedly leave Whiteness behind. This infuriated many people, especially African Americans.

When Rachel Dolezal made international news, my friends in Brazil did not understand the commotion. “What’s going on? Who is this woman?” they asked.

I understood some of their confusion…

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In Brazil, a New Rendering of a Literary Giant Makes Waves

Posted in Articles, Biography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism on 2019-07-16 01:44Z by Steven

In Brazil, a New Rendering of a Literary Giant Makes Waves

The New York Times
2019-06-14

Shannon Sims

A widely known image of Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, left, that appears on his books, compared with the one that has gone viral on Brazilian social media in recent months, right.
A widely known image of Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, left, that appears on his books, compared with the one that has gone viral on Brazilian social media in recent months, right.
Left: Academia Brasileira de Letras

Machado de Assis Real, developed by a Brazilian university and an ad agency, shows the 19th-century writer in color, challenging some long-held ideas about him in the process.

RECIFE, Brazil — Throughout elementary and middle school, Ricardo Pavan Martins remembers reading Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, one of Brazil’s most famous writers.

So the 29-year-old, who lives in Bauru, was shocked to see a new image of Machado that has gone viral in the country. It shows him with chocolate-brown skin, considerably darker than how he appears in the black-and-white photograph that appears on virtually all of his books and hangs prominently in the Brazilian Academy of Letters.

“I always imagined him as white because this is the default image of most writers,” Martins said. “I am certain that if the skin color of an author so important was at the very least discussed during my experience at school, my black friends would have felt more represented.”

Among Brazilian writers, Machado, who lived from 1839 to 1908, inhabits a unique position. “Dom Casmurro,” his 1899 masterpiece about cuckoldry and jealousy, is required reading at some schools around the country. His name has been lent to streets and subway stops across Brazil. Susan Sontag called him “the greatest writer ever produced in Latin America,” and others have compared him to Flaubert, Kafka, Henry James and Alice Munro.

[“The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis,” one of the Times critics’ top books of 2018, “reveals the arc of Machado’s career, from the straightforward love stories to the cerebral and unpredictable later works.” ]

The traditional historical photo of him shows a man whose skin is nearly as light as his crisp white dress shirt. But a new project, developed by the São Paulo office of the advertising agency Grey and São Paulo’s University Zumbi dos Palmares, a predominantly black university, re-creates that photo in a way that the project’s leaders say more accurately reflects what Machado looked like.

Machado was known to be the descendant of freed slaves, but the new rendering, which shows him as a black man, has shaken Brazilians, prompting some to reconsider how they previously read his work and angering others who feel his legacy had been whitewashed…

…It isn’t clear how or why Machado’s image was lightened. Machado scholars like G. Reginald Daniel, a sociology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, said that in 19th-century Brazil, Machado’s publishers “would have totally wanted him white to sell. For people to see this great author as of African descent would have been very troubling for many.”…

“He was celebrated during a period of Brazilian society where to be recognized and valued you had to be white,” Matos said. “He would have never been taken seriously, and never achieved commercial success, if people had known his true racial identity. He would have been a failure if he had been known as black.”

But some of those most familiar with Machado’s life are ambivalent about the push to identify him as black. Daniel, who wrote a book exploring Machado’s mixed-race identity, said that while he commended the efforts to “re-racialize” him, “the real Machado de Assis was not a black man but mixed. Portraying him otherwise misses the duality and in-between experience he had as a biracial man.”…

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Machado de Assis: 26 Stories

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2019-07-16 01:32Z by Steven

Machado de Assis: 26 Stories

W. W. Norton
July 2019
320 pages
5.5 x 8.3 in
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-63149-598-4

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908)

Translated by: Robin Patterson and Margaret Jull Costa

Foreword by: Michael Wood

This “watershed collection” (Wall Street Journal) now appears in an essential selected paperback edition, with twenty-six of Machado’s finest stories.

Widely acclaimed as “the greatest writer ever produced in Latin America” (Susan Sontag), as well as “another Kafka” (Allen Ginsberg), Machado de Assis (1839–1908) was famous in his time for his psychologically probing tales of fin-de-siècle Rio de Janeiro—a world populated with dissolute plutocrats, grasping parvenus, and struggling spinsters. In this original paperback, Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, “the accomplished duo” (Wall Street Journal) behind the “landmark . . . heroically translated” volume (The New Yorker) of the Collected Stories of Machado de Assis, include twenty-six chronologically ordered stories from the seven story collections published during Machado’s life—featuring all-time favorites such as the celebrated novella “The Alienist”; the tragicomic “parable of bureaucracy, madness, and power” (Los Angeles Review of Books), “Midnight Mass”; “The Cane”; and “Father Against Mother.” Ultimately, Machado de Assis: 26 Stories affirms Machado’s status as a literary giant who must finally be fully integrated into the world literary canon.

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The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2019-07-16 01:10Z by Steven

The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis

W. W. Norton
June 2018
960 pages
6.6 x 9.6 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-87140-496-1

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908)

Translated by: Robin Patterson and Margaret Jull Costa

Foreword by: Michael Wood

New York Times Critics’ Best of the Year

A landmark event, the complete stories of Machado de Assis finally appear in English for the first time in this extraordinary new translation.

