Albums of Inclusion: The Photographic Poetics of Caribbean Chinese Visual Kinship

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2018-08-10 00:06Z by Steven

Albums of Inclusion: The Photographic Poetics of Caribbean Chinese Visual Kinship

Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism
Volume 22, Number 2 (56)
2018-07-01
pages 35-56
DOI: 10.1215/07990537-6985666

Tao Leigh Goffe, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Issue Cover

This essay focuses on artwork that centers family photographs and home movies as a point of departure to trouble the conventional family album in order to narrate a story about Caribbean Chinese kinship. In the art examined, personal visual archives are used to respond to the lacuna of Caribbean Chinese familial intimacies from the colonial archive. Engaging shared themes of migration and racialized ideas of reproduction, three contemporary diasporic visual artists—Albert Chong, Richard Fung, and Tomie Arai—mine oral histories and family archives to blend aural and visual narratives. These artists rupture the surface of family images to trouble the bourgeois, heteronormative, and colorist scripts that often police the formation of family. The family album is rearranged and marked up; thus it becomes rendered as flesh inscribed with silent narratives. Through different forms of remixing, they engage with the affect and entanglements of family photography to form a visual vocabulary of diasporic kinship. In doing so, the artwork—collages, documentaries, installations—interrogates the afterlife of the nineteenth-century European colonial experiment of Chinese indenture, designed to install a discreet “buffer race” between the white minority and the black majority in the Caribbean after abolition. The experiment, which depended on the capacity for the Chinese to develop bourgeois domesticity in the Caribbean after abolition, failed because of sexual intimacies between people of African descent and people of Asian descent, beyond the imperial order’s imagining. Another future of familial intimacies in the diaspora is present in the artists’ aesthetic of fragmentation and collage.

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The Black/White Color Spectrum

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2017-04-07 01:38Z by Steven

The Black/White Color Spectrum

Small Axe
Volume 21, Number 1, March 2017 (No. 52)
pages 143-152

Sandra Stephens

The artist reflects on her place within the black/white color spectrum in Jamaica and the United States and looks at how she addresses both whiteness and blackness within her work. Using her piece Face of the Enemy, on the Japanese Internment, from her solo show Rationalize and Perpetuate, and her video installations Snow White Remixed and Purity, Sanctity, and Corporeality, she reflects on how race and gender are much more open in the lives of children; the questioning of the idea of “purity” and its relationship to whiteness; and visual culture and its effects on identity. She also looks at her interest in video installations and how this visual space and language challenges the audience to connect in a deeper sense to the other.

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From Aesthetics to Allegory: Raphaël Confiant, the Creole Novel, and Interdisciplinary Translation

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2013-12-23 17:47Z by Steven
From Aesthetics to Allegory: Raphaël Confiant, the Creole Novel, and Interdisciplinary Translation

Small Axe
Volume 17, Number 3, November 2013 (No. 42)
pages 89-99

Justin Izzo, Assistant Professor of French Studies
Brown University

This essay examines the roles played by ethnographic writing and translation in Raphaël Confiant’s 1994 L’allée des soupirs. This novel fictionalizes the 1959 riots in Martinique while simultaneously creating characters who debate the relative merits of modes of expression capable of capturing the linguistic, cultural, and racial hybridity of créolité in literature. Confiant translates into fictional terms important precepts on Caribbean literary production set out in Eloge de la créolité, which Confiant wrote with Patrick Chamoiseau and Jean Bernabé. By transforming the aesthetic problems taken up in Eloge into a thoroughly creolized novel that deals with the hybridized messiness of everyday life, Confiant presents a text that ethnographically allegorizes its own conditions of production. This allegorization mobilizes a process the essay calls “interdisciplinary translation,” which relies on an ongoing process of conversion between ethnographic and literary modes of representation.

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Violent Liaisons: Historical Crossings and the Negotiation of Sex, Sexuality, and Race in The Book of Night Women and The True History of Paradise

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Slavery, Women on 2013-04-27 04:22Z by Steven

Violent Liaisons: Historical Crossings and the Negotiation of Sex, Sexuality, and Race in The Book of Night Women and The True History of Paradise

small axe: a caribbean journal of criticism
Volume 16,Number 2, 38 (2012)
pages 43-59
DOI: 10.1215/07990537-1665668

Sam Vásquez, Associate Professor of English
Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Increased criticism and representations of violence in contemporary Jamaica often account for these tensions by citing poverty or gang and political rivalries in the post-independence era. However, both Marlon James’s The Book of Night Women (2009) and Margaret Cezair-Thompson’s The True History of Paradise (1999) take these explorations a step further, specifically examining women’s responses to violence and reminding readers that present-day sexual violence creates conditions of entrapment, hostility, and lawlessness reminiscent of the barbarities of slavery and colonialism. In so doing, the authors highlight the ways historical gender and racial stereotypes inform contemporary understandings of Caribbean gender and sexuality. Anchoring this discussion in recent theories about sex and sexuality and specifically examining mixed-race and white Caribbean women, Sam Vásquez argues that both authors use neo–slave narrative tropes to simultaneously problematize acts of violence against these individuals and demonstrate how women engaged and even utilized limiting colonial paradigms.

