Mix-d: Museum: Timeline

Posted in Articles, History, New Media, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2012-06-30 21:55Z by Steven

Mix-d: Museum: Timeline

Mix-d: Museum

This work-in-progress Timeline draws on material from a British Academy project conducted by Dr. Chamion Caballero (Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research, London South Bank University) and Dr. Peter Aspinall (University of Kent) which explored the presence of mixed race people, couples and families in the early 20th century, particularly in the period 1920-1950, a time when racial mixing and mixedness tended to be viewed very negatively by British authorities.

The project sourced a range of archival material from national and local archives. It included official documents, autobiographical recordings and photo and film material to understand how social perceptions of racial mixing and mixedness emerged and the effect they had on the lives of mixed race people, couples and families themselves, as well as their place in shaping contemporary ideas and experiences.

The project’s findings indicated that while mixed race people, couples and families certainly experienced prejudice and hostility in this ‘era of moral condemnation’, they were not inherently ‘tragic’, ‘marginal’ or ‘doomed’, but simply another part of the longstanding diversity and difference that is a feature of British life.

The findings from the research formed the foundation of the three part BBC2 series ‘Mixed Britannia’ presented by George Alagiah and was also the subject of an article in The Guardian.

View the Timeline here.

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Re-searching Metis Identity: My Metis Family Story

Posted in Autobiography, Canada, Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2012-06-30 21:37Z by Steven

Re-searching Metis Identity: My Metis Family Story

University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon
April 2010
200 pages

Tara Turner

A Thesis Submitted to the College of Graduate Studies and Research in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Psychology

This research explores Metis identity through the use of a Metis family story. The participants of this Metis family were my father and his two sisters and his two brothers. As children, they lost both their parents at the same time in a car accident. After the death of their parents my participants all encountered the child welfare system, through adoption, orphanage, and foster care. Through adoption, the two youngest participants were separated from their siblings, and any knowledge of their Metis heritage, until they were adults. Individual interviews were conducted with each participant to gather their life stories. Two additional gatherings of the participants were completed in order to share individual and family stories. The second and final gathering was conducted as a talking circle. A culturally congruent qualitative research process was created with the use of stories, ceremonies, and the strengthening of family relationships. Analysis was completed with the use of Aboriginal storytelling guidelines. The themes examined through my family’s story include trauma, the child welfare system, and Metis identity. A significant piece of the research process was the creation of a ‘Metis psychological homeland’ (Richardson, 2004, p. 56), a psychological space of both healing and affirming Aboriginal identity. This dissertation is an example of how research can be completed in a way that does not perpetuate the mistrust between Aboriginal people and researchers, and that works to improve this relationship.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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The Family Jewell: A Metis History of San Juan Island and Puget Sound, by Dr. Katrina Jagodinsky

Posted in History, Live Events, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2012-06-30 02:27Z by Steven

The Family Jewell: A Metis History of San Juan Island and Puget Sound, by Dr. Katrina Jagodinsky

San Juan Historical Museum
323 Price St.
Friday Harbor, Washington
Saturday, 2012-06-30, 18:00 PDT (Local Time)

The history of Métis families (Native American and European ancestry) is like the mist that shrouds the San Juan Island chain: a constant, but elusive, characteristic of the Puget Sound past and present. Come and see through the mist at an upcoming presentation about Nora Jewell, born on San Juan Island around 1864, and one of the first mixed-race women to seek justice within Washington’s territorial legal system. Nora Jewell’s remarkable story reveals much about the social and political world of Métis families who were so prevalent during the territorial settlement of the island chain. Professor Jagodinsky’s discussion will follow the course of Nora Jewell’s documented life between 1864 and 1910 to offer a personal glimpse into the efforts of Métis women to maintain their identity and independence during a period of great transition for the indigenous people of San Juan Island and the Puget Sound. Touching on the practice and problems of Métis history, this presentation makes more visible the presence of indigenous and mixed-race families in San Juan’s past and present. Island locals will no doubt recognize family members and old friends in Nora Jewell’s history, while visitors will enjoy learning more about the rich history of cultural diversity on San Juan Island and the nearby mainland.

Dr. Katrina Jagodinsky is assistant professor of history at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is writing a comparative history of Native women’s use of the American legal system in Washington and Arizona between 1854 and 1935.

