Merle Oberon: India’s forgotten Hollywood star

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2022-04-21 14:39Z by Steven

Merle Oberon: India’s forgotten Hollywood star

BBC News
2022-04-16

Meryl Sebastian, BBC News, Delhi

Merle Oberon was born in Bombay

Merle Oberon, a Hollywood star of the black and white era, is a forgotten icon in India, the country of her birth.

Best-known for playing the lead in the classic Wuthering Heights, Oberon was an Anglo-Indian born in Bombay in 1911. But as a star in Hollywood’s Golden Age, she kept her background a secret – passing herself off as white – throughout her life.

Mayukh Sen, a US-based writer and academic, first stumbled across her name in 2009 when he found out that Oberon was the first actor of South Asian origin to be nominated for an Oscar.

His fascination grew as he saw her films and dug deeper into her past. “As a queer person, I empathise with this feeling that you must hide a part of your identity to survive in a hostile society that isn’t really ready to accept who you are,” he says. Sen is now working on a biography to tell Oberon’s story from a South Asian perspective…

Read the entire article here.

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The Palgrave International Handbook of Mixed Racial and Ethnic Classification

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Europe, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Oceania, Social Science, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States on 2020-01-31 02:28Z by Steven

The Palgrave International Handbook of Mixed Racial and Ethnic Classification

Palgrave Macmillan
2020-01-21
817 pages
16 b/w illustrations, 17 illustrations in colour
Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-22873-6
eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-22874-3
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-22874-3

Edited by:

Zarine L. Rocha, Managing Editor
Current Sociology and Asian Journal of Social Science

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader in Population Health
University of Kent, United Kingdom

Highlights

  • Shows how classification and collection processes around mixedness differ between countries and how measurement has been changing over time
  • Provides a window into the radical global changes in the trend towards multiple racial/ethnic self-identification that has been a feature of the recent past
  • The first and only handbook to directly address the classification of mixed race/ethnicity on a global scale
  • Pays specific attention to both the standard classifications and the range of uses these are put to – including social surveys and administrative data – rather than just census forms and data

This handbook provides a global study of the classification of mixed race and ethnicity at the state level, bringing together a diverse range of country case studies from around the world.

The classification of race and ethnicity by the state is a common way to organize and make sense of populations in many countries, from the national census and birth and death records, to identity cards and household surveys. As populations have grown, diversified, and become increasingly transnational and mobile, single and mutually exclusive categories struggle to adequately capture the complexity of identities and heritages in multicultural societies. State motivations for classification vary widely, and have shifted over time, ranging from subjugation and exclusion to remediation and addressing inequalities. The chapters in this handbook illustrate how differing histories and contemporary realities have led states to count and classify mixedness in different ways, for different reasons.

This collection will serve as a key reference point on the international classification of mixed race and ethnicity for students and scholars across sociology, ethnic and racial studies, and public policy, as well as policy makers and practitioners.

