James Fenimore Cooper and the Invention of the Passing Novel

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2012-03-16 22:15Z by Steven

James Fenimore Cooper and the Invention of the Passing Novel

American Literature
Volume 84, Number 1 (March 2012)
pages 1-29
DOI: 10.1215/00029831-1540932

Geoffrey Sanborn, Associate Professor of Literature
Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

Sanborn’s essay seeks to demonstrate that The Headsman, an overlooked 1833 novel by James Fenimore Cooper, is an allegory of racial passing. After showing that the dominant aim of this melodrama about a Swiss executioner’s family is to critique white American prejudice against African Americans, and that it does so by dramatizing the consequences of passing for three members of that family, Sanborn considers the implications of the fact that the end of the novel seems to reverse, or at least neutralize, that critique. Although Cooper is quite serious about the antiracist message of the novel, the involutions of its ending suggest that by impersonating characters whom he thinks of as light-skinned black people passing as white, Cooper seeks imaginative pleasures just as much as, if not more than, he advances political aims. It is worth considering, Sanborn concludes, whether the same may be said of other passing novels—whether the painful secret keeping of literary passers is, for writers and readers alike, more pleasurable than we have imagined.

Read or purchase the article here.

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This is Not a Biography: Pauline Johnson and the Process of National Identity

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Canada, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2012-03-16 22:07Z by Steven

This is Not a Biography: Pauline Johnson and the Process of National Identity

Canadian Poetry
Volume 48 (Spring/Summer 2001)

Shelley Hulan, Associate Professor of English
University of Waterloo, Canada

Carole Gerson and Veronica Strong-Boag. Paddling Her Own Canoe: the Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson–Tekahionwake. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2000. 331 pp.

Anyone familiar with the literary criticism on early twentieth-century Canada knows that the writer and performer Pauline Johnson has long been a source of fascination for students of the period. Because she occupied both Native and White worlds, and because her work contributes something to dialogues on race, women, performance, and imperial identity in the young Canada, she has been the subject of several studies, most of them biographical. As biographies must, these examinations of the poet and performer seek the identity of their subject by attempting to recreate the person. Biographies often serve as bellwethers for the interests of the times when they are written, and the continuing appearance of new ones about Johnson demonstrates that she still provokes many questions for contemporary scholars. Biographies also require their authors to make inferences, sometimes tenuous, about the subject’s life on the basis of documentary evidence, sometimes sparse. This practice is especially difficult in the case of someone like Johnson, many of whose private papers were burned by her sister Eliza shortly after her death. In Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson–Tekahionwake, Carole Gerson and Veronica Strong-Boag do not attempt another biography of Johnson but undertake, instead, an analysis of the texts that she wrote in the contexts of her own time. Freeing themselves in this way from the necessity of heavy speculation on a life that is inaccessible to readers, they devote the book to a reconstruction of the milieu in which Johnson lived and to a scrutiny of writings by and about her.

This is an ambitious and exhaustively researched study, both in its quest for new documentary clues to Johnson’s situation in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Canada and in its bibliographical search for Johnson’s many uncollected prose publications. Gerson and Strong-Boag believe that a thorough survey of Johnson’s writing is necessary in order to understand her place in the history of Canadian ideas. They forego nothing in Johnson’s life work, considering everything from her ode to Joseph Brant, which was read at the unveiling of the monument raised to the Native chief in 1886, to her early literary essays, her memoirs of her mother, and the occasional verse that she wrote for different towns on her performance circuit in later years. One of the fruits of their bibliographical research is a detailed chronology of her publications, a chronology that enables them to challenge the pattern of development into which other critics have persistently tried to place the poet-performer. Their inquiry into the expectations of the markets for which Johnson wrote suggests that writers like her addressed, at different times, two very different audiences. On one hand, there were the readers of Johnson’s poetry (which was largely unremunerated and found in anthologies and newspapers), and on the other there were the readers of her fiction and memoir-writing (which was paid writing for specific audiences with well-defined expectations). Framed by their research into her historical context and into her publication record, Gerson and Strong-Boag’s argument is that Johnson alternated between expressing popular Canadian imperialist sentiments and challenging prevailing preconceptions of Native peoples as vanishing, weak, and invisible.

