Mixed Race Cinemas Multiracial Dynamics in America and France

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Passing, United States, Women on 2017-08-09 15:42Z by Steven

Mixed Race Cinemas Multiracial Dynamics in America and France

Bloomsbury
2017-09-07
216 pages
10 bw illus
6″ x 9″
Hardback ISBN: 9781501312458
EPUB eBook ISBN: 9781501312489
PDF eBook ISBN: 9781501312465

Zélie Asava, Lecturer and Programme Director of Video and Film
Dundalk Institute of Technology, Louth, Ireland

Using critical race theory and film studies to explore the interconnectedness between cinema and society, Zélie Asava traces the history of mixed-race representations in American and French filmmaking from early and silent cinema to the present day. Mixed Race Cinemas covers over a hundred years of filmmaking to chart the development of (black/white) mixed representations onscreen. With the 21st century being labelled the Mulatto Millennium, mixed bodies are more prevalent than ever in the public sphere, yet all too often they continue to be positioned as exotic, strange and otherworldly, according to ‘tragic mulatto‘ tropes. This book evaluates the potential for moving beyond fixed racial binaries both onscreen and off by exploring actors and characters who embody the in-between. Through analyses of over 40 movies, and case studies of key films from the 1910s on, Mixed Race Cinemas illuminates landmark shifts in local and global cinema, exploring discourses of subjectivity, race, gender, sexuality and class. In doing so, it reveals the similarities and contrasts between American and French cinema in relation to recognising, visualising and constructing mixedness. Mixed Race Cinemas contextualizes and critiques raced and ‘post-race’ visual culture, using cinematic representations to illustrate changing definitions of mixed identity across different historical and geographical contexts.

Contents

  • Introduction
    • 1. Race and Ideology
    • 2. Mixed-Race Cinema Histories
    • 3. Interrogating Terminology
    • 4. Methodology and Frameworks
    • 5. Mixed-Race Spaces in French and American Cinema
    • 6. Franco-American Narratives and Beur Cinema
    • 7. Summary of Chapters
  • Chapter One: the Mixed Question
    • 1. Language, Representation and Casting
    • 2. The Historical Mulatta Screen Stereotype in America
    • 3. The Historical Mulatta Screen Stereotype in France
  • Chapter Two: Hollywood’s ‘Passing‘ Narratives
    • 1. ‘Passing’ Representations as Ideological Construct
    • 2. The Dichotomies of Post-War Mixed-Race Women Onscreen
    • 3. Gender, ‘Passing’ and Love
  • Chapter Three: The Limits of the Classic Hollywood ‘Tragic Mulatta’
    • 1. Imitation of Life (1934): Interrogating Mixed Identities
    • 2. Casting and Representation
    • 3. Shadows and the Interracial Family
    • 4. Imitation of Life, 1959: Gender, Difference and Voiced Rebellion
    • 5. Performative Identities: Sara Jane, Dandridge and Monroe
  • Chapter Four: Cultural Shifts: New Waves in Racial Representation
    • 1. Representing ‘Mixed-Race France’
    • 2. Reimagining the Nation: Mixed Families
    • 3. Questioning Mixed Masculinity: Les Trois frères
    • 4. Melodrama, Motherhood and Masks: Métisse
    • 5. Racial-Sexual Mythology and the Interracial Family
  • Chapter Five: Transnational Families in Drôle de Félix
    • 1. A Search for Identity on the Road
    • 2. Citizenship, Violence and Scopophilia
    • 3. Trauma and Redemption
    • 4. Destabilising the Primary Authority of the Father
    • 5. Reuniting Transnational Families
  • Conclusion
    • 1. ‘Post-Race’ Politics in America and France
    • 2. Enduring Stereotypes
    • 3. Mixed-Race Sci-Fi
    • 4. Mixed Representational Potentials
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Black and French: ‘Mariannes Noires’ film explores the intersections of identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Media Archive, Videos on 2017-02-17 21:08Z by Steven

Black and French: ‘Mariannes Noires’ film explores the intersections of identity

AfroPunk
2017-02-16

T. McLendon

The African diaspora reaches to every corner of the earth and in the Western world Black identity is often formed within the context of white supremacy, white nationalism, and white majorities. For Black people learning, growing and living in France, the intersections of race, class, immigration, and nationality all color their upbringing and everyday lives and new film “Mariannes Noires” aims to dive headfirst into these experiences. Directors Mame-Fatou Niang and Kaytie Nielsen follow seven French woman of African and Caribbean origins of various professions and try to extract what binds them beyond their Blackness…

Read the entire article here.

