The Somatechnics of Whiteness and Race: Colonialism and Mestiza Privilege

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania, Social Science, United States on 2015-05-10 23:58Z by Steven

The Somatechnics of Whiteness and Race: Colonialism and Mestiza Privilege

May 2015
186 pages
234 x 156 mm
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4724-5307-5
eBook PDF ISBN: 978-1-4724-5308-2
eBook ePUB ISBN: 978-1-4724-5309-9

Elaine Marie Carbonell Laforteza, Lecturer in Cultural Studies
Macquarie University, Australia

Investigating the emergence of a specific mestiza/mestizo whiteness that facilitates relations between the Philippines and Western nations, this book examines the ways in which the construction of a particular form of Philippine whiteness serves to deploy positions of exclusion, privilege and solidarity.

Through Filipino, Filipino-Australian, and Filipino-American experiences, the author explores the operation of whiteness, showing how a mixed-race identity becomes the means through which racialised privileges, authority and power are embodied in the Philippine context, and examines the ways in which colonial and imperial technologies of the past frame contemporary practices such as skin-bleaching, the use of different languages, discourses of bilateral relations, secularism, development, and the movement of Filipino, Australian and American bodies between and within nations.

Drawing on key ideas expressed in critical race and whiteness studies, together with the theoretical concepts of somatechnics, biopolitics and governmentality, The Somatechnics of Whiteness and Race sheds light on the impact of colonial and imperial histories on contemporary international relations, and calls for a ‘queering’ or resignification of whiteness, which acknowledges permutations of whiteness fostered within national boundaries, as well as through various nation-state alliances and fractures. As such, it will appeal to scholars of cultural studies, sociology and politics with interests in whiteness, postcolonialism and race.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Series Editor’s Preface
  • 1. Introduction: the Routes of Mestiza Whiteness
  • 2. The Use and Limits of Colonial Mentality
  • 3. Providing a New Framework: Tracking Colonialism and Imperialism
  • 4. Somatechnologies of the Mestiza/o Self: Skin Colour and Language
  • 5. Mestiza/o Whiteness and Anglo-Australian Whiteness: Post-9/11 Somatechnologies of State and Secularism
  • 6. The Biopolitical Fracture: Deportation and Detention
  • 7. Bearing Witness to Racialised Norms: Challenges and Queer Interventions
  • Epilogue: To Remember and to Re-member
  • References
  • Index
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Racial Prescriptions: Pharmaceuticals, Difference, and the Politics of Life

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy on 2015-05-10 17:09Z by Steven

Racial Prescriptions: Pharmaceuticals, Difference, and the Politics of Life

September 2014
148 pages
234 x 156 mm
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4094-4498-5
eBook PDF ISBN: 978-1-4094-4499-2
eBook ePUB ISBN: 978-1-4724-0107-6

Jonathan Xavier Inda, Associate Professor of Latina/Latino Studies
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

In the contemporary United States, matters of life and health have become key political concerns. Important to this politics of life is the desire to overcome racial inequalities in health; from heart disease to diabetes, the populations most afflicted by a range of illnesses are racialized minorities. The solutions generally proposed to the problem of racial health disparities have been social and environmental in nature, but in the wake of the mapping of the human genome, genetic thinking has come to have considerable influence on how such inequalities are problematized. Racial Prescriptions explores the politics of dealing with health inequities through targeting pharmaceuticals at specific racial groups based on the idea that they are genetically different. Drawing on the introduction of BiDil to treat heart failure among African Americans, this book contends that while racialized pharmaceuticals are ostensibly about fostering life, they also raise thorny questions concerning the biologization of race, the reproduction of inequality, and the economic exploitation of the racial body.

Engaging the concept of biopower in an examination of race, genetics and pharmaceuticals, Racial Prescriptions will appeal to sociologists, anthropologists and scholars of science and technology studies with interests in medicine, health, bioscience, inequality and racial politics.


  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. Racial politics of life
  • 2. The making of BiDil
  • 3. Biosocial citizenship
  • 4. Enlightened geneticization of race
  • 5. Racial vital value
  • 6. Neoliberalization of life
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Black Beauty: Aesthetics, Stylization, Politics

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United Kingdom, Women on 2010-05-07 19:59Z by Steven

Black Beauty: Aesthetics, Stylization, Politics

March 2009
188 pages
234 x 156 mm
188 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-7546-7145-9
eBook ISBN: ISBN 978-0-7546-9140-2

Shirley Anne Tate, Professor of Sociology
Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom

Previous work discussing Black beauty has tended to concentrate on Black women’s search for white beauty as a consequence of racialization. Without denying either the continuation of such aesthetics or their enduring power, this book uncovers the cracks in this hegemonic Black beauty.

Drawing on detailed ethnographic research amongst British women of Caribbean heritage, this volume pursues a broad discussion of beauty within the Black diaspora contexts of the Caribbean, the UK, the United States and Latin America through different historical periods to the present day. With a unique exploration of beauty, race and identity politics, the author reveals how Black women themselves speak about, negotiate, inhabit, work on and perform Black beauty. As such, it will appeal not only to sociologists, but anyone working in the fields of race, ethnicity and post-colonial thought, feminism and the sociology of the body.

Table of Contents

‘Beauty comes from within’: or does it?
Anti-racist aesthetics in the 21st century: the matter of hair
‘Race’, beauty and melancholia: shade
The shame of beauty is its transformative potential
The ‘browning’, straighteners, and fake tan
Hybrid black beauty?
Conclusion: is it all stylization and is there a need for black beauty citizenship?

Read the introduction here.

What is beauty?
Writing a book on Black beauty has made me face many challenges. One of these has been unease about knowing just where to start when looking at beauty itself. Should I start with Rastafarianism as a Jamaican or should I start with Ivan Van Sertima’s (1989) Black Women in Antiquity or should I start with the words of Black British women who participated in my research? As you would expect, I suppose, knowing that I am an ethnographer, women’s words are my first port of call. When I asked Ray, a twenty-three-year-old Black ‘mixed race’ British student what Black beauty meant to her she replied:

Black beauty to me is – it’s a tricky question. But I think a really beautiful Black woman or a ‘mixed race’ woman out of them all is the one that has the potential to be stunning. My ideas of Black and beautiful I would say that they originate from my mother’s side of the family also the media probably influenced it. Being at home in Jamaica, what I call home in Jamaica and also even here which has a high Black population and even just within myself as well. Accepting myself as being beautiful I believe was a big step in knowing more about and having ideas on what Black and beautiful are especially from childhood experiences as an example because I grew up in a predominantly white neighbourhood. When I was eleven or twelve I met my best friend and I started to chill with her etc. and go over to Hud and I discovered that my hair, my nose, my lips, my skin colour, everything was actually beautiful and normal if anything above normal standards, normal or better than the norms that I was used to. That is, white straight hair, thin lips you know all that kind of thing, even the colour of the eyes, blue eyes.

With these words Ray orients us to the difficulty of defining once and for all what Black beauty is or could be claimed to be. Instead she points out its complexities when she first says that beauty is about having the potential to be stunning as she makes it clear that beauty is about an appeal to the senses and a judgement is made based on that appeal. For her such judgements have a context in her home in Jamaica, her mother’s family, Black community acknowledgement and acceptance of your beauty, your own acceptance of yourself as beautiful and a continuing uneasy interconnectedness with ideals of white beauty. Black beauty then is lodged in diasporic sociality, sensibilities and processes of transculturation. It is also about racialized aesthetics, the link between the psyche and the social mediated by the surface of the skin and a process of self discovery throughout one’s life…

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