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Bound Lives: Africans, Indians, and the Making of Race in Colonial Peru

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery on 2012-06-30 02:06Z by Steven

Bound Lives: Africans, Indians, and the Making of Race in Colonial Peru

University of Pittsburgh Press
April 2012
272 pages
6 x 9
Paper  ISBN: 9780822961932

Rachel Sarah O’Toole, Associate Professor of History
University of California, Irvine

Bound Lives chronicles the lived experience of race relations in northern coastal Peru during the colonial era. Rachel Sarah O’Toole examines how Andeans and Africans negotiated and employed casta, and in doing so, constructed these racial categories. Royal and viceregal authorities separated “Indians” from “blacks” by defining each to specific labor demands. Casta categories did the work of race, yet, not all casta categories did the same type of work since Andeans, Africans, and their descendants were bound by their locations within colonialism and slavery. The secular colonial legal system clearly favored indigenous populations. Andeans were afforded greater protections as “threatened” native vassals. Despite this, in the 1640s during the rise of sugar production, Andeans were driven from their assigned colonial towns and communal property by a land privatization program. Andeans did not disappear, however; they worked as artisans, muleteers, and laborers for hire. By the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, Andeans employed their legal status as Indians to defend their prerogatives to political representation that included the policing of Africans. As rural slaves, Africans often found themselves outside the bounds of secular law and subject to the judgments of local slaveholding authorities. Africans therefore developed a rhetoric of valuation within the market and claimed new kinships to protect themselves in disputes with their captors and in slave-trading negotiations. Africans countered slaveholders’ claims on their time, overt supervision of their labor, and control of their rest moments by invoking customary practices. Bound Lives offers an entirely new perspective on racial identities in colonial Peru. It highlights the tenuous interactions of colonial authorities, indigenous communities, and enslaved populations and shows how the interplay between colonial law and daily practice shaped the nature of colonialism and slavery.


  • acknowledgments
  • introduction: Constructing Casta on Peru’s Northern Coast
  • chapter 1. Between Black and Indian: Labor Demands and the Crown’s Casta
  • chapter 2. Working Slavery’s Value, Making Diaspora Kinships
  • chapter 3. Acting as a Legal Indian: Natural Vassals and Worrisome Natives
  • chapter 4. Market Exchanges and Meeting the Indians Elsewhere
  • chapter 5. Justice within Slavery
  • conclusion. The Laws of Casta, the Making of Race
  • appendix 1. Origin of Slaves Sold in Trujillo over Time by Percentage (1640–1730)
  • appendix 2. Price Trends of Slaves Sold in Trujillo (1640–1730)
  • explanation of Appendix Data
  • notes
  • glossary
  • bibliography
  • index
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From Edward Brooke to Barack Obama African American Political Success, 1966-2008

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-06-29 03:46Z by Steven

From Edward Brooke to Barack Obama African American Political Success, 1966-2008

University of Missouri Press
272 pages
6.125 x 9.25
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8262-1977-0

Dennis Nordin

In 2008, American history was forever changed with the election of Barack Obama, the United States’ first African American president. However, Obama was far from the first African American to run for a public office or to face the complexities of race in a political campaign. For over a century, offices ranging from city mayor to state senator have been filled by African Americans, making race a factor in many elections. In From Edward Brooke to Barack Obama, Dennis S. Nordin navigates the history of biracial elections by examining the experiences of a variety of African American politicians from across the country, revealing how voters, both black and white, respond to the issue of race in an election.

The idea to compare the African American political experience across several levels of office first occurred to Nordin as he was researching Arthur W. Mitchell’s 1934 congressional campaign. The question of white voter support was of particular significance, as was whether the continuation of that support depended upon his avoiding minority issues in office. To begin answering these questions and others, Nordin compares the experiences of eleven African American politicians. Taken from across the country to ensure a wide sample and accurate depiction of the subject, the case studies examined include Tom Bradley, mayor of Los Angeles; David Dinkins, mayor of New York; Freeman Bosley Jr., mayor of St. Louis; Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts; Senator Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois; Governor L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia; and Representative J. C. Watts Jr. of Oklahoma, among others. As Nordin analyzes these individuals and their contribution to the whole, he concludes that biracial elections in the United States have yet to progress beyond race.

From Edward Brooke to Barack Obama investigates the implications of race in politics, a highly relevant topic in today’s American society. It offers readers a chronological overview of the progress made over the last several decades as well as shows where there is room for growth in the political arena. By taking a pertinent topic for the era and placing it in the context of history, Nordin successfully chronicles the roles of race and race relations in American politics.

