The Anti-Black City: Police Terror and Black Urban Life in Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2018-02-14 04:47Z by Steven

The Anti-Black City: Police Terror and Black Urban Life in Brazil

University of Minnesota Press
2018
320 pages
9 b&w photos
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN: 978-1-5179-0156-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-5179-0155-4

Jaime Amparo Alves, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Staten Island of the City University of New York
also: Associate Researcher
Centro de Estudios Afrodiaspóricos of Universidad Icesi/Colombia

An important new ethnographic study of São Paulo’s favelas reveals the widespread use of race-based police repression in Brazil

While Black Lives Matter still resonates in the United States, the movement has also become a potent rallying call worldwide, with harsh police tactics and repressive state policies often breaking racial lines. In The Anti-Black City, Jaime Amparo Alves delves into the dynamics of racial violence in Brazil, where poverty, unemployment, residential segregation, and a biased criminal justice system create urban conditions of racial precarity.

The Anti-Black City provocatively offers race as a vital new lens through which to view violence and marginalization in the supposedly “raceless” São Paulo. Ironically, in a context in which racial ambiguity makes it difficult to identify who is black and who is white, racialized access to opportunities and violent police tactics establish hard racial boundaries through subjugation and death. Drawing on two years of ethnographic research in prisons and neighborhoods on the periphery of this mega-city, Alves documents the brutality of police tactics and the complexity of responses deployed by black residents, including self-help initiatives, public campaigns against police violence, ruthless gangs, and self-policing of communities.

The Anti-Black City reveals the violent and racist ideologies that underlie state fantasies of order and urban peace in modern Brazil. Illustrating how “governing through death” has become the dominant means for managing and controlling ethnic populations in the neoliberal state, Alves shows that these tactics only lead to more marginalization, criminality, and violence. Ultimately, Alves’s work points to a need for a new approach to an intractable problem: how to govern populations and territories historically seen as “ungovernable.”

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: On Our Own Terms
  • 1. Macabre Spatialities
  • 2. “Police, Get off My Back!”
  • 3. The Favela-Prison Pipeline
  • 4. Sticking Up!
  • 5. Bringing Back the Dead
  • Conclusion: Blackpolis
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index
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Cinematic Identity: Anatomy of a Problem Film

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2016-05-21 00:59Z by Steven

Cinematic Identity: Anatomy of a Problem Film

University of Minnesota Press
2007
200 pages
24 b&w photos, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN 978-0-8166-3412-5
Cloth ISBN 978-0-8166-3411-8

Cindy Patton, Canada Research Chair in Community Culture and Health
Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada

Though largely forgotten today, the 1949 film Pinky had a significant impact on the world of cinema. Directed by Elia Kazan, the film was a box office success despite dealing with the era’s most taboo subjects—miscegenation and racial passing—and garnered an Academy Award nomination for its African American star, Ethel Waters. It was also historically important: when a Texas movie theater owner showing the film was arrested for violating local censorship laws, his case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the censorship ordinance unconstitutional.

In Cinematic Identity, Cindy Patton takes Pinky as a starting point to meditate on the critical reception of this and other “problem films” of the period and to explore the larger issues they raise about race, gender, and sexuality. Films like Pinky, Patton contends, helped lay the groundwork for a shift in popular understanding of social identity that was essential to white America’s ability to accept the legitimacy of the civil rights movement.

The production of these films, beginning with Gentleman’s Agreement in 1947, coincided with the arrival of the Method school of acting in Hollywood, which demanded that performers inhabit their characters’ lives. Patton historicizes these twin developments, demonstrating how they paralleled, reflected, and helped popularize the emerging concept of the liberal citizen in postwar America, and in doing so illustrates how the reception of projected identities offers new perspectives on contemporary identity politics, from feminism to the gay rights movement.

