The (Dis)Ability of Color; or, That Middle World: Toward A New Understanding of 19th and 20th Century Passing Narratives

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-03-25 13:16Z by Steven

The (Dis)Ability of Color; or, That Middle World: Toward A New Understanding of 19th and 20th Century Passing Narratives

University of Massachusetts, Amherst
2015

Julia S. Charles, Assistant Professor of English
Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama

This dissertation mines the intersection of racial performance and the history of the so-called “tragic mulatto” figure in American fiction. I propose that while many white writers depicted the “mulatto” character as inherently flawed because of some tainted “black blood,” many black writers’ depictions of mixed-race characters imagine solutions to the race problem. Many black writers critiqued some of America’s most egregious sins by demonstrating linkages between major shifts in American history and the mixed-race figure. Landmark legislation such as, Fugitive Slave Act 1850 and Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) are often plotlines in African American passing literature, thus demonstrating the failure of America to acknowledge its wrongdoings against people of color. While this project surveys passing narratives collectively, it pays careful consideration to those novelists whose presentations of the mixed-race figure challenge previously conceived notions of the “tragic mulatto” figure. I investigate how the writers each illuminate elements of the history of slavery and its aftermath in order to remark on black disenfranchisement at the turn of the century. Ultimately, however, I argue for the importance of the mixed-race figure as a potent symbol for imagined resolution between the larger narrative of American freedom and enslavement of blacks in the United States.

I examine several works of African American racial passing literature: William Wells Brown’s The Escape; Or, A Leap for Freedom (1858), the first published play by an African American writer. It explores the complexities of American culture at a time when tensions between North and South were about to explode into the Civil War. Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (1860), tells the true story of the mixed-race Ellen Craft and her husband who escaped to freedom through various racial performances. Nella Larsen sets her novella Passing (1929) in Harlem in the 1920s. The story centers on two childhood friends reunited, but each dealing with their mixed-race ancestry in different ways. Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral (1928) and The Chinaberry Tree: A Novel of American Life (1931) and Charles W. Chesnutt’s “The Wife of His Youth” and “A Matter of Principle” (1900). endeavors to depict a better class of blacks through her examination of the fair-skinned bourgeois-striver Angela Murray. Each of these stories address American legacies of racism and representation beginning with the Civil War.

I investigate how these authors use the mixed-race figure (mostly) following the Civil War to mark the continuing impact that its legacy has had on black Americans through the New Negro Harlem Renaissance, but also to gesture to the mythic moment of freedom symbolized by successfully crossing the so-called color line. In addition to cataloguing an era of migration, the African American passing narrative represents the moment in which we shift from only seeing characters in terms of monoracial identities. These writers suggest that new performative modes of racial affiliation are necessary to achieve freedom. Reminding us that characters of mixed status practiced race in ways that enabled them to build shared identity despite an often disparate cultural heritage, these works suggest that identities like blackness are always constituted through performance. I argue that racial passing facilitated the “performance” of whiteness together with, an acknowledgment of what is accepted as blackness.

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The Borderlands of Black Mixed-race Women’s Identity: Navigating Hegemonic Monoraciality in a White Supremacist Heteropatriarchal Society

Posted in Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2019-03-15 18:29Z by Steven

The Borderlands of Black Mixed-race Women’s Identity: Navigating Hegemonic Monoraciality in a White Supremacist Heteropatriarchal Society

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
2018
144 pages

Corey Rae Evans

In partial fulfillment of the requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts

This research study examines and deconstructs the identity formation and development of black mixed-race women and highlights the ways in which black mixed-race women have engaged in developing a “borderlands consciousness” that fosters a sense of positive identity as they navigate hegemonic monoraciality and white supremacist heteropatriarchy in the U.S. This qualitative research study analyzes data from three sources: one-on-one interviews; a focus group; and blog posts on the social media platforms Twitter and Facebook that discuss the identity development of black mixed-race women. In this study, grounded theory methodology is used to explore and theorize around the identity development of black mixed-race women and their potential to utilize a “borderlands consciousness” to embody a disidentified position in response to the dualistic stance and counterstance positions that reify monoraciality within the social and political context of the Midwestern state of Colorado. The following themes with incorporated sub-themes emerged from the three aforementioned data sources with an overarching theme of the borderlands: external oppression representative of a stance position; internal responses to oppression representative of a counterstance position; proximity to whiteness representative of both external oppression and internal responses to oppression; and creating a third space towards a position of disidentification.