Table of Contents

  • Front Matter
  • Introduction: Measuring Mixedness Around the World / Zarine L. Rocha, Peter J. Aspinall
  • Race and Ethnicity Classification in British Colonial and Early Commonwealth Censuses / Anthony J. Christopher
  • The Americas
    • Front Matter
    • Introduction: North and South America / Peter J. Aspinall, Zarine L. Rocha
    • The Canadian Census and Mixed Race: Tracking Mixed Race Through Ancestry, Visible Minority Status, and Métis Population Groups in Canada / Danielle Kwan-Lafond, Shannon Winterstein
    • Methods of Measuring Multiracial Americans / Melissa R. Herman
    • Mixed Race in Brazil: Classification, Quantification, and Identification / G. Reginald Daniel, Rafael J. Hernández
    • Mexico: Creating Mixed Ethnicity Citizens for the Mestizo Nation / Pablo Mateos
    • Boundless Heterogeneity: ‘Callaloo’ Complexity and the Measurement of Mixedness in Trinidad and Tobago / Sue Ann Barratt
    • Mixed race in Argentina: Concealing Mixture in the ‘White’ Nation / Lea Natalia Geler, Mariela Eva Rodríguez
    • Colombia: The Meaning and Measuring of Mixedness / Peter Wade
  • Europe and the UK
    • Front Matter
    • Introduction: Europe and the United Kingdom / Peter J. Aspinall, Zarine L. Rocha
    • The Path to Official Recognition of ‘Mixedness’ in the United Kingdom / Peter J. Aspinall
    • Measuring Mixedness in Ireland: Constructing Sameness and Difference / Elaine Moriarty
    • The Identification of Mixed People in France: National Myth and Recognition of Family Migration Paths / Anne Unterreiner
    • Controversial Approaches to Measuring Mixed-Race in Belgium: The (In)Visibility of the Mixed-Race Population / Laura Odasso
    • The Weight of German History: Racial Blindness and Identification of People with a Migration Background / Anne Unterreiner
    • Mixed, Merged, and Split Ethnic Identities in the Russian Federation / Sergei V. Sokolovskiy
    • Mixedness as a Non-Existent Category in Slovenia / Mateja Sedmak
    • Mixed Identities in Italy: A Country in Denial / Angelica Pesarini, Guido Tintori
    • (Not) Measuring Mixedness in the Netherlands / Guno Jones, Betty de Hart
    • Mixed Race and Ethnicity in Sweden: A Sociological Analysis / Ioanna Blasko, Nikolay Zakharov
  • Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia and the Caucasus
    • Front Matter
    • Introduction: Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia and the Caucasus / Zarine L. Rocha, Peter J. Aspinall
    • The Classification of South Africa’s Mixed-Heritage Peoples 1910–2011: A Century of Conflation, Contradiction, Containment, and Contention / George T. H. Ellison, Thea de Wet
    • The Immeasurability of Racial and Mixed Identity in Mauritius / Rosabelle Boswell
    • Neither/Nor: The Complex Attachments of Zimbabwe’s Coloureds / Kelly M. Nims
    • Measuring Mixedness in Zambia: Creating and Erasing Coloureds in Zambia’s Colonial and Post-colonial Census, 1921 to 2010 / Juliette Milner-Thornton
    • Racial and Ethnic Mobilization and Classification in Kenya / Babere Kerata Chacha, Wanjiku Chiuri, Kenneth O. Nyangena
    • Making the Invisible Visible: Experiences of Mixedness for Binational People in Morocco / Gwendolyn Gilliéron
    • Measuring Mixedness: A Case Study of the Kyrgyz Republic / Asel Myrzabekova
  • Asia and the Pacific
    • Front Matter
    • Introduction: The Asia Pacific Region / Zarine L. Rocha, Peter J. Aspinall
    • Where You Feel You Belong: Classifying Ethnicity and Mixedness in New Zealand / Robert Didham, Zarine L. Rocha
    • Measuring Mixedness in Australia / Farida Fozdar, Catriona Stevens
    • Measuring Race, Mixed Race, and Multiracialism in Singapore / Zarine L. Rocha, Brenda S. A. Yeoh
    • Multiracial in Malaysia: Categories, Classification, and Campur in Contemporary Everyday Life / Geetha Reddy, Hema Preya Selvanathan
    • Anglo-Indians in Colonial India: Historical Demography, Categorization, and Identity / Uther Charlton-Stevens
    • Mixed Racial and Ethnic Classification in the Philippines / Megumi HaraJocelyn O. Celero
    • Vaevaeina o le toloa (Counting the Toloa): Counting Mixed Ethnicity in the Pacific, 1975–2014 / Patrick Broman, Polly Atatoa Carr, Byron Malaela Sotiata Seiuli
    • Measuring Mixed Race: ‘We the Half-Castes of Papua and New Guinea’ / Kirsten McGavin
    • Measuring Mixedness in China: A Study in Four Parts / Cathryn H. Clayton
    • Belonging Across Religion, Race, and Nation in Burma-Myanmar / Chie Ikeya
    • Recognition of Multiracial and Multiethnic Japanese: Historical Trends, Classification, and Ways Forward / Sayaka Osanami Törngren, Hyoue Okamura
  • Back Matter
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The Gap Toothed Banister: A Tale of Anglo-India

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Novels on 2019-08-18 14:54Z by Steven

The Gap Toothed Banister: A Tale of Anglo-India

Niyogi Books
2013-09-16
297 pages
5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
Paperback ISBN: 978-9381523711

Juliette Banerjee

The Gap-Toothed Banister – A Tale of Anglo-India is a close, compassionate look by Juliette Banerjee, an Anglo-Indian, at her community facing the challenges of change. It portrays with clarity the lives of Anglo-Indians in Calcutta during the 60s and 70s. In a shabby apartment block in Central Calcutta, four families, the Renshaws, the D’Cruzes, the Johnsons and the Vincents live in harmony. This smooth tempo changes forever one humid night when one of the families’ children are singled out, one lauded, the other randomly attacked. Tragedy and horror seem to haunt the apartment block. The next day a resident is raped by a servant. The social fabric has been rent in a way that tilts this world. It brings together all the other families of the ‘mansion’, as this block of flats is wryly nicknamed. The Gap-Toothed Banister is a love story, not in kindergarten hues but with softer colours of hope and faith. It is a story of a people more confused than disloyal, puzzled by a lack of appreciation for their myriad talent and fuelled by an anger at what is perceived as scornful rejection. The Gap-Toothed Banister will be of immense interest to all curious about the mores and magic of Anglo-India.