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Unmaking Race and Ethnicity: A Reader

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Barack Obama, Books, Brazil, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Law, Media Archive, Mexico, Religion, Slavery, Social Justice, Social Science, Teaching Resources, United States on 2017-01-30 01:51Z by Steven

Unmaking Race and Ethnicity: A Reader

Oxford University Press
2016-07-20
512 Pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9780190202712

Edited by:

Michael O. Emerson, Provost and Professor of Sociology
North Park University
also Senior Fellow at Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Jenifer L. Bratter, Associate Professor of Sociology; Director of the Program for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Culture at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research
Rice University, Houston, Texas

Sergio Chávez, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rice University, Houston, Texas

Race and ethnicity is a contentious topic that presents complex problems with no easy solutions. (Un)Making Race and Ethnicity: A Reader, edited by Michael O. Emerson, Jenifer L. Bratter, and Sergio Chávez, helps instructors and students connect with primary texts in ways that are informative and interesting, leading to engaging discussions and interactions. With more than thirty collective years of teaching experience and research in race and ethnicity, the editors have chosen selections that will encourage students to think about possible solutions to solving the problem of racial inequality in our society. Featuring global readings throughout, (Un)Making Race and Ethnicity covers both race and ethnicity, demonstrating how they are different and how they are related. It includes a section dedicated to unmaking racial and ethnic orders and explains challenging concepts, terms, and references to enhance student learning.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • UNIT I. Core Concepts and Foundations
    • What Is Race? What Is Ethnicity? What Is the Difference?
      • Introduction, Irina Chukhray and Jenifer Bratter
      • 1. Constructing Ethnicity: Creating and Recreating Ethnic Identity and Culture, Joane Nagel
      • 2. The Racialization of Kurdish Identity in Turkey, Murat Ergin
      • 3. Who Counts as “Them?”: Racism and Virtue in the United States and France, Michèle Lamont
      • 4. Mexican Immigrant Replenishment and the Continuing Significance of Ethnicity and Race, Tomás R. Jiménez
    • Why Race Matters
      • Introduction, Laura Essenburg and Jenifer Bratter
      • 5. Excerpt from Racial Formation in the United States From the 1960s to the 1990s, Michael Omi and Howard Winant
      • 6. Structural and Cultural Forces that Contribute to Racial Inequality, William Julius Wilson
      • 7. From Traditional to Liberal Racism: Living Racism in the Everyday, Margaret M. Zamudio and Francisco Rios
      • 8. Policing and Racialization of Rural Migrant Workers in Chinese Cities, Dong Han
      • 9. Why Group Membership Matters: A Critical Typology, Suzy Killmister
    • What Is Racism? Does Talking about Race and Ethnicity Make Things Worse?
      • Introduction, Laura Essenburg and Jenifer Bratter
      • 10. What Is Racial Domination?, Matthew Desmond and Mustafa Emirbayer
      • 11. Discursive Colorlines at Work: How Epithets and Stereotypes are Racially Unequal, David G. Embrick and Kasey Henricks
      • 12. When Ideology Clashes with Reality: Racial Discrimination and Black Identity in Contemporary Cuba, Danielle P. Clealand
      • 13. Raceblindness in Mexico: Implications for Teacher Education in the United States, Christina A. Sue
  • UNIT II. Roots: Making Race and Ethnicity
    • Origins of Race and Ethnicity
      • Introduction, Adriana Garcia and Michael Emerson
      • 14. Antecedents of the Racial Worldview, Audrey Smedley and Brian Smedley
      • 15. Building the Racist Foundation: Colonialism, Genocide, and Slavery, Joe R. Feagin
      • 16. The Racialization of the Globe: An Interactive Interpretation, Frank Dikötter
    • Migrations
      • Introduction, Sandra Alvear
      • 17. Excerpt from Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945, George J. Sánchez
      • 18. Migration to Europe since 1945: Its History and Its Lessons, Randall Hansen
      • 19. When Identities Become Modern: Japanese Emigration to Brazil and the Global Contextualization of Identity, Takeyuki (Gaku) Tsuda
    • Ideologies