Like Johnson’s biographers, Gerson and Strong-Boag view Johnson as a figure through whom many questions about turn-of-the-century Canadian culture may be asked, and they want to know how her many identities–as a woman, as a person of Mixed-race heritage, as a member of the middle class, and as a performer–made her such an enduring contributor “to the national imaginary” (11). The first chapter extensively reviews the various attitudes toward race at the end of the nineteenth century, dwelling particularly on ideas of racial hybridity in Canada. By examining a variety of texts published in Canada during Johnson’s lifetime, including anthropological studies of Native North Americans, newspaper clippings, and correspondence, Gerson and Strong-Boag argue that “in enforced encounters with English language, texts, and laws, Indians increasingly confronted attitudes that designated them and their traditions as subordinate” (27). In this way, they begin to outline the sense of conflict under which they subsequently argue that Johnson lived and worked. Johnson’s immediate family (she had a White mother and a Native father) captures the complicated situations of Native and Mixed-race persons who, like Johnson’s father, simultaneously held positions of authority on a Native reserve and worked closely with federal imperial authorities. The authors draw attention both to the mixed feelings of some Reserve members towards this Native elite and to the settler community’s equally noncommittal stance towards it, and they suggest that the two groups’ always-reluctant acceptance of Native leaders shaped Johnson’s early consciousness…

Read the entire review here.

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Posted in Europe, Media Archive, Videos on 2012-03-16 21:46Z by Steven


DEFA Film Library
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
85 minutes, b/w (English subtitles)
West Germany

Robert A. Stemmle, Director

A five-year-old girl suddenly appears on the doorstep of a well-to-do Hamburg family. The members of the multi-generational, white household react differently to the arrival of Toxi, who is black, the daughter of an African-American G.I. and a white German woman who has died. Eventually Toxi works her way into the hearts of this German family, but then her father returns, hoping to take Toxi back to America with him.

In West Germany at the time of the film’s release, there were nearly 100,000 children of Allied paternity born since WWII; of these, fewer than 5,000 were of colored paternity. Toxi was the first feature-length film to explore the subject of “black occupation children” in postwar Germany. It premiered in 1952 as part of a plan to raise public awareness, as these children began entering German schools. Known for his unique blend of social realism and melodrama, Robert A. Stemmle—one of in West Germany’s most popular directors—brought together an exceptionally renowned group of classic German actors with very diverse experiences of the Nazi era, including Paul Bildt, Johanna Hofer and Elisabeth Flickenschildt.

Special Features

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Race under Reconstruction in German Cinema: Robert Stemmle’s Toxi

Posted in Books, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2012-03-16 21:17Z by Steven

Race under Reconstruction in German Cinema: Robert Stemmle’s Toxi

University of Toronto Press
June 2011
288 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9781442640085

Angelica Fenner, Associate Professor of German and Cinema Studies
University of Toronto

Race Under Reconstruction in German Cinema investigates postwar racial formations via a pivotal West German film by one of the most popular and prolific directors of the era. The release of Robert Stemmle’s Toxi (1952) coincided with the enrolment in West German schools of the first five hundred Afro-German children fathered by African-American occupation soldiers. The didactic plot traces the ideological conflicts that arise among members of a patrician family when they encounter an Afro-German child seeking adoption, herein broaching issues of integration at a time when the American civil rights movement was gaining momentum and encountering violent resistance.

Perceptions of ‘Blackness’ in Toxi demonstrate continuities with those prevailing in Wilhelmine Germany, but also signal the influence of American social science discourse and tropes originating in icons of American popular culture, such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Birth of a Nation, and several Shirley Temple films. By applying a Cultural Studies approach to individual film sequences, publicity photos, and press reviews, Angelica Fenner relates West German discourses around race and integration to emerging economic and political anxieties, class antagonism, and the reinstatement of conventional gender roles.

