Passing, Identity and Race

Posted in Audio, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-04-18 00:32Z by Steven

Passing, Identity and Race

New York, New York

WNYC Newsroom

When Anita Florence Hemmings applied to attend Vassar College in upstate New York in 1893, she did not disclose her racial identity to the school. She passed as a white student for years before eventually being outed as a black woman shortly before graduation, after her white roommate’s family hired a private detective to investigate her background.

“Even though Vassar allows her to graduate after she’s been outed to the (college) president, she becomes the subject of a national scandal,” Vassar film professor Mia Mask told WNYC’s Jami Floyd. “And she’s worried that she will be unemployable after her time at Vassar.”

Now, Hemmings’s story is helping to launch a deeper conversation at the college. The conference, Quiet As It’s Kept; Passing Subjects, Contested Identities, runs from Friday Apr. 5 through Sunday Apr. 7.

For the professors coordinating the event, the topic spins off related discussions.

“Part of what happens when we start talking about passing and how we perform our identities is that we also get into a conversation about authenticity,” said English professor Hiram Perez. “It also brings us into this complex conversation about the different ways that we police one another.”

The conference is slated to include presentations about many forms of passing pertaining to race, sexuality, gender, ability, religion, and class.

Listen to the story (00:07:56) here.

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Poitier Revisited: Reconsidering a Black Icon in the Obama Age

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2015-08-08 05:10Z by Steven

Poitier Revisited: Reconsidering a Black Icon in the Obama Age

Bloomsbury Publishing
288 pages
25 bw illus
229 x 152 mm
Hardback ISBN: 9781623564919

Edited by:

Ian Gregory Strachan, Associate Professor of English
College of The Bahamas

Mia Mask, Associate Professor of Film
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York

Sidney Poitier remains one of the most recognizable black men in the world. Widely celebrated but at times criticized for the roles he played during a career that spanned 60 years, there can be no comprehensive discussion of black men in American film, and no serious analysis of 20th century American film history that excludes him. Poitier Revisited offers a fresh interrogation of the social, cultural and political significance of the Poitier oeuvre. The contributions explore the broad spectrum of critical issues summoned up by Poitier’s iconic work as actor, director and filmmaker. Despite his stature, Poitier has actually been under-examined in film criticism generally. This work reconsiders his pivotal role in film and American race relations, by arguing persuasively, that even in this supposedly ‘post-racial’ moment of Barack Obama, the struggles, aspirations, anxieties, and tensions Poitier’s films explored are every bit as relevant today as when they were first made.

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures
  • Acknowledgements
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Introduction
  • 1. Walking with Kings: Poitier, King, and Obama / Aram Goudsouzian, University of Memphis, USA
  • 2. Historicizing the Shadows and Acts: No Way Out and the Imagining of Black Activist Communities / Ryan De Rosa, Los Angeles Public Schools, USA
  • 3. Caribbean All-Stars: Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, and the Rise of the African-American Leading Man / Belinda Edmondson, Professor of English and African-American & African Studies, USA
  • 4. “Draggin’ the Chain”: Linking Civil Rights and African American Representation in The Defiant Ones and In the Heat of the Night / Emma Hamilton and Troy Saxby, University of Newcastle, Australia
  • 5. Whisper Campaign on Catfish Row: Sidney Poitier and Porgy and Bess / Jeff Smith, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
  • 6. To Sir, With Love: A Black British Perspective / Mark Christian, Lehman College, USA
  • 7. Transgression or Legal Union?: The Meaning of Interracial Marriage in 1967 Film and Law / Kim Warren, University of Kansas, USA
  • 8. A Blues the Tom: Sidney Poitier’s Filmic Sexual Identities / Ian Gregory Strachan, College of The Bahamas, Bahamas
  • 9. Black Masculinity on Horseback: From Duel at Diablo to Buck and the Preacher and beyond / Mia Mask, Vassar College, USA
  • 10. Stepping Behind the Camera: Sidney Poitier’s Directorial Career / Keith Corson, Rhodes College and Memphis College of Art, USA
  • 11. No Shafts, Super Flys, or Foxy Browns: Sidney Poitier’s Uptown Saturday Night as Alternative to Blaxploitation Cinema” / Novotny Lawrence, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, USA
  • 12. Transcending Paul Poitier: Six Degrees of Separation and the Construction of Will Smith / Willie Tolliver, Jr., Agnes Scott College, USA
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