      • Introduction, Junia Howell
      • 20. Excerpt from Racism: A Short History, George M. Fredrickson
      • 21. Understanding Latin American Beliefs about Racial Inequality, Edward Telles and Stanley Bailey
      • 22. Buried Alive: The Concept of Race in Science, Troy Duster
  • Unit III. Today: Remaking Race and Ethnicity
    • Aren’t We All Just Human? How Race and Ethnicity Help Us Answer the Question
      • Introduction, Adriana Garcia
      • 23. Young Children Learning Racial and Ethnic Matters, Debra Van Ausdale and Joe R. Feagin
      • 24. When White Is Just Alright: How Immigrants Redefine Achievement and Reconfigure the Ethnoracial Hierarchy, Tomás R. Jiménez and Adam L. Horowitz
      • 25. From Bi-Racial to Tri-Racial: Towards a New System of Racial Stratification in the USA, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
      • 26. Indigenism, Mestizaje, and National Identity in Mexico during the 1940s and the 1950s, Anne Doremus
    • The Company You Keep: How Ethnicity and Race Frame Social Relationships
      • Introduction, William Rothwell
      • 27. Who We’ll Live With: Neighborhood Racial Composition Preferences of Whites, Blacks and Latinos, Valerie A. Lewis, Michael O. Emerson, and Stephen L. Klineberg
      • 28. The Costs of Diversity in Religious Organizations: An In-Depth Case Study, Brad Christerson and Michael O. Emerson
    • The Uneven Playing Field: How Race and Ethnicity Impact Life Chances
      • Introduction, Ellen Whitehead and Jenifer Bratter
      • 29. Wealth in the Extended Family: An American Dilemma, Ngina S. Chiteji
      • 30. The Complexities and Processes of Racial Housing Discrimination, Vincent J. Roscigno, Diana L. Karafin, and Griff Tester
      • 31. Racial Segregation and the Black/White Achievement Gap, 1992 to 2009, Dennis J. Condron, Daniel Tope, Christina R. Steidl, and Kendralin J. Freeman
      • 32. Differential Vulnerabilities: Environmental and Economic Inequality and Government Response to Unnatural Disasters, Robert D. Bullard
      • 33. Racialized Mass Incarceration: Poverty, Prejudice, and Punishment, Lawrence D. Bobo and Victor Thompson
  • Unit IV. Unmaking Race and Ethnicity
    • Thinking Strategically
      • Introduction, Junia Howell and Michael Emerson
      • 34. The Return of Assimilation? Changing Perspectives on Immigration and Its Sequels in France, Germany, and the United States, Rogers Brubaker
      • 35. Toward a Truly Multiracial Democracy: Thinking and Acting Outside the White Frame, Joe R. Feagin
      • 36. Destabilizing the American Racial Order, Jennifer Hochschild, Vesla Weaver, and Traci Burch
    • Altering Individuals and Relationships
      • Introduction, Horace Duffy and Jenifer Bratter
      • 37. A More Perfect Union, Barack Obama
      • 38. What Can Be Done?, Debra Van Ausdale and Joe R. Feagin
      • 39. The Multiple Dimensions of Racial Mixture in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: From Whitening to Brazilian Negritude, Graziella Moraes da Silva and Elisa P. Reis
    • Altering Structures
      • Introduction, Kevin T. Smiley and Jenifer Bratter
      • 40. The Case for Reparations, Ta-Nehisi Coates
      • 41. “Undocumented and Citizen Students Unite”: Building a Cross-Status Coalition Through Shared Ideology, Laura E. Enriquez
      • 42. Racial Solutions for a New Society, Michael Emerson and George Yancey
      • 43. DREAM Act College: UCLA Professors Create National Diversity University, Online School for Undocumented Immigrants, Alyssa Creamer
  • Glossary
  • Credits
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Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery on 2016-08-16 01:01Z by Steven

Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic

University of Pennsylvania Press
August 2016
304 pages
6 x 9
6 illus.
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8122-4840-1
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-8122-9306-7

Jennifer L. Palmer, Assistant Professor of History
University of Georgia

Following the stories of families who built their lives and fortunes across the Atlantic Ocean, Intimate Bonds explores how households anchored the French empire and shaped the meanings of race, slavery, and gender in the early modern period. As race-based slavery became entrenched in French laws, all household members in the French Atlantic world —regardless of their status, gender, or race—negotiated increasingly stratified legal understandings of race and gender.