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Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)

Posted in Biography, Books, Canada, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Women on 2012-03-16 20:27Z by Steven

Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)

University of Toronto Press
June 2000
354 pages
Paper ISBN: 9780802080240
Cloth ISBN: 9780802041623

Veronica Strong-Boag, Professor of Women’s History
University of British Columbia

Carole Gerson, Professor of English
Royal Society of Canada at Simon Fraser University

Winner of the Raymond Klibansky Prize, awarded by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Frequently dismissed as a ‘nature poet’ and an ‘Indian Princess’ E. Pauline Johnson (1861-1913) was not only an accomplished thinker and writer but a contentious and passionate personality who ‘talked back’ to Euro-Canadian culture. “Paddling Her Own Canoe” is the only major scholarly study that examines Johnson’s diverse roles as a First Nations champion, New Woman, serious writer and performer, and Canadian nationalist.

A Native advocate of part-Mohawk ancestry, Johnson was also an independent, self-supporting, unmarried woman during the period of first-wave feminism. Her versatile writings range from extraordinarily erotic poetry to polemical statements about the rights of First Nations. Based on thorough research into archival and published sources, this volume probes the meaning of Johnson’s energetic career and addresses the complexities of her social, racial, and cultural position. While situating Johnson in the context of turn-of-the-century Canada, the authors also use current feminist and post-colonial perspectives to reframe her contribution. Included is the first full chronology ever compiled of Johnson’s writing.

Pauline Johnson was an extraordinary woman who crossed the racial and gendered lines of her time, and thereby confounded Canadian society. This study reclaims both her writings and her larger significance.

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SOC 240 – People of Mixed Descent

Posted in Course Offerings, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-03-16 17:56Z by Steven

SOC 240 – People of Mixed Descent

University of San Francisco

This course examines the experiences of mixed race populations (mulattos, mestizos, mixed blood Native Americans, and Eurasians) in comparative perspective. Using these experiences, as well as sociological theories (assimilation, third culture, marginality, and multiculturalism), we study how race is a social and political construct, with tangible and material repercussions. Offered intermittently.


Virginia Bastardy Laws: A Burdensome Heritage

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Virginia on 2012-03-16 03:33Z by Steven

Virginia Bastardy Laws: A Burdensome Heritage

William and Mary Law Review
Volume 9, Issue 2 (1967)
Article 8
pages 402-429

Dominik Lasok, Professor of Law
University of Exeter

The theory that British settlers brought with them as much of the common Law of England as was appropriate to their circumstances in the New World, propounded by judges’ and scholars of the past, rings true because it is a general statement and flexible; and is hardly concerned with the quantum of the law actually adopted. Indeed no detailed evaluation has been attempted. It seems that such an evaluation would show that in some areas the connection between the colonies and the mother country should be a source of pride for both countries, but in others only an embarrassing and burdensome heritage. Virginia bastardy laws seem to fall into the latter category.

A comparative study of the law of bastardy of England and Virginia demonstrates a curious affinity at the source and throughout the evolution of the two systems. In some respects the law of Virginia outpaced that of the mother country, yet when English law took a turn towards a modern outlook during the fourth quarter of the last century the law of Virginia not only stopped in its tracks but, one might say, lapsed into the primitiveness of the common law doctrine…

…Marriage and Children’s Status

From the very start the inadequacy of the English law of marriage became manifest as it was necessary, as early as 1628, to make a proclamation forbidding marriage “without license, or asking in church.” In contrast the English, as we have noted earlier, muddled through the uncertainty of marriage laws and the mischief of clandestine marriage until the passing of Lord Hardwicke’s Act of 1753. Another mischief, that of the clandestine marriage of infants, which lingered in England well into the 20th century was soon brought to an end by the General Assembly, which provided that “… . minors under 21 cannot be married without consent of their parents or guardians given personally or by sufficient testimony. …”

Official registration of births, deaths and marriages was introduced in England as late as 1836. Prior to that date parish registers were the only reliable source of information on human pedigree, but the system was entirely voluntary. Official registration was introduced in Virginia by the General Assembly of 1631-1632. The duty of keeping appropriate registers was imposed upon the ministers of the Church and church wardens and backed by a penal sanction.

