In Mixed Company: Multiracial academics, advocates and artists gather for Hapa Japan Conference

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2012-05-15 21:37Z by Steven

In Mixed Company: Multiracial academics, advocates and artists gather for Hapa Japan Conference

Nichi Bei: A mixed plate of Japanese American News & Culture

Alec Yoshio MacDonald, Nichi Bei Weekly Contributor

As a graduate student in UCLA’s psychology department during the late 1970s, Christine Iijima Hall absorbed scathing criticism about her dissertation. Fellow academics dismissed her project as “a ridiculous piece of research,” she said, and newspapers declined to publicize her need for study participants based on the belief that she was covering a “stupid topic.” Few people, apparently, saw any worth in exploring the identity formation of individuals from mixed black and Japanese backgrounds.
Coming from such a background herself, Hall remained undeterred in pursuing the subject. In part, she was motivated to counteract existing literature that painted a disturbing portrait of those like her—in essence, that “we were insane, that there was something wrong with us, we never knew what we wanted, and we killed ourselves.” The studies that yielded these alarming conclusions were flawed, she explained, because they tended to focus on institutionalized patients instead of average folks. By delving into the everyday mixed race experience, she knew she could reveal a more compelling story deserving of attention.
In her effort to reframe an issue so widely ignored and narrowly interpreted, Hall ended up producing one of the pioneering works of an emerging discipline. At that time “‘multiracial’ was not a word yet,” she recalled, but thanks in no small measure to her perseverance, the field of multiracial studies exists today.

Scholars in the field recently had the chance to reflect on the past, present and future of their discipline when they came together April 8 and 9 for the Hapa Japan Conference. Held primarily on the campus of UC Berkeley and hosted by the university’s Center for Japanese Studies, it showcased a range of both foundational and current projects concerning multiraciality. As Hall pointed out while revisiting her dissertation for a session called “A Changing Japanese-American Community,” the conference also served as “a reunion for many of us who have done mixed race research.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The Life of Isamu Noguchi: Journey without Borders

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs on 2012-05-15 17:48Z by Steven

The Life of Isamu Noguchi: Journey without Borders

Princeton University Press
440 pages
6 x 9
36 halftones
Paper ISBN: 9780691127828

Masayo Duus
Translated by Peter Duus

  • 2005 Non-fiction Finalist for the Kiriyama Prize, Pacific Rim Voices
  • One of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles for 2005

Isamu Noguchi, born in Los Angeles as the illegitimate son of an American mother and a Japanese poet father, was one of the most prolific yet enigmatic figures in the history of twentieth-century American art. Throughout his life, Noguchi (1904-1988) grappled with the ambiguity of his identity as an artist caught up in two cultures.

His personal struggles—as well as his many personal triumphs—are vividly chronicled in The Life of Isamu Noguchi, the first full-length biography of this remarkable artist. Published in connection with the centennial of the artist’s birth, the book draws on Noguchi’s letters, his reminiscences, and interviews with his friends and colleagues to cast new light on his youth, his creativity, and his relationships.

During his sixty-year career, there was hardly a genre that Noguchi failed to explore. He produced more than 2,500 works of sculpture, designed furniture, lamps, and stage sets, created dramatic public gardens all over the world, and pioneered the development of environmental art. After studying in Paris, where he befriended Alexander Calder and worked as an assistant to Constantin Brancusi, he became an ardent advocate for abstract sculpture.

Noguchi’s private life was no less passionate than his artistic career. The book describes his romances with many women, among them the dancer Ruth Page, the painter Frida Kahlo, and the writer Anaïs Nin.

Despite his fame, Noguchi always felt himself an outsider. “With my double nationality and my double upbringing, where was my home?” he once wrote. “Where were my affections? Where my identity?” Never entirely comfortable in the New York art world, he inevitably returned to his father’s homeland, where he had spent a troubled childhood. This prize-winning biography, first published in Japanese, traces Isamu Noguchi’s lifelong journey across these artistic and cultural borders in search of his personal identity.

Table of Contents

  • Prologue
  • Chapter One: Yone and Leonie
  • Chapter Two: His Mother’s Child
  • Chapter Three: All-American Boy
  • Chapter Four: Journey of Self-Discovery
  • Chapter Five: Becoming a Nisei
  • Chapter Six: The Song of a Small
  • Chapter Seven: Honeymoon with Japan
  • Chapter Eight: The World of Dreams
  • Chapter Nine: The Universe in a Garden
  • Chapter Ten: Encounter with a Stonecutter
  • Chapter Eleven: Farewell to s Dreamer
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
  • Photgraphy Credits
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Honors 301: Mixed Race Art and Identity

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Course Offerings, Literary/Artistic Criticism, United States on 2012-05-15 17:06Z by Steven

Honors 301: Mixed Race Art and Identity

DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
Autumn Quarter 2011-2012

Laura Kina, Associate Professor Art, Media, & Design

Mixed Race Art & Identity will focus on contemporary art and popular culture to critically examine images of miscegenation and mixed race and post-ethnoracial identity constructs. Students will learn about the history and emergence of the multiracial movement in the United States from the 1967 Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court Case, which overturned our nation’s last anti-miscegenation law; to the emergence of the multiracial movement in the 1990s leading up to the 2000 U.S. Census, which for the first time allowed multiracial individuals to self-identify as more than one race; to the ways in which discussions of race have unfolded following the 2008 election of President Obama and the results of the 2010 Census.  Through the vehicle of art and cultural studies, students will reflect upon our present moment and the increasingly ethnically ambiguous generation that is coming of age. This seminar course is designed to be interactive and will include: class discussions, leading or co-leading a reading, online reflection posts on readings, viewing films, art lectures, a visiting artist talk, a mid-term paper, and a final creative group curatorial project.