Through her focus on household relationships, Jennifer L. Palmer reveals how intimacy not only led to the seemingly immutable hierarchies of the plantation system but also caused these hierarchies to collapse even before the age of Atlantic revolutions. Placing families at the center of the French Atlantic world, Palmer uses the concept of intimacy to illustrate how race, gender, and the law intersected to form a new worldview. Through analysis of personal, mercantile, and legal relationships, Intimate Bonds demonstrates that even in an era of intensifying racial stratification, slave owners and slaves, whites and people of color, men and women all adapted creatively to growing barriers, thus challenging the emerging paradigm of the nuclear family. This engagingly written history reveals that personal choices and family strategies shaped larger cultural and legal shifts in the meanings of race, slavery, family, patriarchy, and colonialism itself.

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The Leopard Boy, A Novel

Posted in Books, Europe, Media Archive, Novels on 2016-08-10 01:37Z by Steven

The Leopard Boy, A Novel

University of Virginia Press
January 2016 (Originally published in 1999 as L’Enfant Léopard)
304 pages
Paper ISBN: 9780813937908
Cloth ISBN: 9780813937892
Ebook ISBN: 9780813937915

Daniel Picouly

Translated and Afterword by:

Jeanne M. Garane, Professor of French and Comparative Literature
University of South Carolina

October 15, 1793: the eve of Marie-Antoinette’s execution. The Reign of Terror has descended upon revolutionary France, and thousands are beheaded daily under the guillotine. Edmond Coffin and Jonathan Gravedigger, two former soldiers now employed in disposing of the dead, are hired to search the Parisian neighborhood of Haarlem for a mysterious mixed-race “leopard boy,” whose nickname derives from his mottled black-and-white skin. Some would like to see the elusive leopard boy dead, while others wish to save him. Why so much interest in this child? He is rumored to be the son of Marie-Antoinette and a man of color–the Chevalier de Saint-George, perhaps, or possibly Zamor, the slave of Madame du Barry, mistress of Louis XV.

This wildly imaginative and culturally resonant tale by Daniel Picouly audaciously places black and mixed-race characters–including King Mac, creator of the first hamburger, who hands out figures of Voltaire and Rousseau with his happy meals, and the megalomaniac Black Delorme, creator of a slavery theme park–at the forefront of its Revolution-era story. Winner of the Prix Renaudot, one of France’s most prestigious literary awards, this book envisions a “Black France” two hundred years before the term came to describe a nation transformed through its postcolonial immigrant population.

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‘Ladivine,’ by Marie NDiaye

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, Media Archive on 2016-05-09 13:34Z by Steven

‘Ladivine,’ by Marie NDiaye

Book Review
The New York Times
2016-05-05

Patrick McGrath

LADIVINE
By Marie NDiaye
Translated by Jordan Stump
276 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $26.95.

Marie NDiaye is the author of more than a dozen plays and works of fiction. Currently living in Berlin, having left France in 2009, by her own account in disgust at Nicolas Sarkozy’s election to the presidency, she is the daughter of a French mother and a Senegalese father. As yet, she is little known in this country, although at least four of her previous books — including “Three Strong Women,” which won France’s prestigious Prix Goncourt, and “Rosie Carpe,” winner of the Prix Femina — have been translated into English.

NDiaye’s new novel, “Ladivine,” has been elegantly translated by Jordan Stump. It is a work of immense power and mystery, an account of four generations of women, the first of whom, Ladivine Sylla, immigrates from a tropical third-world country to France, where she works as a house cleaner. Her daughter, Malinka, is ashamed of her. As a teenager, Malinka heightens the natural pallor of her face with makeup in order to pass for white, and later she reinvents herself as Clarisse, finding a French husband and taking his name, becoming Clarisse Rivière. She visits her mother in secret, allowing no contact with either her husband or her daughter. This ambivalent relationship is one she both sustains and repudiates…

Read the entire review here.

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The Story of French New Orleans: History of a Creole City

Posted in Books, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2016-01-08 02:24Z by Steven

The Story of French New Orleans: History of a Creole City

University Press of Mississippi
January 2016
208 pages (approx.)
1 map, bibliography, index
6 x 9 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496804860

Dianne Guenin-Lelle, Professor of French
Albion College, Albion, Michigan

Why New Orleans is considered America’s distinctly French city

What is it about the city of New Orleans History, location, and culture, continue to link it to France while distancing it culturally and symbolically from the United States. This book explores the traces of French language, history, and artistic expression that have been present there over the last three hundred years. This volume focuses on the French, Spanish, and American colonial periods to understand the imprint that French socio-cultural dynamic left on the Crescent City.