Having put the formalities of marriage on a sound legal basis the early Virginians laid foundations for a clearly definable status of the offspring. Thus where man and woman were united in matrimony in a public and solemn ceremony preceded by license or publication of banns, such ceremony being duly recorded, there was no reservation about the legal status of children born to such a woman. Subsequent invalidity of the marriage did not upset the status of children, but quite clearly offspring of concubinage could not benefit as the doctrine of common law marriage was purposely repudiated. Correspondingly children of “unmarried” mothers were illegitimate. Rebuttal of the presumption of legitimacy was not unknown as the records of 1640 show an instance of bastardizing a child born to a married woman by a simple device of a confession made under oath by the mother to a midwife. The child was, by virtue of the confession, adjudged to be of “another man.”…

Morality by the Act of the Assembly

The law was clearly set against extra marital relations. The early acts were very much concerned with the moral welfare of the individual. A church was instituted, whose ministers were to conform to the canons of the Church of England, whilst the faithful were liable to punishment for being absent from divine service.The orthodoxy of the Church of England and the uniformity of worship throughout the colony was later secured by law which ordered the ministers to preach the doctrine of the Church of England, the deportation of “popish priests,”  disablement of “popish recusants” from holding any offices ” and the suppression of Quakers.

The duty of bringing up children in Christian religion (of the recognized brand) was first imposed upon guardians of orphans, and later extended to “masters of families,”  who incurred penalties for failing to send their children “to be instructed and catechised” by the minister of the established church.

Where the preaching and positive enactments bidding the individual to lead a chaste and God-fearing life failed the law reacted with anger and severity. Stern measures, adopted from England, were to combat crime and repress adultery and fornication. Church wardens were charged with the presentment of such offenses not only from their own knowledge but also from information of others. To make sure that they did their duty a penalty was provided against the defaulter.

Clearly such measures were intended to strengthen the lawful family and discourage extra-marital commerce. But even so the stern arm of the law could not control the flesh absolutely. The minutes of the Judicial Proceedings of the Governor and Council of Virginia, dated September 17, 1630, reveal that one Hugh Davis was ordered to be “soundly whipped” before an assembly of Negroes and others for “abusing himself to the dishonor of God and shame of Christians by defiling his body in lying with a negro, which fault he is to acknowledge next Sabbath Day … .” ” No doubt the punishment and its execution was devised to purge and deter but the record reveals a deeper motive to be consummated in the doctrine and law against miscegenation.

Hugh Davis having expiated his crime seems to have incurred no liability to his partner. However, a certain Edward Grymes, “because he lay with Alice West,” was ordered to give security “not to marry any woman till further order from the Governor and Council.” Presumably Alice was a white woman as there is no mention of exemplary flogging and the lady’s name is revealed. Maybe incapacity to “marry any woman” (or should it be any other woman?) until further order imposed upon Grymes was a punishment of a kind, in which case Alice got off rather lightly; maybe it was a preventive measure to ensure that Alice was not left with a bastard child and without a prospect of marrying the child’s father. The absence of further record may perhaps be taken to mean a happy ending for all concerned.

Not so happy was the lot of an unnamed Negro woman who was ordered to be whipped, while her partner in crime, a certain Robert Sweet, was ordered to “… . do penance in Church according to laws of England for getting a negro woman with child …. ,, The reference to English law is obscure, to say the least, but here repression and racial discrimination can be seen at work in a sinister partnership…

…Marriage and the Status of Children

As in the previous period the formal validity of marriage took a substantial share of the legislation, but in addition the essential conditions of a valid marriage were also settled. Following the established principle marriage could be celebrated only by ministers of the recognized church “according to English law,” but unlike in England, the solemnities had to be preceded by a license issued from the civil authority or banns read in church. The sanction for non-compliance was severe. The officiating minister was liable to punishment, the pretended marriage was null and void, children of such a union were visited with the stigma of illegitimacy, and the parties themselves were liable to prosecution for fornication. Certificates for marriage of persons under age were valid only if issued by the clerk of the county where the parents or guardians were resident and the clerk could issue such certificates only with the personal consent of parents or guardians…

