Shades of Gray: Writing the New American Multiracialism

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, United States on 2018-12-03 04:19Z by Steven

Shades of Gray: Writing the New American Multiracialism

University of Nebraska Press
December 2018
348 pages, index
Hardcover: 978-0-8032-9681-7

Molly Littlewood McKibbin, Assistant Professor of Instruction
English and Creative Writing Department
Columbia College Chicago

Shades of Gray

In Shades of Gray Molly Littlewood McKibbin offers a social and literary history of multiracialism in the twentieth-century United States. She examines the African American and white racial binary in contemporary multiracial literature to reveal the tensions and struggles of multiracialism in American life through individual consciousness, social perceptions, societal expectations, and subjective struggles with multiracial identity.

McKibbin weaves a rich sociohistorical tapestry around the critically acclaimed works of Danzy Senna, Caucasia (1998); Rebecca Walker, Black White and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self (2001); Emily Raboteau, The Professor’s Daughter (2005); Rachel M. Harper, Brass Ankle Blues (2006); and Heidi Durrow, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky (2010). Taking into account the social history of racial classification and the literary history of depicting mixed race, she argues that these writers are producing new representations of multiracial identity.

Shades of Gray examines the current opportunity to define racial identity after the civil rights, black power, and multiracial movements of the late twentieth century changed the sociopolitical climate of the United States and helped revolutionize the racial consciousness of the nation. McKibbin makes the case that twenty-first-century literature is able to represent multiracial identities for the first time in ways that do not adhere to the dichotomous conceptions of race that have, until now, determined how racial identities could be expressed in the United States.

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The JCMRS inaugural issue will be released Summer, 2013

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2013-03-18 03:35Z by Steven

The JCMRS inaugural issue will be released on Summer, 2013

Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies
c/o Department of Sociology
SSMS Room 3005
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California  93106-9430
E-Mail: socjcmrs@soc.ucsb.edu
2012-10-10

The Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies (JCMRS) is a peer-reviewed online journal dedicated to developing the field of Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS) through rigorous scholarship. Launched in 2011, it is the first academic journal explicitly focused on Critical Mixed Race Studies.

JCMRS is transracial, transdisciplinary, and transnational in focus and emphasizes the critical analysis of the institutionalization of social, cultural, and political orders based on dominant conceptions and constructions of ‘race.’ JCMRS emphasizes the constructed nature and thus mutability of race and the porosity of racial boundaries in order to critique processes of racialization and social stratification based on race. JCMRS addresses local and global systemic injustices rooted in systems of racialization.

Sponsored by University of California, Santa Barbara’s Sociology Department, JCMRS is hosted on the eScholarship Repository, which is part of the eScholarship initiative of the California Digital Library. JCMRS functions as an open-access forum for critical mixed race studies scholars and will be available without cost to anyone with access to the Internet.


Volume 1, Issue 1, Spring 2013 will include:

Articles

  1. “Historical Origins of the One-Drop Racial Rule in the United States”—Winthrop Jordan edited by Paul Spickard
  2. “Retheorizing the Relationship Between New Mestizaje and New Multiraciality as Mixed Race Identity Models”—Jessie Turner
  3. “Critical Mixed Race Studies: New Directions in the Politics of Race and Representation,” Keynote Address presented at the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, November 5, 2010, DePaul UniversityAndrew Jolivétte
  4. “Only the News We Want to Print”—Rainier Spencer
  5. “The Current State of Multiracial Discourse”—Molly McKibbin
  6. “Slimy Subjects and Neoliberal Goods”—Daniel McNeil

Editorial Board

Founding Editors: G. Reginald Daniel, Wei Ming Dariotis, Laura Kina, Maria P. P. Root, and Paul Spickard

Editor-in-Chief: G. Reginald Daniel

Managing Editors: Wei Ming Dariotis and Laura Kina

Editorial Review Board: Stanley R. Bailey, Mary C. Beltrán, David Brunsma, Greg Carter, Kimberly McClain DaCosta, Michele Elam, Camilla Fojas, Peter Fry, Kip Fulbeck, Rudy Guevarra, Velina Hasu Houston, Kevin R. Johnson, Andrew Jolivette, Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain, Laura A. Lewis, Kristen A. Renn, Maria P. P. Root, Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, Gary B. Nash, Kent A. Ono, Rita Simon, Miri Song, Rainier Spencer, Michael Thornton, Peter Wade, France Winddance Twine, Teresa Williams-León, and Naomi Zack

For more information, click here.

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Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out (review) [McKibbin]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Canada, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2012-11-12 22:29Z by Steven

Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out (review) [McKibbin]

University of Toronto Quarterly
Volume 81, Number 3, Summer 2012
pages 704-705
DOI: 10.1353/utq.2012.0140

Molly Littlewood McKibbin

Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out by Adebe De Rango-Adem and Andrea Thompson, eds.(Inanna Publications, 2010)

DeRango-Adem and Thompson’s new collection of the artistic, autobiographical, and scholarly work of almost seventy women performs the important task of bridging the gap between late twentieth-century mixed-race writing and more contemporary work. Their text demonstrates the changes multiracial discourse has undergone and is undergoing. Other Tongues addresses the important concerns that dominated multiracial discourse in North America in the final decades of the twentieth century, which, as the contributions illustrate, are still quite relevant to the experiences of both older and younger multiracial women. Prominent recurring themes include belonging; racial inclusion and exclusion; identity formation; racism; physical appearance; the continuing prevalence of the ‘what are you/where are you from?’ question; the relationships between race, culture, and ethnicity; and the relationship of ‘colour’ to whiteness. Although some writers do not further these issues beyond what earlier collections have already done, others take them up in ways that renew older ideas with fresh perspectives. Many contributions touch on issues that are central to ongoing multiracial discourses, including gender, sexuality, class, migration, transracial adoption, single parenting, families consisting of multiracial parents, the rhetoric of ‘post-racialism,’ and the impact of Barack Obama as a public figure.