Read the entire thesis here.

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“You Should’ve Seen My Grandmother; She Passed for White”: African American Women Writers, Genealogy, and the Passing Genre

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, Women on 2018-08-22 04:27Z by Steven

“You Should’ve Seen My Grandmother; She Passed for White”: African American Women Writers, Genealogy, and the Passing Genre

University of Sheffield
October 2015

Janine Bradbury, Senior Lecturer in Literature; School Learning and Teaching Lead
School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy
York St John University, York, United Kingdom

Ph.D. Dissertation

This thesis critiques the prevailing assumption that passing is passé in contemporary African American women’s literature.

By re-examining the work of Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Dorothy West, Alice Walker, and Barbara Neely, I argue that these writers signify on canonical passing narratives – Brown’s Clotel (1853) and Clotelle (1867), Chesnutt’s The House Behind the Cedars (1900), Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man (1912), Larsen’s Passing (1929), and Hurst’s Imitation of Life (1933) – in order to confront and redress both the historical roots and contemporary contexts of colourism.

As well bridging this historiographic gap, I make a case for reading passing as a multivalent trope that facilitates this very process of cultural interrogation. Rather than focussing on literal episodes of passing, I consider moments of symbolic, textual, and narrative passing, as well as the genealogical and intertextual processes at play in each text which account for the spectral hauntings of the passing-for-white figure in post-civil rights literature.

In Chapter 1, I examine the relationship between passing and embodiments of beauty in Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (1970), Bambara’s “Christmas Eve at Johnson’s Drugs N Goods” (1974) and Neely’s Blanche Among the Talented Tenth (1994).

In Chapter 2, I discuss passing, class, and capital in Naylor’s Linden Hills (1985) and Dorothy West’s The Wedding (1995).

In Chapter 3, I suggest that Walker and Morrison revisit Larsen’s Passing in their short stories “Source” (1982) and “Recitatif” (1983).

Finally, I conclude this project with a discussion of Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child (2015) in order to demonstrate the continued centrality of the passing trope for authors interested in colourism, genealogy, and black women’s experiences.

Embargoed here until October 2020.

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The Prisms of Passing: Reading beyond the Racial Binary in Twentieth-Century U.S. Passing Narratives

Posted in Dissertations, Latino Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2018-04-30 00:40Z by Steven

The Prisms of Passing: Reading beyond the Racial Binary in Twentieth-Century U.S. Passing Narratives

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
2011
217 pages

Amanda M. Page

A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

In “The Prisms of Passing: Reading beyond the Racial Binary in Twentieth-Century U.S. Passing Narratives,” I examine a subset of racial passing narratives written between 1890 and 1930 by African American activist-authors, some directly affiliated with the NAACP, who use the form to challenge racial hierarchies through the figure of the mulatta/o and his or her interactions with other racial and ethnic groups. I position texts by Frances E.W. Harper, James Weldon Johnson, and Walter White in dialogue with racial classification laws of the period—including Supreme Court decisions, such as Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), and immigration law, such as the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924—to show how these rulings and laws were designed to consolidate white identity while preventing coalition-building among African Americans and other subordinate groups.

In contrast to white-authored passing narratives of the time, I argue that these early African American passing narratives frequently gesture toward interracial solidarity with Native American, European immigrant, Latina/o, or Asian American characters as a means of
challenging white supremacy. Yet, these authors often sacrifice the potential for antiracist coalitions because of the limitations inherent in working within the dominant racial and nativist discourses. For example, in Iola Leroy (1892), Harper, despite her racially progressive intentions, strategically deploys white nativist discourse against Native Americans to demonstrate the “Americanness” of her mulatta heroine and demand recognition of African American assimilation. Though later African American passing narratives, such as Johnson‘s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912) and White‘s Flight (1926), began to reflect a collaborative global approach to civil rights as the century progressed, these strategies of domestic antagonism and/or international solidarity with groups outside of the black-white binary ultimately worked in service to a specifically African American civil rights agenda.