…Legislation concerned with the essential validity of marriage began characteristically with an “Act for suppressing outlying slaves.”  The measure was penal and repressive as the Act provided, inter alia, that “white man or woman, bond or free, intermarrying with a Negro, mulatto or Indian is to be banished for ever.” The foundation of the antimiscegenation law being laid down earlier the Act did not expressly pronounce upon the validity of such marriages, but there is no doubt that the sanction of nullity was written in the peremptory words of the statute…

…Servants, Bastards and the Poor

It is significant that a direct reference to illegitimate children should be found in the Act 0 dealing with the suppression of fornication among servants, and the poor law system. Thus the compass of the legislation tends to reflect the character of bastardy law as being concerned not so much with the legal status of the illegitimate child and his relations with his parents, but with bastardy as a social problem confined to servants and the poor.

During the 1661-621 session, the General Assembly decreed, in an Act against fornication among servants, that the child is bond or free according to the status of his mother; and that if there is a child as a result of fornication the mother must serve two years after her indenture or pay 2,000 lbs. of tobacco to her master in addition to a fine or physical punishment (whipping) for the offense. The reputed father had to put in a security to keep the child and so indemnify the parish, which was responsible for the upkeep of poor persons. Inadvertently the Assembly played into the hands of the unscrupulous masters who could thus derive a benefit of extra 2 years of service out of fornication with their female servants. This the Assembly sought to remedy a year later by providing that such a woman should be sold by the churchwardens of the parish where she lived at the time she gave birth to her child for two years after the expiration of her indenture, and that the money so raised should be employed for the benefit of the parish. The possibility of her being released must have been considered by the Assembly as they thought that such a provision would induce such women “… to lay all their bastards to their masters. . . .”  So, for the time being, the severity of the law focused on the mother and the child.

It was considered that the father’s punishment consisted in the keeping of the child which meant in practice that he had to defray the expenses incurred by the parish. However, it was not always possible to exact payment from the putative father especially if he was a servant. To meet this contingency the Act provided that the parish should keep the child during the father’s service, and that he would defray the expenses after the expiration of his indenture.”

The selling of the servant woman by the churchwardens must have proved rather cumbersome as in 1696 the law was brought back to the original. The penalty was halved as the woman was required to put in another year of service after the expiration of her indenture or pay 1,000 lbs. of tobacco to her master or mistress in addition to her punishment for fornication. The putative father was, as heretofore, required to provide a security “to keep the parish harmless.”

This law was substantially re-enacted in 1705 in an Act concerning servants and the rights and duties of masters. Furthermore it was provided that if the reputed father was free he had to give security to the churchwardens to maintain the child. It was enacted, for the first time, that he may be compelled to do so by order of the county court upon the complaint of churchwardens. By the same Act the county courts were invested with the jurisdiction to try “…. petty offences including fornication, bastardy and the like … .” Thus the English statute of Elizabeth I became reincarnated in the colony.

The previous law with regard to the reputed father being a servant was reinforced by like provision enabling the court to enforce its order. The Assembly turned also to the question of female servants getting illegitimate children by their masters. The law once more turned a somersault as it reverted to a formula once used and discarded, that is, that the mother would be sold for one year after the expiration of her indenture or by order of the court made to pay 1,000 lbs. of tobacco and the said fine or whatever she should be sold for would then be turned to the use of the parish. The master, if the father of the child, would as previously suffer punishment for fornication and pay for the upkeep of the child. In addition the indenture may be terminated by court order.

A stiffer penalty was provided for a woman servant (or a free woman) having an illegitimate child by a Negro or mulatto:

. . . And if any woman servant shall have a bastard child by a negro or mulatto, over and above the years service due to her master or owner, she shall immediately upon the expiration of her time to her then present master or owner, pay down to the churchwardens … 15 pounds current money in Virginia, or be by them sold for 5 years to the use of the aforesaid. And if a free Christian white woman shall have such bastard child by a negro or mulatto, for every such offence, she shall within one month after her delivery of such bastard child, pay to the churchwardens for the time being, for the use of the said parish 15 pounds current money of Virginia, or be by them sold for 5 years to the use of the aforesaid ….