The migration of Acadians to New Orleans at the time the city became a Spanish dominion and the arrival of Haitian refugees when the city became an American territory oddly reinforced its Francophone identity. However, in the process of establishing itself as an urban space in the antebellum south, the culture of New Orleans became a liability for New Orleans elite after the Louisiana Purchase.

New Orleans and the Caribbean share numerous historical, cultural, and linguistic connections. The book analyzes these connections and the shared process of creolization occurring in New Orleans and throughout the Caribbean Basin. It suggests “French” New Orleans might be understood as a trope for unscripted “original” Creole social and cultural elements. Since being Creole came to connote African descent, the study suggests that an association with France in the minds of whites allowed for a less racially-bound and contested social order within the United States.

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Intermarriage and Integration Revisited: International Experiences and Cross-Disciplinary Approaches

Posted in Articles, Canada, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2015-11-12 16:40Z by Steven

Intermarriage and Integration Revisited: International Experiences and Cross-Disciplinary Approaches

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Volume 662, November 2015

Guest Edited by:

Dan Rodríguez-García, Associate Professor
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Intermarriage has been a subject of study in the social sciences for more than a century.  Conventional wisdom (and some scattered research) holds that intermarriage is important to the  social integration of immigrants and minority peoples in majority cultures and economies, but we still have a great deal to learn about dynamics of intermarriage and integration. Which groups are  more likely to intermarry? Does crossing racial, ethno-cultural, national, religious or class  boundaries at the intimate level lead to greater integration of individuals and groups that have not  been considered part of the societal mainstream?

This special issue of The ANNALS investigates the intermarriage/integration nexus. The  research within shows the extent to which intermarriage is related to pluralism, cultural diversity,  and social inclusion/exclusion in the twenty-first century; we also evaluate the impact that mixed  marriages, families, and individuals have on shaping and transforming modern societies. We  identify patterns and outcomes of intermarriage in both North America and Europe, detecting  boundaries between native majorities and ethnic minorities.

Obviously, intermarriage and mixedness are often deeply entwined with immigration, so we also  scrutinize the relationship between intermarriage and various aspects of immigrant integration,  whether legal, political, economic, social, or cultural. Does intermarriage, in fact, contribute to  immigrant incorporation? How and to what degree? Findings – whether quantitative, qualitative,  or both – are presented in this volume for a wide variety of national contexts: Canada, the United States, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden.

Specific findings include:

  • Race and religion remain significant barriers to societal integration, and deep social cleavages exist even in countries with higher rates of intermarriage. Race is a significant barrier in the United States, and religion – Islam in particular – is a prominent barrier in Western Europe, where even “looking Muslim” is automatically a low-status attribute, making some basic social integration, from housing to employment, automatically more difficult.
  • Diversity has never been greater in the United States, but social integration is context-bound and conditional:
    • White immigrants have an easier time with various forms of integration (e.g. educational attainment, housing, and labor), but the opposite is true for black immigrants, who are less likely to marry black natives or out-marry with other groups.
    • Asian Americans have become the most “marriageable” ethnoracial minority in America. Boundaries to integration in the U.S. for Asians have not disappeared, but the rising multiracial Asian population faces fewer social hurdles. This is particularly true for Asian women, who are seen as more desirable than Asian men, likely because of persistent ethnic stereotypes.
    • The earnings gap between immigrants who marry natives and those who marry other immigrants has increased over time in the U.S.
  • In the U.S. and France, immigrants with high levels of education are more likely to marry natural born citizens.
  • British multiracial people with part white ancestry and their children do not necessarily integrate into the white mainstream.
  • EU citizens generally have a strong identification with Europe – they tend to feel “European” and take pride in being so; this is particularly true of those with a partner from a different EU27 country.
  • The key to integration can lie in children who are products of mixed unions and the role that these families have in shaping societies where plural identities are normalized. In Quebec, for example, parents in mixed unions tend to make decisions that transmit identity, values, and culture to their children in ways that contribute to the “unique social pluralism” of the Quebecois.
  • Immigrants in Canada with Canadian-born partners have similar levels of political engagement as the third-plus generation with Canadian-born partners; however, immigrants with foreign-born partners have lower political participation.
  • The regulation of mixed marriages in the Netherlands has historically been gendered, to the detriment of Dutch women.
  • The link between intermarriage and immigrant integration in Spain is complex and varied: outcomes for some aspects of integration may show a direct connection, while other results indicate either no relationship or a bidirectional association; further, the outcomes may be moderated by factors such as country of origin, gender, or length of residence.
  • The social, cultural, and achievement outcomes for children of mixed marriages in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden are always in between the outcomes for immigrant children and native children, suggesting that mechanisms of both integration and  stigmatization, among other possibilities, play a role.