This study concludes with an examination of a contemporary passing narrative by an Asian American author. Brian Ascalon Roley’s American Son (2001) revises the form to challenge the continued marginalization of Latina/os and Asian Americans and thus suggests the need for a reconsideration of how we approach civil rights activism to accommodate new racial dynamics in the post-civil rights era.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Tie-Dyed Realities in a Monochromatic World: Deconstructing the Effects of Racial Microaggressions on Black-White Multiracial University Students

Posted in Campus Life, Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2018-03-25 01:59Z by Steven

Tie-Dyed Realities in a Monochromatic World: Deconstructing the Effects of Racial Microaggressions on Black-White Multiracial University Students

Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California
2013
431 pages
ISBN: 9781303700170

Claire Anne Touchstone

A dissertation presented to the Faculty of the School of Education, Loyola Marymount University, in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Education

Traditional policies dictate that Black-White multiracial people conform to monoracial minority status arising from Hypodescent (the “One-Drop Rule“) and White privilege. Despite some social recognition of Black-White persons as multiracial, racial microaggressions persist in daily life. Subtle racist acts (Sue, Capodilupo, Torino, Bucceri, Holder, Nadal, & Esquilin, 2007b) negatively impact multiracial identity development. Since 2007, studies have increasingly focused on the impact of racial microaggressions on particular monoracial ethnic groups. Johnston and Nadal (2010) delineated general racial microaggressions for multiracial people. This project examines the effects of racial microaggressions on the multiracial identity development of 11 part-Black multiracial university students, including the concerns and challenges they face in familial, academic, and social racial identity formation. Data were analyzed through a typological analysis and Racial and Multiracial Microaggressions typologies (Johnston & Nadal, 2010; Sue et al., 2007b). Three themes arose: (a) the external societal pressure for the multiracial person to identify monoracially; (b) the internalized struggle within the mixed-race person to create a cohesive self-identity; and (c) the assertion of a multiracial identity. Participants experienced Racial Microaggressions (Sue, 2010a; Sue et al., 2007b), Multiracial Microaggressions (Johnston & Nadal, 2010), and Monoracial Stereotypes (Nadal, Wong, Griffin, Sriken, Vargas, Wideman, & Kolawole, 2011). Implications included encouraging a multiracial identity, educating the school community, and eliminating racial microaggressions and stereotypes.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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The Matrix of Race: Social Construction, Intersectionality, and Inequality

Posted in Books, Dissertations, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Latino Studies, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, Teaching Resources, United States on 2017-11-13 02:58Z by Steven

The Matrix of Race: Social Construction, Intersectionality, and Inequality

SAGE Publishing
October 2017
480 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1452202693

Rodney D. Coates, Professor of Global and Intercultural Studies
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

Abby L. Ferber, Professor of Sociology
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

David L. Brunsma, Professor of Sociology
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia

The Matrix of Race: Social Construction, Intersectionality, and Inequality is a textbook that makes race and racial inequality “visible” in new ways to all students in race/ethnic relations courses, regardless of their backgrounds–from minorities who have experienced the impact of race in their own lives to members of dominant groups who might believe that we now live in a “color blind” society. The “matrix” refers to a way of thinking about race that reflects the intersecting, multilayered identities of contemporary society, and the powerful social institutions that shape our understanding of race. Its goals are to help readers get beyond familiar “us vs. them” arguments that can lead to resistance and hostility; promote self-appraisal; and stimulate more productive discussions about race and racism.