The unfortunate child was to be punished too as the churchwardens were empowered to bind him “… to be a servant until he shall be of thirty-one years of age.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Making sense of ‘mixture’: states and the classification of ‘mixed’ people

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2012-03-16 03:26Z by Steven

Making sense of ‘mixture’: states and the classification of ‘mixed’ people

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Avaiable online: 2012-02-01
9 pages
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2012.648650

Miri Song, Professor of Sociology
University of Kent, United Kingdom

Diversity and the growth of ‘mixed’ people

In many Western multi-ethnic societies, and increasingly in non-Western societies, ‘super-diversity’ has emerged as a major demographic trend in various metropolitan centres (Vertovec 2007). Contemporary Britain is marked by both super-diversity in urban areas and ‘old’ racial and ethnic cleavages which reflect continuing social divides in many parts of the country. As a result, there is considerable flux in the meanings and significance of race and racial difference across a variety of contexts. Such growing diversity is due to continue, based upon continuing flows of migration, increased interracial and interethnic partnering, and the growth of ‘mixed’ individuals. While I focus on the case of Britain, much of this editorial, I would argue, will be of relevance to what many other multi-ethnic societies will encounter in the coming years.

Notably. while only 2 per cent of marriages are ‘inlerethnic’ in Britain (Office for National Statistics 2005), such marriages are expected to grow rapidly. Black-white partnering is the most common in Britain the direct opposite of the US. where black/white partnering is least common. In a recent analysis of the Labour Force Survey, nearly half of black Caribbean men in a partnership were partnered (married or cohabiting) with someone of a different ethnic group (and about one third of black Caribbean women), while 39 per cent of Chinese women in partnerships had a partner from a different ethnic group (Platt 2009). There are now more children in Britain (under age 5) with one black and one white parent than children with two black parents (Owen 2007)…

Read or purchase the article here.

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The Founder Effect and Deleterious Genes

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2012-03-16 02:35Z by Steven

The Founder Effect and Deleterious Genes

American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 30, Issue 1 (January 1969)
pages 55-60
DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.1330300107

Frank B. Livingstone (1928-2005), Professor Emeritus of Biological Anthropology
University of Michigan

During the rapid growth of a population from a few founders, a single deleterious gene in a founder can attain an appreciable frequency in later generations. A computer simulation, which has the population double itself in early generations, indicates a lethal could attain a frequency of 0.1. Since deleterious recessive genes are eliminated from large populations at a very slow rate, variations in their frequencies in present major human populations may be due to the founder effect during earlier rapid expansion.

Many distinctive human populations are characterized by the presence of one or more lethal or severely deleterious genes in frequencies which would be defined as polymorphic according to Ford’s (’40) famous definition. The particular genetic disorder, however, varies. The Old Order Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania have a gene frequency of 0.07 for the recessive Ellis-van Creveld syndrome, while the Amish as a whole have a frequency of about 0.05 of the recessive cartilage-hair hypoplasia syndrome ( McKusick et al., ’64). Many of the tri-racial isolates of Eastern United States also have a high frequency of a deleterious gene (Witkop et al., ’66). Although such populations are frequently defined by religious or ethnic criteria, there are others not so defined. Several island populations in the Åland archipelago have a gene frequency of greater than 0.1 for von Willebrand’s disease (Eriksson, ’61), and the Boer population of South Africa and some populations of Northern Sweden have frequencies of porphyria much greater than those of other populations (Dean, ’63; Waldenstrom and Haeger-Aronsen, ’67). However, these conditions are dominant and do not have the very severe effects of other hereditary disorders found in high frequencies. On the other hand the population of the Chicoutimi District of Quebec has recently been found to have a gene frequency of about 0.02 for tyrosinemia, which is a lethal recessive (Laberge and Dallaire, ’67).