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The Shadow of the Octoroon in T. E. Brown’s Christmas Rose

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism on 2012-06-28 20:53Z by Steven

The Shadow of the Octoroon in T. E. Brown’s Christmas Rose

Victorian Poetry
Volume 38, Number 2, Summer 2000
pages 289-298
DOI: 10.1353/vp.2000.0023

Max Keith Sutton

In Impossible Purities, Jennifer Brody writes that the multiracial “woman of color” in Victorian literature “both conceals and reveals conflicting ideas of difference.” The light skin of an octoroon, for example, conceals the African heritage that constituted a legal difference from other light-skinned people in the United States (though not in Britain), disqualifying her from marriage with a man officially defined as white. In Dion Boucicault’s melodrama of 1859, The Octoroon, this official distinction gives the heroine a sense of moral difference as well: “I’m an unclean thing,” she tells her Caucasian suitor, equating uncleanness with the difference defined by law. Conceiving of her identity as the state of Louisiana defined it for her, the woman tries to erase it through suicide, becoming one in the series of “tragic octoroons” appearing “in at least a dozen works between 1836 and 1861” and in more that followed. Significant in their own right, these figures also may provide a frame of reference for other heroines who share the octoroon’s sense of being different and therefore unfit for life in the society around them. In T. E. Brown’s narrative poem, Christmas Rose (1873), a sense of sexual difference from women who fall in love and marry as a matter of course burdens the title character, who only expresses erotic feeling when she runs out to the shore and bares her bosom to the storm. In her alienation she resembles Boucicault’s Zoe, although she has no tragic passion for any man and no knowledge of her origins beyond the story of how a brave African gave his life to save her as an infant when a ship sank in a storm off the coast of the Isle of Man. Like the octoroon, Rose sees death as the only escape from the burden of being different.

By linking Rose with the black man who preserves her life, the poem introduces the theme of difference that she will embody and suggests a way of viewing her that eludes the Manx yarnspinner, Tom Baynes. He sees her as bewitched or as an alien spirit, “sent / Into the world to be different.” Expecting the sailors in the forecastle to accept supernatural explanations, he realizes nonetheless that folklore alone cannot explain her: “say what you will, / The Christmas Rose was a puzzle still” (ll. 1833-34). In the end he admits that no one ever knew “who or what” she was—a unique human person or some strange spirit (a “what,” unless the word refers only to her condition by birth). As her advocate, Tom Baynes may want her to remain a puzzle in order to counter his shipmates’ readiness to see her as just another femme fatale, cruelly arousing and thwarting masculine desires. Since his range of reading is limited, folklore rather than some literary prototype provides his chief frame of reference for picturing the heroine. Knowing Don Quixote, for example, only from what others have told him, he describes it for his shipmates but makes no mention of the fair Marcela, who, like Rose, prefers outdoor freedom to marriage and by rejecting a lovesick suitor gets blamed for his death (Part I, chaps. xii-xiv). Tragic octoroons in plays and novels of the time lie outside Tom’s experience: he knows a good deal more about ghosts and fairies. But the poem itself (written by an Oxford-educated schoolmaster) suggests analogues that the narrator could never imagine, one of them being the alienated figure of the woman of mixed race. Although Rose never associates race with her predicament, the theme appears at the outset of this story of a girl who comes to resemble the tragic octoroon in her beauty and sexual desirability, her problematic identity, and her sense of being unfit for this world..

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How William Faulkner Tackled Race — and Freed the South From Itself

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2012-06-28 17:27Z by Steven

How William Faulkner Tackled Race — and Freed the South From Itself

The New York Times

John Jeremiah Sullivan

A poll of well over a hundred writers and critics, taken a few years back by Oxford American magazine, named William Faulkner’sAbsalom, Absalom!” the “greatest Southern novel ever written,” by a decisive margin — and the poll was conducted while looking back on a century in which a disproportionate number of the best American books were Southern — so to say that this novel requires no introduction is just to speak plainly.

Of course, it’s the kind of book a person would put first in a poll like that. You can feel reasonably confident, in voting for it, that nobody quite fathoms it enough to question its achievement. Self-consciously ambitious and structurally complex (unintelligible, a subset of not unsophisticated readers has always maintained), “Absalom, Absalom!” partakes of what the critic Irving Howe called “a fearful impressiveness,” the sort that “comes when a writer has driven his vision to an extreme.” It may represent the closest American literature came to producing an analog for “Ulysses,” which influenced it deeply — each in its way is a provincial Modernist novel about a young man trying to awaken from history — and like “Ulysses,” it lives as a book more praised than read, or more esteemed than enjoyed.

