Walking A Tightrope: Towards a Social History of the Coloured People of Zimbabwe

Posted in Africa, Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2009-11-13 23:02Z by Steven

Walking A Tightrope: Towards a Social History of the Coloured People of Zimbabwe

Africa World Press
May 2004
300 pages
SKU: 1592212648
ISBN: 1592212648

James Muzondidya, Senior Research Specialist of Democracy and Governance
Human Sciences Research Council

This book examines the history of the Coloured or “mixed race” community of Zimbabwe, a group that has not only been marginalized in most general political and academic discourses but whose history has also been subject to popular misconceptions. The book focuses mainly on the process of identity formation among members of the community and the development of political ideologies and strategies within the same community. Challenging conventional wisdom on race and ethnic identities, this book argues that understanding the process of identity formation among members of the Coloured community requires transcending two approaches: essentialism, based on the notion that Coloured identity is a biologically determined, inherent quality derived from miscegenation, and constructivism, which projects Coloured identity and any other identities of subject groups as simply inventions of the colonial state in which the subjects themselves played no active part in the formational processes.

While this book focuses on the Coloured community, its overall observations have a broader significance than the group it focuses on. Through its critical analysis of political developments within the Coloured community and detailed examination of the various influences in the mobilization of Coloureds in the national protest movement, the book not only manages to highlight problems encountered in building a national consciousness among the various interest groups in colonial societies, but also to unravel the contradictions in African nationalism. Focusing specifically on the relationship between African nationalism and Coloured identity, the book also explores in detail the ambiguities of both Coloured social identities and African nationalist ideologies and some of the ideological and strategic shortcomings of Africa’s past and present nationalist movements movements, the most apparent being the lack of tolerance or a proper discussion of the problems of race and cultural diversity.

When viewed in the broad perspective of studies which focus on identities in general, this work is one of the few that clearly tries to demonstrate how social identities are produced and reproduced in the dialectic of internal and external definition while paying adequate attention to the role played by the people themselves in the identity formation process. Yet, in emphasizing self-identification, the book does not seek to wholly diminish the importance of the state in the whole process.

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A Beautiful Lie: Exploring Rhinelander v. Rhinelander as a Formative Lesson on Race, Marriage, Identity, and Family

Posted in Family/Parenting, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2009-11-13 22:44Z by Steven

A Beautiful Lie: Exploring Rhinelander v. Rhinelander as a Formative Lesson on Race, Marriage, Identity, and Family

California Law Review
Volume 95, Issue 6 (2007)
pages 2393-2458

Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Professor of Law and Charles M. and Marion J. Kierscht Scholar
University of Iowa College of Law

During the mid-1920s, the story of the courtship, marriage, and separation of Alice Beatrice Jones and Leonard Kip Rhinelander astounded the American public, especially the citizens of New York and black Americans across the country.  Alice, a chambermaid and the racially mixed daughter of English immigrants who had worked as servants on a large estate in Bradford, England, had committed the social faux pas of falling in love with and marrying Leonard Kip Rhinelander, the son of a white multi-millionaire who descended from the French Huguenots.  Or rather, as certain arguments from Leonard’s trial attorney Isaac Mills and later the jury’s verdict would together suggest, Leonard had committed a social offense by “knowingly” loving and marrying Alice, a colored woman.

Scandal arose about the marriage of Alice and Leonard when a story with the title “Rhinelanders’ Son Marries Daughter of a Colored Man” ran in the Standard Star of New Rochelle on November 13, 1924.  Two weeks later, on November 26, 1924, Leonard filed for an annulment of his marriage to Alice. In his Complaint, Leonard alleged that Alice had misrepresented her race to him by improperly leading him to believe that she was white, “not colored,” before their nuptials. New York law did not ban interracial marriages between Blacks and Whites at the time; thus, Alice and Leonard’s marriage was not automatically void.  In the state of New York, the law did not identify interracial marriages as so odious to public policy that they were legally impossible; however, fraud as to a spouse’s race before marriage signaled that there had been no meeting of the minds between husband and wife. Given the importance of racial classifications and their corresponding status in society, New York courts readily accepted knowledge about a spouse’s race to be a factor so crucial to the understanding of the marital contract that fraud about it rendered the marriage voidable and thus eligible to be annulled from its start.  In other words, the primary basis for recognizing knowledge of a spouse’s race as a material fact that went to the essence of marriage, a requirement for annulling voidable marriages based on fraud after consummation, was racial prejudice and social opprobrium of intermixing. Additionally, although New York had not followed many southern states in adopting the “one drop rule,” many Whites in New York agreed that any taint of colored blood removed a person from the class of white citizens. In essence, because of long-held beliefs about racial genetics and community expectations about social barriers of race in 1920s New York, knowledge of a spouse’s race was considered to be as central to marriage as the ability to consummate it.  Thus, no question was ever raised about whether Leonard’s alleged basis for annulment, racial fraud, could legitimately serve as a reason for legally declaring his marriage to Alice to be void…