Widely acclaimed as the progenitor of twentieth-century Latin American fiction, Machado de Assis (1839–1908)—the son of a mulatto father and a washerwoman, and the grandson of freed slaves—was hailed in his lifetime as Brazil’s greatest writer. His prodigious output of novels, plays, and stories rivaled contemporaries like Chekhov, Flaubert, and Maupassant, but, shockingly, he was barely translated into English until 1963 and still lacks proper recognition today. Drawn to the master’s psychologically probing tales of fin-de-siècle Rio de Janeiro, a world populated with dissolute plutocrats, grasping parvenus, and struggling spinsters, acclaimed translators Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson have now combined Machado’s seven short-story collections into one volume, featuring seventy-six stories, a dozen appearing in English for the first time.

Born in the outskirts of Rio, Machado displayed a precocious interest in books and languages and, despite his impoverished background, miraculously became a well-known intellectual figure in Brazil’s capital by his early twenties. His daring narrative techniques and coolly ironic voice resemble those of Thomas Hardy and Henry James, but more than either of these writers, Machado engages in an open playfulness with his reader—as when his narrator toys with readers’ expectations of what makes a female heroine in “Miss Dollar,” or questions the sincerity of a slave’s concern for his dying master in “The Tale of the Cabriolet.”

Predominantly set in the late nineteenth-century aspiring world of Rio de Janeiro—a city in the midst of an intense transformation from colonial backwater to imperial metropolis—the postcolonial realism of Machado’s stories anticipates a dominant theme of twentieth-century literature. Readers witness the bourgeoisie of Rio both at play, and, occasionally, attempting to be serious, as depicted by the chief character of “The Alienist,” who makes naively grandiose claims for his Brazilian hometown at the expense of the cultural capitals of Europe. Signifiers of new wealth and social status abound through the landmarks that populate Machado’s stories, enlivening a world in the throes of transformation: from the elegant gardens of Passeio Público and the vibrant Rua do Ouvidor—the long, narrow street of fashionable shops, theaters and cafés, “the Via Dolorosa of long-suffering husbands”—to the port areas of Saúde and Gamboa, and the former Valongo slave market.

One of the greatest masters of the twentieth century, Machado reveals himself to be an obsessive collector of other people’s lives, who writes: “There are no mysteries for an author who can scrutinize every nook and cranny of the human heart.” Now, The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis brings together, for the first time in English, all of the stories contained in the seven collections published in his lifetime, from 1870 to 1906. A landmark literary event, this majestic translation reintroduces a literary giant who must finally be integrated into the world literary canon.

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Chinyere K. Osuji

Posted in Anthropology, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2019-07-12 12:09Z by Steven

Chinyere K. Osuji

New Books Network
2019-07-11

Reighan Gillam, Host and Assistant Professor of Anthropology
University of Southern California

Chinyere K. Osuji, Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race (New York: New York University Press, 2019)

The increasing presence of interracial relationships is often read as an antidote to racism or as an indicator of the decreasing significance of race. In her book, Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race (NYU Press, 2019), Chinyere K. Osuji examines how interracial couples push against, navigate, and often maintain racial boundaries. In-depth interviews with black-white couples in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Los Angeles demonstrate how couples negotiate racial difference with their spouses, within their families, and during public encounters. This comparative study of interracial couples in Brazil and in the United States shows just how race can be constructed differently, while racial hierarchies persist. This book would be of interest to those in fields such as racial and ethnic studies, family and kinship studies, gender studies, and Latin American studies.

Listen to the interview (00:52:56) here. Download the interview here.

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Sensual Not Beautiful: The Mulata as Erotic Spectacle

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Women on 2019-07-11 17:46Z by Steven

Sensual Not Beautiful: The Mulata as Erotic Spectacle

ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America
Spring 2017 (Black is Beautiful)

Jasmine Mitchell, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Media Studies
State University of New York, Old Westbury

iconic dancer
The iconic mulata female body is portrayed in Brazil as glistening brown. Photo courtesy of Jasmine Mitchell.

While white actresses and models still dominate beauty and fashion magazines in Brazil, on my last few visits to Brazil, I’ve noticed that actresses of African descent such as Camila Pitanga and TaĂ­s AraĂşjo have also graced the covers. Since 2009, both actresses have also starred in telenovelas. Miss Brazil 2016 is the first black winner since Deise Nunes’s crowning in 1986. The 2016 competition had the largest number of black candidates in its history. The dominant conceptualizations of beauty in Brazil are shifting. Erika Moura, the Mulata Globeleza of 2017, did not appear as a bodypainted nude Rio de Janeiro samba dancer, but instead performed in various costumes and dance styles representing a breadth of Brazilian regional cultures.

It’s certainly not been this way for very long. In 2001, on my first trip to Brazil, I yearned to find a refuge, a place where my background as a mixed-race black woman from the United States was neither exotic nor fetishized. Relying on Brazil’s reputed celebration of racial mixing, I believed that it would become my racial paradise in which brown was beautiful and I would find a resistance to the exclusivity of white U.S. beauty norms.

Instead, I became familiar with a Brazilian saying, “Branca para casar, mulata para fornicar, negra para trabalhar (white women for marriage, mulata women for sex, black women for work).”…

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