In most of these cases the population in question has undergone a rapid increase in recent years, and the question arises as to whether this rapid expansion and the original small size of the isolate could account for the high frequency of the deleterious gene. Such an explanation by the founder effect seems obviously to apply to most of the cases cited above, but the founder effect may well be a more general explanation of human gene frequency differences. It is now becoming apparent that the major populations of mankind vary significantly in their frequencies of deleterious genes and that many large populations such as Eastern European Jews have high frequencies of deleterious genes which are found in low frequencies in other populations McKusick, ’66). There have been many attempts to determine how such genes could be polymorphic, for example, Anderson et al. (’67) and Knudson et al. (’67) have discussed cystic fibrosis and Myrianthopoulos and Aronson (’66), Tay-Sachs disease. The purpose of this paper is to attempt to determine the extent to which the founder effect can cause high frequencies of deleterious genes with various models of population expansion.

The occurrence which initiated this research is the gene for sickle cell hemoglobin in the Brandywine isolate of Southeast Maryland. At present the sickle cell gene frequency in this isolate is about 0.1 (Rucknagel, ’64). The high frequencies of this gene in many parts of Africa, India, and the Middle East are now well-accepted as being due to a relative resistance of the sickle cell heterozygote to falciparum malaria. The high frequency in the Brandywine isolate may have a similar explanation, but the surrounding Negro population does not have such a high frequency. And although the endemicity of falciparum malaria in Southeast Maryland in the last century is not known in any detail, it would not appear to have been great enough to explain the high sickle cell frequency in the Brandywine isolate. The isolate also has many other deleterious genes in high frequency (Witkop et al., ’66).

The Brandywine isolate seems to have had its beginning in the early Eighteenth Century when laws were passed to prohibit co-habitation and marriage among races, which prior to then were presumably frequent or at least known. Up to 1720 there were several prosecutions under these laws of individuals with surnames currently present in the isolate (Harte, ’63). Harte (’63) has maintained that the Brandywine isolate is derived from these illegal unions, and Witkop et al. (‘66) show that the most common surname came from such a union. In 1790 the first United States Census recorded 190 persons with the group’s surnames as “other free people,” and since then over 90% of the recorded marriages have been endogamous or between individuals with surnames within the group (Harte, ’59). According to Harte (’59) there are six “core” surnames which have been associated with the group since its founding and comprise 66% of the population and another ten surnames which entered the group after the Civil War, but Witkop et al. (‘66) list seven core surnames and eight marginal ones. The total population of the isolate is now estimated to be 5,128 (Witkop et al., ’66), and the statistics do indicate rapid, if erratic, growth (Gilbert, ’45; Harte, ’63)…

Read the entire article here

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Tough lessons in CTC’s play about community destruction

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, History, Media Archive, United States on 2012-03-16 01:13Z by Steven

Tough lessons in CTC’s play about community destruction

MPR News
Minnesota Public Radio

Nikki Tundel, Reporter

St. Paul, Minn. — A century-old story of discrimination is the basis for a world premiere production opening Friday in Minneapolis.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy” is the Children’s Theatre Company’s adaption of the real-life events of a forbidden friendship during the social segregation of 1912.

It’s a dark tale. But it’s one the theater company believes should be shared – especially with school children.

Actress Traci Allen was a bit wary when she first heard of Minnesota’s Children’s Theatre Company.

“I’m thinking of puppets and, ‘Hello, boys and girls,'” Allen pantomimed before a recent rehearsal.

Her preconceived notion didn’t last long. Today, she is the lead in the CTC’s “Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy.” The children’s play wrestles with various adult themes, from economic turmoil to mortality.

Twenty-six-year-old Allen plays 13-year-old Lizzie. When afternoon rehearsal begins, she’s mourning the death of her grandfather in a song.

The story chronicles the forbidden friendship between Lizzie, who is black, and Turner Buckminster, who is white. It highlights the challenges they face in socially segregated 1912.

“Is there transition music there?” asks CTC artist director Peter Brosius, who directs the play.

The production is based on a Newbery Award-winning book [by Gary D. Schmidt], which in turn is based on the real-life history of Phippsburg, Maine. When the small coastal town was hit by an economic downtown, community leaders looked to the nearby island of Malaga to solve their financial woes.

“The idea,” said Brosius, “Was that the population that was on Malaga, which was a black and mixed-race population, should be removed from that island and that both the coastline and Malaga be turned into a resort. What happened, in fact, was the island was evacuated, people’s homes were moved.”…

Read the entire article and listen to the audio here.

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