Read the entire article here.

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The Racial Contract

Posted in Books, History, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, Social Science on 2009-11-13 22:25Z by Steven

The Racial Contract

Cornell University Press
1997
192 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8014-8463-6
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8014-3454-9

Charles W. Mills, John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy
Northwestern University

Winner of the Myers Outstanding Book Award, given by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America

The Racial Contract puts classic Western social contract theory, deadpan, to extraordinary radical use. With a sweeping look at the European expansionism and racism of the last five hundred years, Charles W. Mills demonstrates how this peculiar and unacknowledged “contract” has shaped a system of global European domination: how it brings into existence “whites” and “non-whites,” full persons and sub-persons, how it influences white moral theory and moral psychology; and how this system is imposed on non-whites through ideological conditioning and violence. The Racial Contract argues that the society we live in is a continuing white supremacist state.

Holding up a mirror to mainstream philosophy, this provocative book explains the evolving outline of the racial contract from the time of the New World conquest and subsequent colonialism to the written slavery contract, to the “separate but equal” system of segregation in the twentieth-century United States. According to Mills, the contract has provided the theoretical architecture justifying an entire history of European atrocity against non-whites, from David Hume’s and Immanuel Kant’s claims that blacks had inferior cognitive power, to the Holocaust, to the kind of imperialism in Asia that was demonstrated by the Vietnam War.

Mills suggests that the ghettoization of philosophical work on race is no accident. This work challenges the assumption that mainstream theory is itself raceless. Just as feminist theory has revealed orthodox political philosophy’s invisible white male bias, Mills’s explication of the racial contract exposes its racial underpinnings.

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Ape to Apollo: Aesthetics and the Idea of Race in the 18th Century

Posted in Arts, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2009-11-13 19:14Z by Steven

Ape to Apollo: Aesthetics and the Idea of Race in the 18th Century

Cornell University Press
2002
264 pages
6 x 9, 12 color illustrations, 65 halftones
ISBN: 978-0-8014-4085-4

David Bindman, Emeritus Professor of the History of Art
University College London

Ape to Apollo is the first book to follow the development in the eighteenth century of the idea of race as it shaped and was shaped by the idea of aesthetics. Twelve full-color illustrations and sixty-five black-and-white illustrations from publications and artists of the day allow the reader to see eighteenth-century concepts of race translated into images. Human “varieties” are marked in such illustrations by exaggerated differences, with emphases on variations from the European ideal and on the characteristics that allegedly divided the races.

In surveying the idea of human variety before “race” was introduced by Linneaus as a scientific category, David Bindman considers the work of many German and British thinkers, including J. F. Blumenbach, Georg and Johann Reinhold Forster, and Immanuel Kant, as well as Georges Louis Leclerc Buffon and Pieter Camper.

Bindman believes that such representations, and the theories that supported them, helped give rise to the racism of the modern era. He writes, “It may be objected that some features of modern racism predate the Enlightenment, and already existed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; certainly there was deep prejudice, but that, I would argue, is not the same as racism, which must have as a foundation a theory of race to justify the exercise of prejudice.”