But good writers don’t look for impressedness in their readers — it’s at best another layer of distortion — and “greatness” can leave a book isolated in much the way it can a human being. (Surely a reason so many have turned away from “Ulysses” over the last near-hundred years is that they can’t read it without a suffocating sense of each word’s cultural importance and their duty to respond, a shame in that case, given how often Joyce was trying to be amusing.) A good writer wants from us — or has no right to ask more than — intelligence, good faith and time. A legitimate question to ask is, What happens with “Absalom, Absalom!” if we set aside its laurels and apply those things instead? What has Faulkner left us?

A prose of exceptional vividness, for one thing. The same few passages, in the very first pages, remind me of this — they’re markings on an entryway — sudden bursts of bristly adjective clusters. The September afternoon on which the book opens in a “dim hot airless” room is described as “long still hot weary dead.” If you’ve ever taken a creative-writing workshop, you’ve been warned never to do this, pile up adjectives, interpose descriptive terms between the reader’s imagination and the scene. But here something’s different. Faulkner’s choices are so precise, and his juxtaposition of the words so careful in conditioning our sense reception, that he doesn’t so much solve as overpower the problem. The sparrows flying into the window trellis beat their wings with a sound that’s “dry vivid dusty,” each syllable a note in a chord he’s forming. The Civil War ghosts that haunt the room are “garrulous outraged baffled.”…

…No book that tries to dissect the South’s psyche like that can overlook its founding obsession: miscegenation. There we reach the novel’s deepest concern, the fixed point around which the storm of its language revolves. After Sutpen ran off to Haiti as a young man — it emerges that a humiliating boyhood experience, of hearing a black slave tell him to use the back door of a big house (he wasn’t good enough for the front), had produced a shock that propelled him to flee — he married a girl there and fathered a son with her. Soon, however, he discovered that she had black blood, and that his son was therefore mixed, so he renounced them both. He sailed back to the South to become a planter. A plausible thing for a white Southern male to have done in the early 19th century. But what Faulkner doesn’t forget, and doesn’t want us to, is the radical amorality of the breach. On the basis of pure social abstraction, Sutpen has spurned his own child, his first son.

He remarries in Mississippi, with Miss Rosa’s older sister. They have two children, a boy and a girl. Now Sutpen has land, a mansion and progeny. He is almost there, almost a baron. We’re not absurd to think of Gatsby here; one of the most perceptive recent statements on “Absalom, Absalom!” was made by the scholar Fred C. Hobson in 2003, a simple-seeming statement and somehow one of the strangest things a person could say about the book, that it is “a novel about the American dream.”

As in any good book of that type, the past hunts Sutpen and finds him: His son, Henry, goes off to the fledgling University of Mississippi, where he befriends another man, Charles Bon. On a holiday visit to Sutpen’s Hundred, Bon meets Henry’s sister, Judith, and falls in love with her — or makes up his mind to possess her. What Henry and Judith don’t know is that Bon is Sutpen’s abandoned Haitian son, come to Mississippi via New Orleans, evidently in a sort of half-conscious, all but sleepwalking quest to find his father. Charles Bon is thus both half-black and Judith’s half-brother…

Read the entire essay here.

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Tales of the Old Indian Territory and Essays on the Indian Condition

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2012-06-28 02:23Z by Steven

Tales of the Old Indian Territory and Essays on the Indian Condition

University of Nebraska Press
680 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8032-3792-6

John Milton Oskison (1874-1947)

Edited and with an introduction by

Lionel Larré, Associate Professor of English
Université Michel de Montaigne Bordeaux 3

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Indian Territory, which would eventually become the state of Oklahoma, was a multicultural space in which various Native tribes, European Americans, and African Americans were equally engaged in struggles to carve out meaningful lives in a harsh landscape. John Milton Oskison, born in the territory to a Cherokee mother and an immigrant English father, was brought up engaging in his Cherokee heritage, including its oral traditions, and appreciating the utilitarian value of an American education.

Oskison left Indian Territory to attend college and went on to have a long career in New York City journalism, working for the New York Evening Post and Collier’s Magazine. He also wrote short stories and essays for newspapers and magazines, most of which were about contemporary life in Indian Territory and depicted a complex multicultural landscape of cowboys, farmers, outlaws, and families dealing with the consequences of multiple interacting cultures.

