Colonial Peru, the Caste System, and the “Purity” of Blood

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2012-03-27 19:34Z by Steven

Colonial Peru, the Caste System, and the “Purity” of Blood

South Americana: The History and Culture of the World’s Most Exotic Continent

David Gaughran

It was the Spaniards who gave the world the notion that an aristocrat’s blood is not red but blue. The Spanish nobility started taking shape around the ninth century in classic military fashion, occupying land as warriors on horseback. They were to continue the process for more than five hundred years, clawing back sections of the peninsula from its Moorish occupiers, and a nobleman demonstrated his pedigree by holding up his sword arm to display the filigree of blue-blooded veins beneath his pale skin—proof that his birth had not been contaminated by the dark-skinned enemy—Robert Lacey, Aristocrats
The historical Spanish obsession with the purity of blood evolved into an elaborate caste system which reached its apogee with the colonization of South America and the subsequent intermingling of settlers with both South American Indians and imported African slaves, all of whose mixed offspring needed a separate classification, of course.
It was an intricate system—designed to pit sections of society against each other and play on the subsequent fear of overthrow by the lower classes, so that Spain could continue to exert its top-down control. But it also signified the relative social importance of the caste members, usually in a pejorative sense, meaning that only certain rights, occupations, and institutions were open to them.
If you had been born in Spain, then you automatically qualified as a member of the elite. If you had been born in South America, but your bloodline was “pure” then you were accorded privileged status, but of the second order, and the most influential posts were out of reach. However, if your ancestors had the temerity to dally with the Indians or blacks, then a complicated algorithm was brought to bear….

…Caste membership didn’t simply determine what occupation you could hold, but also whether you could bear arms, attend university, or even the clothes you were allowed wear…

Read the entire article here.

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The Prophetic Voice and the Face of the Other in Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” Address, March 18, 2008

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, United States on 2012-03-27 16:34Z by Steven

The Prophetic Voice and the Face of the Other in Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” Address, March 18, 2008

Rhetoric & Public Affairs
Volume 12, Number 2, Summer 2009
pp. 167-194
DOI: 10.1353/rap.0.0101

David A. Frank, Professor of Rhetoric
Robert D. Clark Honors College
University of Oregon

Barack Obama’s address of March 18, 2008, sought to quell the controversy sparked by YouTube clips of his pastor, Jeremiah Wright of the Trinity United Church of Christ, condemning values and actions of the United States government. In this address, Obama crosses over the color line with a rhetorical strategy designed to preserve his viability as a presidential candidate and in so doing, delivered a rhetorical masterpiece that advances the cause of racial dialogue and rapprochement. Because of his mixed racial heritage, he could bring perceptions and misperceptions in black and white “hush harbors” into the light of critical reason. The address succeeds, I argue, because Obama sounds the prophetic voice of Africentric theology that merges the Jewish and Christian faith traditions with African American experience, assumes theological consilience (that different religious traditions share a commitment to caring for others), and enacts the rhetorical counterpart to Levinas’s philosophy featuring the “face of the other.”

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The Race of a More Perfect Union: James Baldwin, Segregated Memory and the Presidential Race

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Literary/Artistic Criticism, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-03-27 04:01Z by Steven

The Race of a More Perfect Union: James Baldwin, Segregated Memory and the Presidential Race

Theory & Event
Volume 15, Issue 1 (March 2012)
DOI: 10.1353/tae.2012.0010

P.J. Brendese, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science
Haverford College

The 2008 U.S. presidential race dramatized the connection between America’s segregated memory and its segregated polity. This essay makes the case that James Baldwin offers valuable insight into the legacy of segregated memory in contemporary racial politics in general, and the presidential race in particular. To do so, I provide a brief historical overview of segregated memory since the Civil War, and offer an analysis of Baldwin’s account of the conscious and unconscious dimensions of memory and the impact of myth-histories on African Americans and whites. This is followed by an exposition of Baldwin’s approach to de-segregating memory, as well as the tensions and correspondences between his contributions to addressing mnemonic divides and those of Barack Obama in his “More Perfect Union” speech on race. The essay closes by outlining the political relevance of the theoretical tensions between Baldwin and Obama in an era alleged to have been made “post-racial” by the first black president.

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The Obama Effect: Multidisciplinary Renderings of the 2008 Campaign

Posted in Anthologies, Barack Obama, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-03-27 04:00Z by Steven

The Obama Effect: Multidisciplinary Renderings of the 2008 Campaign

SUNY Press
September 2010
300 pages
Hardcover ISBN10: 1-4384-3659-9; ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3659-3
eBook SBN10: 1-4384-3661-0; ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3661-6

Edited by:

Heather E. Harris, Associate Professor of Business Communication
Stevenson University, Stevenson, Maryland

Kimberly R. Moffitt, Assistant Professor of American Studies
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Catherine R. Squires, John and Elizabeth Bates Cowles Professor of Journalism, Diversity, and Equality
University of Minnesota

Timely, multidisciplinary analysis of Obama’s presidential campaign, its context, and its impact.

