Mulata Nation: Visualizing Race and Gender in Cuba

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Women on 2018-05-11 15:38Z by Steven

Mulata Nation: Visualizing Race and Gender in Cuba

University Press of Mississippi
2018-08-15
248 pages (approx.)
58 color illustrations
6 x 9 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496814432

Alison Fraunhar, Associate Professor of Art and Design
Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois

A vivid exploration of the key role played by multi-racial women in visualizing and performing Cuban identity

Repeatedly and powerfully throughout Cuban history, the mulata, a woman of mixed racial identity, features prominently in Cuban visual and performative culture. Tracing the figure, Alison Fraunhar looks at the representation and performance in both elite and popular culture. She also tracks how characteristics associated with these women have accrued across the Atlantic world. Widely understood to embody the bridge between European subject and African other, the mulata contains the sensuality attributed to Africans in a body more closely resembling the European ideal of beauty.

This symbol bears far-reaching implications, with shifting, contradictory cultural meanings in Cuba. Fraunhar explores these complex paradigms, how, why, and for whom the image was useful, and how it was both subverted and asserted from the colonial period to the present. From the early seventeenth century through Cuban independence in 1899 up to the late revolutionary era, Fraunhar illustrates the ambiguous figure’s role in nationhood, citizenship, and commercialism. She analyzes images including key examples of nineteenth-century graphic arts, avant-garde painting and magazine covers of the Republican era, cabaret and film performance, and contemporary iterations of gender.

Fraunhar’s study stands out for attending to the phenomenon of mulataje not only in elite production such as painting, but also in popular forms: popular theater, print culture, later films, and other media where stereotypes take hold. Indeed, in contemporary Cuba, mulataje remains a popular theme with Cubans as well as foreigners in drag shows, reflecting queerness in visual culture.

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What Meghan Markle means to black Brits

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2018-05-11 15:30Z by Steven

What Meghan Markle means to black Brits

The Washington Post
2018-05-11

Karla Adam, London correspondent covering the United Kingdom

William Booth, London bureau chief

Photos by Tori Ferenc


Photo by Tori Ferenc

After she marries Prince Harry, the royal family will look a bit more like modern Britain.

LONDON—Jean Carter had never bothered to come out for a royal appearance before. But when Prince Harry and his fiancee, Meghan Markle, made a visit to Brixton this year, Carter bought a bouquet and weathered a chilly afternoon waiting for a glimpse of the couple.

Carter was glad to see Harry, the happy-go-lucky, ginger-bearded son of the late Princess Diana. As an immigrant from Jamaica, though, Carter, 72, really wanted to lay eyes on Markle, a biracial American actress who is the subject of deep fascination here.

Multiethnic Brixton is South London’s hub for a founding generation of Afro-Caribbean immigrants. It’s a crossroad so central to the story of the African diaspora that local historians call the neighborhood — with its jerk chicken grills, reggae dance halls and vibrant mural scene — the black capital of Europe. When South African President Nelson Mandela came to Britain in 1996 he went to Buckingham Palace — and Brixton.

Carter characterized the royal couple’s visit to the neighborhood as “a big statement.”

But what exactly will it mean to have a biracial member of the monarchy after Prince Harry and Markle exchange vows on May 19?…

Read the entire article here.

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