The Possible South: Documentary Film and the Limitations of Biraciality

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-11-29 01:39Z by Steven

The Possible South: Documentary Film and the Limitations of Biraciality

University Press of Mississippi
2015-11-09
288 pages
6 x 9 inches
38 b&w illustrations, bibliography, index
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496804082

R. Bruce Brasell
Birmingham, Alabama

Using cultural theory, author R. Bruce Brasell investigates issues surrounding the discursive presentation of the American South as biracial and explores its manifestation in documentary films, including such works as Tell about the South, bro‚ÄĘken/ground, and Family Name. After considering the emergence of the region’s biraciality through a consideration of the concepts of racial citizenry and racial performativity, Brasell examines two problems associated with this framework. First, the framework assumes racial purity, and, second, it assumes that two races exist. In other words, biraciality enacts two denials, first, the existence of miscegenation in the region and, second, the existence of other races and ethnicities.

Brasell considers bodily miscegenation, discussing the racial closet and the southeastern expatriate road film. Then he examines cultural miscegenation through the lens of racial poaching and 1970s southeastern documentaries that use redemptive ethnography. In the subsequent chapters, using specific documentary films, he considers the racial in-betweenness of Spanish-speaking ethnicities (Mosquitoes and High Water, Living in America, and Nuestra Communidad), probes issues related to the process of racial negotiation experienced by Asian Americans as they seek a racial position beyond the black and white binary (Mississippi Triangle), and engages the problem of racial legitimacy confronted by federally non-recognized Native groups as they attempt the same feat (Real Indian).

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