November 4, 2008 ushered in a historic moment: Illinois Senator Barack Obama was elected the forty-fourth President of the United States of America. In The Obama Effect, editors Heather E. Harris, Kimberly R. Moffitt, and Catherine R. Squires bring together works that place Barack Obama’s candidacy and victory in the context of the American experience with race and the media. Following Obama’s victory, optimists claimed that the campaign signaled the arrival of an era of postracism and postfeminism in the United States. This collection of essays, all presented at a national conference to discuss the meaning and impact of the nomination of the first presidential candidate of African descent, remind the reader that reaching a point in U.S. history where a biracial man could be deemed “electable” is part of a still-ongoing struggle. It resists the temptation to dismiss the uncertainty, hope, and fear that characterized the events and discourse of the two-year primary and general election cycle and brings together multidisciplinary approaches to assessing “the Obama effect” on public discourse and participation. This volume provides readers with a means for recalling and mapping out the enduring issues that erupted during the campaign—issues that will continue to shape how our society views itself and President Obama in the coming years.

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(W)rites of passing: The performance of identity in fiction and personal narratives

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2012-03-27 02:00Z by Steven

(W)rites of passing: The performance of identity in fiction and personal narratives

University of Massachusetts, Amherst
February 2006
108 pages
Publication Number: AAT 3212756
ISBN: 9780542630743

Tracy L. Vaughn

Submitted to the Graduate School of the University of Massachusetts Amherst in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY February 2006 Department of English

In my dissertation, “(W)rites of Passing: The Performance of Identity in Fiction and Personal Narratives,” I explore the literary, historical, psychological and cultural dimensions of passing, particularly as it relates to race and class. Through the works of Arnold van Gennep, Stephen Greenblatt, and Victor Turner, I have discovered intriguing comparisons between the forms of “class-passing” presented in 16th and18 th century British novels with 20th and 21st century “race passing” novels.

In much of my work on race passing and African American literature, I argue that while racial passing may have brought certain socio-economic benefits to those who passed (whether temporarily or permanently,) it also invariably forced them to engage in what I would describe as exercises of restraint. These exercises of restraint might manifest themselves in various forms of cultural impotency ranging from a loss and/or repression of emotional expressivity to a more extreme decision to be voluntarily childless—a forced barrenness, if you will. One of the main questions my research attempts to answer is: “Does the act of passing, whether it be through race or class, reinforce the very hierarchy it seems to subvert?” Also, if in fact race and/or class are identities that are performative, then what role does the audience play in permitting individuals to pass? In an attempt to answer these and other questions, I apply performance theory as a lens to provide a clearer and perhaps alternative perspective to the ways in which passing is both implicit (through the individual’s choice to pass) and complicit (through the audience’s suspension of disbelief.) My research questions how much responsibility the audience carries in the passing individual’s effort to pass successfully. At the same time, I discuss how the performance element of improvisation is absolutely necessary in the process and act of passing. What I have defined as the “process of passing” is a variation of Arnold van Gennep’s Rites de Passage : a performance ritual with “distinct phases in the social processes whereby groups [and individuals] become adjusted to internal changes, and adopt them to their external environment.” Van Gennep’s three phases of separation, transition and incorporation that define a rite of passage serve as the foundation of my definition of the process of passing.

Purchase the dissertation here.

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So… What are You, Anyway

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Forthcoming Media, Live Events, United States on 2012-03-27 01:08Z by Steven

So… What are You, Anyway

2012 Conference on Multiracial Identity: Exploring Our Roots
Hosted by Harvard Half-Asian People’s Association
Harvard University
2012-04-06 through 2012-04-07

Welcome to the fourth annual conference on multiracial identity and politics, hosted by the Harvard College Half-Asian People’s Association on April 6 – April 7, 2012.

Join us this year in exploring what it means to be mixed race. This year we are happy to announce Diane Farr as our keynote speaker. Diane Farr last brought her unique sense of humor to Showtime’s CALIFORNICATION as Jill Robinson. Having just finished three years as Agent Megan Reeves on CBS’s NUMB3RS, Farr was thrilled to put her gun down and don a sundress for a comedy. Prior to NUMB3RS, Farr starred on RESCUE ME, as well as THE JOB, THE DREW CAREY SHOW and ROSWELL. Her advice as the sole female on the MTV hit, LOVELINE, is what made her whiskey-soaked voice so recognizable. After 200 episodes of this cult phenomenon, Farr published her first book.

The Girl Code, a comic look at single women in the 21st century has since been sold to seven countries in five languages. Farr’s latest book, Kissing Outside The Lines, hilariously chronicles her path to an interracial marriage. Part of a two book series, Kissing will be followed up next year with Shades of America – which discusses raising biracial children. Diane writes for most American magazines and recently took over Dave Barry’s internationally syndicated column for Herald Tribune Newspapers, writing a comedic comment on pop culture.

We are also happy to welcome Associated Press journalist Jesse Washington and former Harvard Hapa president James Fish as speakers and Sue Lambe, Katie Low, and as discussion leaders…

For more information, click here.

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Mixed Race Week by SHADES of CSU

Posted in Campus Life, Forthcoming Media, Live Events, United States on 2012-03-27 00:53Z by Steven

Mixed Race Week by SHADES of CSU

Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado
2012-04-02 through 2012-04-06

Monday, Apr. 2, marks the beginning of the 4th-annual Mixed Race Week, a series of presentations and activities celebrating the multiracial and interracial community at Colorado State University.
This annaul event is sponsored by Shades of CSU, an organization dedicated to multiracial students…one of a few of its kind in the country.

For more information, click here.

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