As Amber Jamilla Musser argues, race is ‘all about context,’ and this collection makes a concerted effort to include work arising out of many different contexts. Through contributors from a large variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds working in a range of genres – including autobiographical essays, narrative sketches, poetry, drama, scholarly essays, and visual art (unfortunately not printed in colour) – Other Tongues offers diverse voices that explore multiracial experience in North America (a necessarily limited geographical region, as the editors acknowledge). The exclusive engagement with women’s voices is, the editors explain, the result of a commitment to the goals of women’s studies. But while Carol Camper’s preface (itself rather troubling in its uncritical adoption of conventional notions of authenticity) signals DeRango-Adem and Thompson’s debt to her 1994 collection of women’s writing, Miscegenation Blues: Voices of Mixed Race Women, and while the desire to offer a forum in which women’s voices can be heard is clear, the absence of men’s experiences is at times a notable lack. Since multiracial discourse is in many ways a product of critical race theory and, consequently, is dependent on the ‘storytelling’ of racialized individuals as a way of approaching matters of race, the absence of male contributors seems limiting. While the editors’ choice is made explicit, the collection is presented in a way that suggests it is quite straightforwardly a text grappling with multiracialism that happens to include only women. Since contemporary North American multiracial theory, scholarship, and cultural production have never been dominated by men, there is no immediately apparent reason to focus on women to the exclusion of men.

However, the most significant feature of the volume is that it exhibits clearly the complicated set of variables that affect the experiences and identities of racialized figures, and several of the contributions are especially insightful. The blend of contributors of different ages and from different class, educational, regional, and cultural backgrounds aids the project of multiracial discourse, which is perhaps best defined by its heterogeneity. This collection is helpful since the importance of hearing a variety of voices is essential for resisting the homogenizing process of racialization in North American society. As Jackie Wang explains, ‘I write because I believe that it means something, because I have a story, although it is not the story,’ and, indeed, the multitude of ‘stories’ in Other Tongues demonstrates the differences within ‘mixed race’ even as it identifies similarities.

Although the content of the book does not really break new ground, the editors foster an unusual dialogue between their contributors that emphasizes the important links among ‘real life,’ art, politics, and the academy. A strength of the collection is that because it…

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Shades of gray: Black-white multiracialism in contemporary American literature

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2011-06-05 03:51Z by Steven

Shades of gray: Black-white multiracialism in contemporary American literature

York University (Canada)
2011
294 pages
Publication Number: AAT NR71345
ISBN: 9780494713457

Molly Littlewood McKibbin

A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies in English in partial fulfillment of the requirments for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

The American construction of whiteness and blackness as dichotomous racial categories and subsequent black refashioning of the one-drop rule as a method of empowering and mobilizing African Americans have meant that whiteness has developed in terms of purity (and not-blackness) while blackness has absorbed mixture into one racial category. However, since the Civil Rights Movement and the Multiracial Movement (begun shortly after the Loving v. Virginia decision invalidated antimiscegenation laws in 1967), American treatment of racial mixture has undergone consistent change. My dissertation addresses how literature at the turn of the millennium ultimately offers a new exploration of black-white multiracialism. I examine four texts in detail: Danzy Senna’s Caucasia (1998), Rebecca Walker’s Black White and Jewish (2001), Emily Raboteau’s The Professor’s Daughter (2005), and Rachel Harper’s Brass Ankle Blues (2006).

The introduction outlines the historical development of racial blackness in the U.S. and traces the possibilities and limitations of racial identity for multiracial figures throughout African American literary history. In the first chapter, I analyze more recent multiracial theory and advocacy to establish and critique the state of current discourse surrounding (multi)racial identity and also examine the ways in which contemporary writers depict the negotiation of racial identity within a new social climate that permits self-identification but still clings to recognized labels. In the second chapter, I use white studies and an understanding of the historical development of racial whiteness in the U.S. to analyze how contemporary writing is transforming the apparent homogeneity of whiteness into a heterogeneous classification by racializing and diversifying the otherwise normative, generic category of whiteness. In the third chapter, I use the context of black racial identity politics to analyze the difficulty multiracial figures have in claiming blackness, since on the one hand they are “not black enough” to claim blackness and on the other they are seen as “race traitors” for not claiming monoracial blackness.

My research emphasizes that multiracial discourse is still in its formative stages but is working towards articulating multiracial identities and writing them into the American literary landscape even if current literature can only gesture towards such identities at present.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Black and White in the United States
  • Chapter One: “What are you, anyway?”: Mixture, Identity Formation, and the Social Context of Race Classification
  • Chapter Two: Racializin’ and Diversifyin’: Negotiating Whiteness
  • Chapter Three: “Black Like Me”: Negotiating Blackness
  • Conclusion: The (Continuing) Work of Multiracial Literature
  • Bibliography

Purchase the dissertation here.

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