Course Books/Readings and Research Resources

Required Text Books (Available through the University Bookstore and on reserve at the LPC library. We will read select chapters from these two books.)

Required E-reserve and/or Online Readings (Available through or through the course blackboard site, (MHC), or online.)

Research and selections from original artist interviews with contemporary artists from the forthcoming book “War Baby/ Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art” edited by Laura Kina and Wei Ming Dariotis (University of Washington Press, 2013) and related exhibition co-curated by Kina and Dariotis (DePaul University Art Museum April 26 – June 30, 2013, Chicago, IL and Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience August 9, 2013 – January 19, 2014, Seattle, WA. ) The artists covered include: Mequita Ahuja, Albert Chong, Serene Ford, Kip Fulbeck, Stuart Gaffney, Louie Gong, Jane Jin Kaisen, Lori Kay, Li-lan, Richard Lou, Laurel Nakadate, Samia Mirza, Chris Naka, Gina Osterloh, Adrienne Pao, Cristina Lei Rodriguez, Amanda Ross-Ho, Debra Yepa-Pappan, and Jenifer Wofford.

Film, Video, TV, and Radio

Supplemental E-reserve and Reserve Readings are also available through the LPC Library

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‘Non-racialism’ in the struggle against apartheid

Posted in Africa, Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, South Africa on 2012-05-15 00:17Z by Steven

‘Non-racialism’ in the struggle against apartheid

South African Review of Sociology (originally Society in Transition)
Volume 34, Issue 1 (2003)
pages 13-37
DOI: 10.1080/21528586.2003.10419082

Gerhard Maré, Professor of Sociology
University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban

This article examines the movement of South African society from a racialised past to a racialised present. It argues that an important opportunity, arising out of the transitional conjuncture, seriously to come to grips with the racist and racialised categories of apartheid, is rapidly being lost. Racism and a racially-ordered system is founded on the soft bed(rock) of race-thinking, and continues to draw on the banal perpetuation of notions of race in everyday life, as well as in political practice in a democratic South Africa. The author proposes that the undoubted commitment of the African National Congress to ‘non-racialism’ has remained unrealisable because there was no serious theoretical investigation of the status of race categories, either how they operated within apartheid South Africa or within the struggle for democracy itself. For this reason, it seems clear that the ANC’s ‘non-racialism’ more appropriately should be read as ‘non-racism’, as the notion of the existence of ‘races’ as socially meaningful categories have remained pivotal political categories and continue to operate as everyday common sense.

…In this paper I focus on the commitment to ‘non-racialism’ by the ANC, a commitment called the ‘unbreakable thread’ of decades of struggle against white domination (Frederikse 1990), and note some other positions and organisations. I will, in effect, take issue with the application of the term ‘non-racialism’ to describe the position of the ANC, which is much more accurately termed multi-racialism, despite Tambo’s rejection of such an interpretation. In conclusion I will suggest some of the implications of such misuse, most importantly that it cannot be the basis for ‘the primary goal [of] a completely restructured society’ (Frederikse, 1990:3-4).

Race thinking is embedded in our everyday thinking. It is located in racialised social identities, lived through what has been variously referred to as ‘stories of everyday life’(Wright, 1985:15; Heller, 1982), the ‘minutiae of everyday existence’ (Comaroff, 1996:166), the ‘banality’ of living within the ‘assumptions and common-sense habits’ (Billig, 1995:37) of a society permeated with race thinking. Such racialism will have to be disembedded from there, through deliberate social practice, institutional and legal change, and finding ways of subverting, rather than corroborating, daily experience and racialised ways of making sense. We continue to operate with race as a collective identity, and as the articulating and organising principle for other identities and/or moments when we draw on an array of alternate identities. Non-racialism remains without content if it continues to be a largely unexamined rhetorical commitment to an ideal.

At the same time, however, it is necessary immediately to note that my argument does not deny, in any way, the extreme dehumanisation and domination suffered under the system of apartheid, or under any racist system. Nor does it deny, as should be clear, that race thinking is located in real social conditions, and effectively makes sense of the way in which people have experienced, and continue to experience, that social reality, within a changing pattern of domination. It does not explore, here, the various ways in which race thinking serves, at times justificatory, exploitative, and other purposes. On the contrary, my argument depends on recognising the strength of pervasive racialisms, and demands and forms the basis for investigating racism. I will return to this point…

Read the entire article here.

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