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Hybrid Navigator

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, New Media, United Kingdom on 2010-07-19 20:05Z by Steven

Hybrid Navigator

Small Axe
Number 32 (Volume 14, Number 2), June 2010
pages 150-159
E-ISSN: 1534-6714
Print ISSN: 0799-0537

Satch Hoyt, Artist/Sculptor

I was born in London to an Afro-Jamaican father and a white English mother in the late 1950s. It was, to say the least, a lonely terra nova, a traumatic neocolonial, cross-cultural terrain, that I was extremely ill equipped to traverse. My unwed mother was ostracized at my birth by her working-class parents. My sister and I never met our grandparents—at their request. So from the outset my stage was lit in a racist hue. As the other’s other, I struggled with my identity, floating in a void of black, white, Jamaican, and Inglanisms. I never felt English—and never will. No one lives a raceless reality. The body and corporeal schema are in effect from birth. Hypo descent, light skinned, half-caste, mulatto, biracial, mixed race—call us what you will. As a hybrid one learns to navigate the marginal seas of difference, to remain intact while floating between the two poles. The biracial paradigm is always looming on a cryptic horizon. Growing up in West London’s Ladbrook Grove, the Jamaican and Trinidadian communities are where I found solace, listening to the narratives and the stories about back-ah-yard

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Race, Creole, and National Identities in Rhys’s “Wide Sargasso Sea” and Phillips’s “Cambridge”

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2010-07-12 22:34Z by Steven

Race, Creole, and National Identities in Rhys’s “Wide Sargasso Sea” and Phillips’s “Cambridge”

Small Axe
Number 21 (Volume 10, Number 3)
October 2006
pages 87-104
E-ISSN: 1534-6714, Print ISSN: 0799-0537
DOI: 10.1353/smx.2006.0035

Vivian Nun Halloran, Assoiate Professor of Comparative Literature
Indiana University, Bloomington

As postmodern historical novels dramatizing slavery and its legacy in the anglophone Caribbean islands, Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) and Caryl Phillips’s Cambridge (1993) problematize Englishness as a national and cultural identity that may or may not be dependent upon race and also reject the Creole as an identity subordinate in status to that of European. By questioning the prevailing nineteenth century assumption of an inherent relationship linking the observable geographical boundaries of a state and the essential character of its national culture, Cambridge destabilizes Englishness as a homogeneous racial signifier for whiteness in its depiction of London as a bustling metropolis with a small but visible population of Black Britons, while Wide Sargasso Sea portrays Creole Jamaican society, black and white, at a moment of crisis, on the eve of the arrival of the first wave of indentured servants from India. Both novels suggest that social demarcations between English and Creole cultural identities are artificial because they ultimately depend on chance — on the geographical accident of a given person’s or character’s place of birth…

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White but Not Quite: Tones and Overtones of Whiteness in Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2009-07-02 21:21Z by Steven

White but Not Quite: Tones and Overtones of Whiteness in Brazil

Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism
Volume 13, Number 2 (July 2009)
pages 39-56
DOI: 10.1215/02705346-2009-005

Patricia de Santana Pinho
State Univiersity of New York, Albany

This article analyzes anecdotes, jokes, standards of beauty, color categories, and media representations of “mixed-race” individuals to assess the junctions and disjunctions of whiteness and blackness in Brazil.  While the multiple and contradictory meanings of “racial” mixture stimulates a preference for whiteness, thus reducing the access to power by those deemed black, it simultaneously fuels a rejection for “pure” forms of whiteness as witnessed in the country’s celebration of morenidade (brownness).  Not all forms of miscegenation are valued in Brazil’s myth of racial democracy, and some “types of mixture” are clearly preferred in detriment of others. I argue that anti-black racism in Brazil is expressed not only against dark-skinned individuals, but it also operates in the devaluing of physical traits “deemed black” even in those who have lighter skin complexion, thus creating “degrees of whiteness.”  One’s “measure of whiteness,” therefore, is not defined only by skin color, but requires a much wider economy of signs where, together with other bodily features, hair texture is almost as important as epidermal tone. In any given context, the definition of whiteness is also, necessarily, shaped by the contours of gender and class affiliation.

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