Contents

  • PREFACE
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  • ABOUT THE AUTHORS
  • PART I. INTRODUCTION TO RACE AND THE SOCIAL MATRIX
    • Chapter 1. Race and the Social Construction of Difference
      • The Social Construction of Race
      • The Social Matrix of Race
      • The Operation of Racism
      • Our Stories
      • Key Terms
      • Chapter Summary
    • Chapter 2. The Shaping of a Nation: The Social Construction of Race in America
      • Race Today: Adapting and Evolving
      • Indigenous Peoples: The Americas before Columbus
      • Discovery and Encounters: The Shaping of Our Storied Past
      • The U.S. Matrix and Intersectionality— Where Do We Go from Here?
      • Key Terms
      • Chapter Summary
  • PART II. THE MATRIX PERSPECTIVE ON SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS
    • Chapter 3. The Social Construction and Regulation of Families
      • Historical Regulation of the Family
      • Family Inequality Theories
      • Family Inequality through the Matrix Lens
      • Transforming the Ideal Family Narrative
      • Key Terms
      • Chapter Summary
    • Chapter 4. Work and Wealth Inequality
      • Recent Trends in Work and Wealth
      • Theories of Economic Inequality
      • Applying the Matrix to the History of Economic Inequality in the United States
      • Transforming the Story of Race and Economic Inequality
      • Key Terms
      • Chapter Summary
    • Chapter 5. Health, Medicine, and Health Care
      • Patterns of Inequality in Health and Health Care
      • Theorizing Inequality in Health and Health Care
      • Applying the Matrix to Health Inequity and Inequality
      • Resisting and Transforming Inequality in Health and Health Care
      • Key Terms
      • Chapter Summary
    • Chapter 6. Education
      • The Shaping of the Matrix of U.S. Education
      • Theories of Education
      • Examining the Concealed Story of Race and Education through the Matrix
      • Alternative Educational Movements and the Future of Education
      • Key Terms
      • Chapter Summary
    • Chapter 7. Crime, Law, and Deviance
      • A History of Race, Crime, and Punishment
      • Sociological Stock Theories of Crime and Deviance
      • Applying the Matrix to Crime and Deviance
      • Transforming the Narrative of Race, Crime, and Deviance
      • Key Terms
      • Chapter Summary
    • Chapter 8. Power, Politics, and Identities
      • Contemporary Political Identities
      • Critiquing Sociological Theories of Power, Politics, and Identity
      • Applying the Matrix of Race to U.S. Political History
      • Building Alternatives to the Matrix of Race and Politics
      • Key Terms
      • Chapter Summary
    • Chapter 9. Sports and the American Dream
      • The State of Sport Today
      • Examining Stock Sociological Theories of Sport
      • Applying the Matrix to Sports in the United States
      • Creating a New Playing Field
      • Key Terms
      • Chapter Summary
    • Chapter 10. The Military, War, and Terrorism
      • Class, Gender, and Race in the U.S. Military
      • Military Sociology Stock Theories
      • Applying the Matrix Approach to U.S. Military History, War, and Terrorism
      • A More Inclusive Future
      • Key Terms
      • Chapter Summary
    • Conclusion
  • GLOSSARY
  • REFERENCES
  • INDEX
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Passing: Intersections of Race, Gender, Sexuality and Class

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-08-02 00:19Z by Steven

Passing: Intersections of Race, Gender, Sexuality and Class

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
2017-07-17
379 pages

Dana Christine Volk

Dissertation submitted to the faculty of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy In ASPECT: Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought

African American Literature in the 20th century engaged many social and racial issues that mainstream white America marginalized during the pre-civil rights era through the use of rhetoric, setting, plot, narrative, and characterization. The use of passing fostered an outlet for many light-skinned men and women for inclusion. This trope also allowed for a closer investigation of the racial division in the United States during the 20th century. These issues included questions of the color line, or more specifically, how light-skinned men and women passed as white to obtain elevated economic and social status. Secondary issues in these earlier passing novels included gender and sexuality, raising questions as to whether these too existed as fixed identities in society. As such, the phenomenon of passing illustrates not just issues associated with the color line, but also social, economic, and gender structure within society. Human beings exist in a matrix, and as such, passing is not plausible if viewed solely as a process occurring within only one of these social constructs, but, rather, insists upon a viewpoint of an intersectional construct of social fluidity itself. This paper will re-theorize passing from a description solely concerning racial movements into a theory that explores passing as an intersectional understanding of gender, sexuality, race, and class. This paper will focus on contemporary cultural products (e.g., novels) of passing that challenge the traditional notion of passing and focus on an intersectional linkage between race, gender, sexuality, and class.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Mixed Signals: Examining Ethnic Affirmation as a Factor in the Discrimination-Depression Relationship with Multiracial and Monoracial Minority Adolescent Girls

Posted in Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-07-11 02:04Z by Steven

Mixed Signals: Examining Ethnic Affirmation as a Factor in the Discrimination-Depression Relationship with Multiracial and Monoracial Minority Adolescent Girls