Together, these studies suggest a more complex picture of the nexus between intermarriage and integration than has traditionally been theorized, composing a portrait of what some scholars are calling “mixedness” – an encompassing concept that refers to intermarriage and mixed families, and the sociocultural processes attendant to them, in the modern world. We find that mixedness can be socially transformative, but also that it illuminates the disheartening persistence of ethnic and cultural divides that hinder inclusion and social cohesion.

Read or purchase this special issue here.

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Brazil through French Eyes: A Nineteenth-Century Artist in the Tropics

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery on 2015-10-22 00:01Z by Steven

Brazil through French Eyes: A Nineteenth-Century Artist in the Tropics

University of New Mexico Press
October 2015
264 pages
59 halftones
6 x 9 in.
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8263-3745-0

Ana Lucia Araujo, Professor of History
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

In 1858 François-Auguste Biard, a well-known sixty-year-old French artist, arrived in Brazil to explore and depict its jungles and the people who lived there. What did he see and how did he see it? In this book historian Ana Lucia Araujo examines Biard’s Brazil with special attention to what she calls his “tropical romanticism”: a vision of the country with an emphasis on the exotic.

Biard was not only one of the first European artists to encounter and depict native Brazilians, but also one of the first travelers to photograph the rain forest and its inhabitants. His 1862 travelogue Deux années en Brésil includes 180 woodcuts that reveal Brazil’s reliance on slave labor as well as describe the landscape, flora, and fauna, with lively narratives of his adventures and misadventures in the rain forest. Thoroughly researched, Araujo places Biard’s work in the context of the European travel writing of the time and examines how representations of Brazil through French travelogues contributed and reinforced cultural stereotypes and ideas about race and race relations in Brazil. She further summarizes that similar representations continue and influence perspectives today.

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France’s Approach to Fighting Racism: Pretty Words and Magical Thinking

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2015-09-29 17:45Z by Steven

France’s Approach to Fighting Racism: Pretty Words and Magical Thinking

The Huffington Post
2015-05-07

Crystal Fleming, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stony Brook University, The State University of New York

I first came to France twelve years ago during my junior year abroad. I was the first person in my family to get a passport and I could barely contain my excitement. In the winter of 2003, two years before the riots that followed the untimely deaths of 15 year old Zyed Benna and 17 year old Bouna Traore, I landed in Paris bright-eyed and bushy tailed, armed with a very shaky grasp of French and a naive fascination with this beautiful country.

As an African-American, I was vaguely aware that France did not deal with issues of race the way we do in the United States. And when I happened to forget, French white people were keen to remind me. In one of the sociology classes I took at a university in the south of France, I hesitantly raised my hand to ask a question. The white French professor had been lecturing on youth and delinquency. I asked, in my broken French, if the dynamics he described had any relation to racial or ethnic belonging. “We don’t have that kind of problem here,” he said, adding: “This isn’t the United States.” Embarrassed and flustered, I nodded and continued taking notes. After class, one of the only other black students pulled me aside: “We do have those kinds of problems here. Hang out with me and I’ll tell you about it.”…

…In France, it is illegal for the government to include race or ethnicity on the census, as doing so is framed as a violation of so-called “Republican” values, which insist that the French Republic is “indivisible” and should not be distinguished in terms of race or ethnic origin. The problem with this is that the majority population fails to acknowledge that the Republic has been making racial and ethnic distinctions for a very long time. This, too, stems from denial and ignorance. The truth is that French people who cherish dominant interpretations of “colorblind” Republicanism help maintain the racial status quo. By refusing to support the collection of statistics that could be used to generate policies and measure their effectiveness, they undermine the work of minorities and activists who are working hard to counteract the tide of Republican denial.

While some argue that France doesn’t need more data to fight racism, this almost argument is never made concerning sexism. Most people are aware that sexism exists, but it would be absurd to say: “We already know sexism exists and therefore don’t need data on gender discrimination..” Yet, this is the same kind of magical thinking that prevails in much of the so-called “anti-racist” discourse one encounters in France…

Read the entire article here.

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