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Anglo-Indians and Minority Politics in South Asia: Race, Boundary Making and Communal Nationalism

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy on 2018-01-09 03:28Z by Steven

Anglo-Indians and Minority Politics in South Asia: Race, Boundary Making and Communal Nationalism

Routledge
2018
322 pages
4 B/W Illustrations
Hardback ISBN: 9781138847224

Uther Charlton-Stevens, Associate Professor
Institute of World Economy and Finance
Volgograd State University, Russia

Anglo-Indians are a mixed-race, Christian and Anglophone minority community which arose in India during the long period of European colonialism. An often neglected part of the British ‘Raj’, their presence complicates the traditional binary through which British imperialism in South Asia is viewed – of ruler and ruled, coloniser and colonised. This book looks at how Anglo-Indians illuminate the history of minority politics in the transition from British colonial rule in South Asia to independence.

The book analyses how the provisions in the Indian Constitution relating to Anglo-Indian cultural, linguistic and religious autonomy were implemented in the years following 1950. It discusses how effective the measures designed to protect Anglo-Indian employment by the state and Anglo-Indian educational institutions under the pressures of Indian national politics were. Presenting an in-depth account of this minority community in South Asia, this book will be of interest to those studying South Asian History, Colonial History and South Asian Politics.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. East Indians
  • 2. The ‘Eurasian Problem’
  • 3. Becoming Anglo-Indians
  • 4. Making a Minority
  • 5. Escapisms of Empire
  • 6. Constituting the Nation
  • 7. Conclusion
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The Anglo Indians: A 500-year History

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2017-09-17 03:25Z by Steven

The Anglo Indians: A 500-year History

Niyogi Books
2014
228 pages
275 black and white photographs
Size: 232 x 150mm
70 gsm book printing paper
Flexiback ISBN: 978-93-81523-76-6

S. Muthiah and Harry MacLure

The Book reveals that small though it be, the Anglo Indians are a community with a great heritage. It is a story of disappointments and of hopes, of uncertainty being a part of their lives from the day they were born. It is also the story of a people who found happiness and satisfaction in the various niches they were fitted into.

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‘The Eurasian Question’: The postcolonial dilemmas of three colonial mixed-ancestry groups

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Media Archive on 2017-03-21 01:35Z by Steven

‘The Eurasian Question’: The postcolonial dilemmas of three colonial mixed-ancestry groups compared

Leiden University
Leiden, Netherlands
Duration 2013-2017

Liesbeth Rosen Jacobson

Eurasians were privileged groups of mixed ancestry in Asian colonial societies. They were the result of unions between European males and indigenous women. They neither belonged to the colonizers, nor to the colonized. When colonization came to an end, the Eurasians found themselves in a difficult position. The European rulers, on which their status was based, were gone. The new indigenous rulers usually perceived them suspiciously as colonial remnants and sometimes even as traitors. In this chaotic, sometimes violent situation, they were forced to make a choice, albeit a preliminary one, between staying in the former colony or leaving, usually for the European metropolis. This was a serious dilemma since they only knew the metropolis from stories and lessons at school. The point of departure of this research is formed by the Eurasian group of the former Dutch Indies: the Indo-Europeans. However, I compare the decision making process of this group with those of similar groups from two other Asian colonies, the Anglo-Indians from the British Indies and the Métis people from French Indochina

Read the entire article about the project here.

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Maria on Bhowani Junction

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2016-08-15 17:14Z by Steven

Maria on Bhowani Junction

Archive to Blockbuster
2016-08-11

Maria Kaladeen, Associate Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies
University of London

The happiness I feel in encountering old movies about dual-heritage characters and communities is inevitably marred by the regurgitation of tired and offensive stereotypes about these individuals. The 1956 film Bhowani Junction, based on John Masters’ 1954 novel of the same title, is no exception. However the film is fascinating in spite of these stereotypes because it ultimately, and belatedly, makes a powerful statement about the rights of those of mixed heritage to self-identify…

Read the entire article here.