University of Connecticut
2017-02-15
62 pages

Linda A. Oshin

A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

Multiracial adolescents are a growing segment of our population, but not much is known about their ethnic-racial identity development. The current study examined ethnic affirmation, a dimension of ethnic-racial identity, and race socialization and their influence in the relationship between perceived group discrimination and depressive symptoms among multiracial (n = 42) and monoracial minority Black (n = 29) and Latina (n = 95) adolescents (M=15.4 years). Results showed that there were no mean differences between multiracial and monoracial adolescents in ethnic affirmation, maternal race/ethnic socialization, or depressive symptoms. Multiracial adolescents reported significantly less perceived discrimination. There was also evidence that the indirect effect of perceived discrimination on depressive symptoms via ethnic affirmation differed between multiracial and monoracial adolescents. Implications of these results for treatment and research are discussed.

Read the entire thesis here.

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The Discourse of Konketsuji: Racialized Representations of Biracial Japanese Children in the 1950s

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Dissertations, History, Media Archive on 2017-07-11 00:23Z by Steven

The Discourse of Konketsuji: Racialized Representations of Biracial Japanese Children in the 1950s

University of Toronto
March 2017
79 pages

Zachery Anthony Nelson

A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, Department of East Asian Studies University of Toronto

This study examines textual representations of biracial Japanese children as featured in the print media of 1950s Japan. Attention is paid to the complex discursive process of racialization that produced knowledge of biracial Japanese under the label konketsuji or “mixed-blood child.” This “discourse of konketsuji” is deconstructed and analyzed towards the aim of illustrating how it functioned to disassociate the figure of the konketsuji from the category of “Japanese.” This study situates konketsuji and Japanese racial identity discourse into their proper historical contexts before transitioning to an analysis of primary source material. The discourse of konketsuji is revealed as having racialized konketsuji in a plural and complex manner. Racializing statements about konketsuji referenced difference in phenotype, social origin, political potential, birth circumstances, mentality, intellect, and cultural proclivities so as to position biracial children as a group outside a normative construction of Japanese raciality.

Read the entire thesis here.

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Embodying the Oppressed and the Oppressor: Critical Mixed Race Studies for Liberation and Social Justice Education

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Dissertations, Media Archive, Social Justice, Teaching Resources, United States on 2017-05-03 02:21Z by Steven

Embodying the Oppressed and the Oppressor: Critical Mixed Race Studies for Liberation and Social Justice Education

University of San Francisco
April 2017
71 pages

Gwendlyn C. Snider

A Thesis Presented to The Faculty of the School of Education International and Multicultural Education Department In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts in International and Multicultural Education

This study will focus on the educational and social experiences of mixed race Filipinx PEP (Pin@y Educational Partnerships) instructors in the San Francisco/Bay Area and the connection of these various, lived experiences to their teaching pedagogy and praxis in Ethnic Studies curriculum. The main purpose of this research is to create additional evidence for the need of critical mixed race studies and acknowledgement of mixed race students’ unique experiences to be valued and included in Ethnic Studies curriculum. In addition, the research will also serve as reaffirmation of not only the efficacy of Ethnic Studies curriculum but also the need for Ethnic Studies at a national and global level for every student regardless of race or cultural background. This research will also examine the ways in which knowing ourselves in connection to our personal histories, ethnicities, and traditions can not only create a stronger sense of identity but also provide the transformation needed for social justice education and activism. When an individual is able to self-actualize and evolve through education, decolonization, and identity formation, they are potentially in a space where they can utilize this knowledge through education and social justice initiatives to teach youth along with connecting and contributing to their local communities.

By conducting detailed qualitative interviews with mixed race PEP teachers, I aim to further reconcile what it means to be a mixed race Filipinx individual specifically teaching Filipinx history and culture in connection to the larger conceptualization of mixed race identity being integrated into Ethnic Studies curriculum. Through the various experiences of PEP instructors, what does it mean to be a mixed race PEP teacher, teaching Filipinx history while grappling with their own identify formation, and how does that play a role into how they teach? Because of the complex nature of mixed race individual experiences, research suggests that mixed race experiences are not yet fully captured by the existing critical theories because a majority of these theories cater to monoracial identities and realities. This study aims to disrupt and dispel stereotypical notions of race, recognize the lived experiences of mixed race individuals, and push forward Ethnic Studies curriculum for all students at all levels.

Read the entire thesis here.

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