Though Oskison was a well-known and prolific Cherokee writer, journalist, and activist, few of his works are known today. This first comprehensive collection of Oskison’s unpublished autobiography, short stories, autobiographical essays, and essays about life in Indian Territory at the turn of the twentieth century fills a significant void in the literature and thought of a critical time and place in the history of the United States.

Read an excerpt here.

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ENGL 326: Representations of Miscegenations

Posted in Course Offerings, History, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2012-06-28 02:10Z by Steven

ENGL 326: Representations of Miscegenations

Trinity College, Hartford Connecticut
Spring 2010

The course examines the notion of miscegenation (interracial relations), including how the term was coined and defined. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will consider the different and conflicting ways that interracial relations have been represented, historically and contemporaneously, as well as the implications of those varied representations. Examining both primary and secondary texts, including fiction, film, legal cases, historical criticism, and drama, we will explore how instances of interracial contact both threaten and expand formulations of race and “Americanness” in the U.S. and beyond. How is miscegenation emblematic of other issues invoked, such as gender, nation, and sexuality? How do enactments of interracial contact complicate the subjects that they “stage”?


Slippery Language and False Dilemmas: The Passing Novels of Child, Howells, and Harper

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2012-06-28 02:00Z by Steven

Slippery Language and False Dilemmas: The Passing Novels of Child, Howells, and Harper

American Literature
Volume 75, Number 4, December 2003
pages 813-841

Julie Cary Nerad, Associate Professor of English
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Conceived in slavery, gestated in racialist science, and bred in Jim Crow segregation, the U.S. race system calcified into a visual epistemology of racial difference based largely on skin color. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this visual schema of biological difference, despite fluctuation within racial categories—even within whiteness itself—was generally reduced to just white and nonwhite. This illusion of racial dichotomy sometimes allowed very light-skinned African Americans to choose between a black or a white identity. “The position of the pale [black] individual,” wrote African American psychiatrist Charles Gibson in 1931, “is analogous to that of a traveler who has come to a forked road. One branch of the fork is remaining Negro; the other is ‘passing for white.'” In Gibson’s schema, light-skinned African Americans could choose to retain their black identity and risk reverse discrimination within the darker-skinned community, or they could pass as white through an identity of deception, trading the ties of their African American family and friends for economic opportunity, a choice often conceptualized as crass materialism. Recent scholarship on passing for white has complicated Gibson’s simple binary of individual choice by recognizing racial passing as an aggressive political challenge to the ideological construct of race. As a form of performative trespass, many have argued, passing exposes race as a performative identity category, like gender and class. Recognizing this dimension of racial identity does not reduce the cultural and psychological significance of race; rather, it attempts to separate race from biology and the fallacious hierarchy of innate difference that has been used historically to justify systemic inequity and violence.

Despite its impetus, however, recent critical work on race often illustrates the degree to which the one-drop rule still has a toehold on American racial consciousness. “One drop” of “black blood” continues to imply a responsibility to blackness that academic deconstructions of race have not significantly altered. One goal of my essay is to investigate how continuing misconceptions about race as a biological imperative influence our readings of novels about racial passing, despite our acknowledgment that race is performative. The cause I identify here is twofold. First, the ideology of racial uplift and the tenacious persistence of the one-drop rule converge to influence our perceptions of race and our reading of passing novels. Racial uplift, with its debt of responsibility, has become a significant part of our racial ideology: if one’s family is African American, if one has any “drop” of black blood, then one has a responsibility to the race and should proclaim oneself black. That is, no matter how “white” one’s skin, we assume that passers are black and censure their attempts to live outside the bounds of that identity. This assumption evinces the tenacity of—and simultaneously reinforces—the one-drop rule.

Second, in focusing almost exclusively on passing as an intentional act of racial identification, scholars have regarded it as primarily a political challenge to the racial status quo. In many novels of passing, however, the characters’ sense of racial identity develops less consciously, in conjunction with (not simply in conscious opposition to) the racially marked socioeconomic and cultural spaces they inhabit. Legally black but corporeally white, these passers are initially unaware that their genetic heritage includes a “drop” of black blood. I call these critically neglected characters unintentional passers. They do not know that in the eyes of the law they are passing. Texts of unintentional passing, and there are many, destabilize notions of biologically constructed racial identity precisely because the passers are unaware that they are transgressing legal boundaries. The discrepancy between legal race categories and racial self-perceptions reveals how race functions in the United States to maintain socioeconomic inequalities by controlling an individual’s sense of identity and her place within family, community, and nation. Our own tendency to conceptualize these fictional characters as…

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