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Between Two Worlds: Racial Identity in Alice Perrin’s The Stronger Claim

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2015-11-27 01:55Z by Steven

Between Two Worlds: Racial Identity in Alice Perrin’s The Stronger Claim

Victorian Literature and Culture
Volume 42, Special Issue 3, September 2014
pages 491-508
DOI: 10.1017/S1060150314000114

Melissa Edmundson Makala
University of South Carolina

Like many Anglo-Indian novelists of her generation, Alice Perrin (1867–1934) gained fame through the publication and popular reception of several domestic novels based in India and England. However, within the traditional Anglo-Indian romance plot, Perrin often incorporated subversive social messages highlighting racial and cultural problems prevalent in India during the British Raj. Instead of relying solely on one-dimensional, sentimental British heroes and heroines, Perrin frequently chose non-British protagonists who reminded her contemporary readers of very real Anglo-Indian racial inequalities they might wish to forget. In The Stronger Claim (1903), Perrin creates a main character who has a mixed-race background, but who, contrary to prevailing public opinion of the time, is a multi-dimensional, complex, and perhaps most importantly, sympathetic character positioned between two worlds. Even as Victorian India was coming to an end, many of the problems that had plagued the British Raj intensified in the early decades of the twentieth century. Perrin’s novel is one of the earliest attempts to present a sympathetic and heroic mixed-race protagonist, one whose presence asked readers to question the lasting negative effects of race relations and racial identity in both India and England.

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The legend of Merle

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Media Archive, Oceania, Passing, Women on 2015-11-11 02:33Z by Steven

The legend of Merle

The Age
Docklands, Victoria, Australia
2002-08-21


Merle Oberon (1943)

She was one of the most glamorous stars of the 1930s and ’40s. A screen siren with smouldering looks, exotic features and almond-shaped eyes. Merle Oberon was described as graceful and hauntingly beautiful.

On her ascent, in 1939, she captivated the world in the box office Hollywood hit, Wuthering Heights, playing Cathy opposite Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff.

From the other side of the globe, Tasmanians glowed with pride. Oberon, according to a biography that read like a Hollywood film script, had been born in Hobart, the daughter of an upper-class white colonial family. She left Tasmania for India after her distinguished father died in a hunting accident, and was raised there by aristocratic godparents.

If Errol Flynn was the island state’s favourite son, Merle Oberon was its treasured daughter. In 1978, the Hobart Town Hall hosted a function attended by well-known local identities to welcome her back. Decades later, Tasmanians proudly recount stories and anecdotes about the hometown girl who blazed her way to Hollywood. Only Oberon wasn’t born in Tasmania. She was Anglo-Indian

Read the entire article here.

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Racial Passing and the Raj

Posted in Asian Diaspora, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Passing on 2015-01-02 03:10Z by Steven

Racial Passing and the Raj

American Historical Association
129th Annual Meeting
New York, New York
2015-01-02 through 2015-01-05

Saturday, 2015-01-03, 15:10 EST (Local Time)
Park Suite 3 (Sheraton New York)

Uther Charlton-Stevens
Volgograd State University, Volgograd, Russia

Racial passing is a subject that has attracted much attention in the historiography of the Americas, as well as other settings such as South Africa. It has hitherto been overlooked in the South Asian context. Mixed race groups in South Asia have until recently also been largely neglected by historians, while attracting more attention from geographers and anthropologists.

Mixed race groups such as Anglo-Indians have been perceived as marginal, despite existing on the fault line of constructed racial difference. In many ways they embody the colonial connection and the transnational most tangibly, and through their mere presence make problematic the binary of ruler and ruled, colonizer and colonized. The British perceived not only those of mixed race but also poor whites of Indian domicile as undermining their racial prestige in the eyes of their Indian subjects, treating the two groups as essentially one class. However the socio-racial and class-based hierarchies which the British sought to erect and to police motivated widespread attempts at transgression, resulting in widespread passing in hopes of upward mobility along the spectrum from Indian Christians to mixed-race Anglo-Indians to supposedly unmixed Domiciled Europeans and even into the ranks of the British population, such as those who came out to take senior positions on the railways. This world of racial mixing and transgression was one which the British found unsettling and which later Indian Hindu nationalists, concerned with concepts of purity, also had reasons to overlook. Exploring racial passing across the boundaries erected by the Raj should yield us far greater insight into the nature of race in late colonial India and the lasting impact of the imperial presence.

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