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Creole Crossings: Domestic Fiction and the Reform of Colonial Slavery

Posted in Books, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2009-11-13 04:47Z by Steven

Creole Crossings: Domestic Fiction and the Reform of Colonial Slavery

Cornell University Press
2005
254 pages, 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-8014-4384-8 

Carolyn Vellenga Berman
Department of Humanities
The New School, New York

The character of the Creole woman—the descendant of settlers or slaves brought up on the colonial frontier—is a familiar one in nineteenth-century French, British, and American literature. In Creole Crossings, Carolyn Vellenga Berman examines the use of this recurring figure in such canonical novels as Jane Eyre, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Indiana, as well as in the antislavery discourse of the period. “Creole” in its etymological sense means “brought up domestically,” and Berman shows how the campaign to reform slavery in the colonies converged with literary depictions of family life.

Illuminating a literary genealogy that crosses political, familial, and linguistic lines, Creole Crossings reveals how racial, sexual, and moral boundaries continually shifted as the century’s writers reflected on the realities of slavery, empire, and the home front. Berman offers compelling readings of the “domestic fiction” of Honoré de Balzac, Charlotte Brontë, Maria Edgeworth, Harriet Jacobs, George Sand, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and others, alongside travel narratives, parliamentary reports, medical texts, journalism, and encyclopedias. Focusing on a neglected social classification in both fiction and nonfiction, Creole Crossings establishes the crucial importance of the Creole character as a marker of sexual norms and national belonging.

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Suspect Relations: Sex, Race, and Resistance in Colonial North Carolina

Posted in Books, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2009-11-13 03:44Z by Steven

Suspect Relations: Sex, Race, and Resistance in Colonial North Carolina

Cornell University Press
2001
288 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4, 2 maps, 13 halftones, 1 line drawing
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8014-8679-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8014-3822-6 

Kirsten Fischer, Associate Professor of History
University of Minnesota

Over the course of the eighteenth century, race came to seem as corporeal as sex. Kirsten Fischer has mined unpublished court records and travel literature from colonial North Carolina to reveal how early notions of racial difference were shaped by illicit sexual relationships and the sanctions imposed on those who conducted them. Fischer shows how the personal–and yet often very public–sexual lives of Native American, African American, and European American women and men contributed to the new racial order in this developing slave society.

Liaisons between European men and native women, among white and black servants, and between servants and masters, as well as sexual slander among whites and acts of sexualized violence against slaves, were debated, denied, and recorded in the courtrooms of colonial North Carolina. Indentured servants, slaves, Cherokee and Catawba women, and other members of less privileged groups sometimes resisted colonial norms, making sexual choices that irritated neighbors, juries, and magistrates and resulted in legal penalties and other acts of retribution. The sexual practices of ordinary people vividly bring to light the little-known but significant ways in which notions of racial difference were alternately contested and affirmed before the American Revolution.

Fischer makes an innovative contribution to the history of race, class, and gender in early America by uncovering a detailed record of illicit sexual exchanges in colonial North Carolina and showing how acts of resistance to sexual rules complicated ideas about inherent racial difference.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Changing Conceptions of Race
1. Disorderly Women and the Struggle for Authority
2. Cross-Cultural Sex in Native North Carolina
3. The Sexual Regulation of Servant Women and Subcultures of Resistance
4. White Reputations “Blacken’d & Made Loose”
5. Sexualized Violence and the Embodiment of Race
Epilogue: Dangerous Liaisons
Notes
Index

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Chameleon’s Fate: Transnational Mixed-Race Vietnamese Identities

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2009-11-13 03:26Z by Steven

Chameleon’s Fate: Transnational Mixed-Race Vietnamese Identities

Amerasia Journal
University of Califonia, Los Angeles Asian American Studies Center Press
ISSN: 0044-7471
2005
Issue Volume 31, Number 2
Pages 51-62

Fiona I. B. NgĂ´, Assistant Professor, Asian American Studies & Gender and Women’s Studies
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

The chameleon’s fate is an apt metaphor for the lives of mixed-race Vietnamese children, many of whom were born of these kind of brutal cultural contact. In the aftermath of the U.S. war in Southeast Asia, a number of mixed-race children told the story of the war. Though the story of the war is physically signified by these individuals, the meanings produced through mixed-race identity are multiple and unfixed. The fluidity of meaning comes partially through shifting historical and geographical contextualizations of transnational mixed-race identities.

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