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Measuring Manhood: Race and the Science of Masculinity, 1830–1934

Posted in Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2015-11-16 18:47Z by Steven

Measuring Manhood: Race and the Science of Masculinity, 1830–1934

University of Minnesota Press
September 2015
368 pages
32 b&w photos
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN 978-0-8166-7303-2
Cloth ISBN 978-0-8166-7302-5

Melissa N. Stein, Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies
University of Kentucky

From the “gay gene” to the “female brain” and African American students’ insufficient “hereditary background” for higher education, arguments about a biological basis for human difference have reemerged in the twenty-first century. Measuring Manhood shows where they got their start.

Melissa N. Stein analyzes how race became the purview of science in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America and how it was constructed as a biological phenomenon with far-reaching social, cultural, and political resonances. She tells of scientific “experts” who advised the nation on its most pressing issues and exposes their use of gender and sex differences to conceptualize or buttress their claims about racial difference. Stein examines the works of scientists and scholars from medicine, biology, ethnology, and other fields to trace how their conclusions about human difference did no less than to legitimize sociopolitical hierarchy in the United States.

Covering a wide range of historical actors from Samuel Morton, the infamous collector and measurer of skulls in the 1830s, to NAACP leader and antilynching activist Walter White in the 1930s, this book reveals the role of gender, sex, and sexuality in the scientific making⎯and unmaking⎯of race.

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European Others: Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Religion on 2015-11-16 04:00Z by Steven

European Others: Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe

University of Minnesota Press
2011
304 pages
6 b&w photos
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN 978-0-8166-7016-1
Cloth ISBN 978-0-8166-7015-4

Fatima El-Tayeb, Professor of African-American Literature and Culture
University of California, San Diego

European Others offers an interrogation into the position of racialized communities in the European Union, arguing that the tension between a growing nonwhite, non-Christian population and insistent essentialist definitions of Europeanness produces new forms of identity and activism. Moving beyond disciplinary and national limits, Fatima El-Tayeb explores structures of resistance, tracing a Europeanization from below in which migrant and minority communities challenge the ideology of racelessness that places them firmly outside the community of citizens.

Using a notable variety of sources, from drag performances to feminist Muslim activism and Euro hip-hop, El-Tayeb draws on the largely ignored archive of vernacular culture central to resistance by minority youths to the exclusionary nationalism that casts them as threatening outcasts. At the same time, she reveals the continued effect of Europe’s suppressed colonial history on the representation of Muslim minorities as the illiberal Other of progressive Europe.

Presenting a sharp analysis of the challenges facing a united Europe seen by many as a model for twenty-first-century postnational societies, El-Tayeb combines theoretical influences from both sides of the Atlantic to lay bare how Europeans of color are integral to the continent’s past, present, and, inevitably, its future.

Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Theorizing Urban Minority Communities in Postnational Europe
  • 1. “Stranger in My Own Country”: European Identities, Migration, and Diasporic Soundscapes
  • 2. Dimensions of Diaspora: Women of Color Feminism, Black Europe, and Queer Memory Discourses
  • 3. Secular Submissions: Muslim Europeans, Female Bodies, and Performative Politics
  • 4. “Because It Is Our Stepfatherland”: Queering European Public Spaces
  • Conclusion: “An Infinite and Undefinable Movement”
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Philosophy on 2015-02-24 02:12Z by Steven

Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology

University of Minnesota Press
February 2015
240 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8166-8730-5
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8166-8726-8

Michelle M. Wright, Associate Professor of Black European and African Diaspora Studies
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

What does it mean to be Black? If Blackness is not biological in origin but socially and discursively constructed, does the meaning of Blackness change over time and space? In Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology, Michelle M. Wright argues that although we often explicitly define Blackness as a “what,” it in fact always operates as a “when” and a “where.”

By putting lay discourses on spacetime from physics into conversation with works on identity from the African Diaspora, Physics of Blackness explores how Middle Passage epistemology subverts racist assumptions about Blackness, yet its linear structure inhibits the kind of inclusive epistemology of Blackness needed in the twenty-first century. Wright then engages with bodies frequently excluded from contemporary mainstream consideration: Black feminists, Black queers, recent Black African immigrants to the West, and Blacks whose histories may weave in and out of the Middle Passage epistemology but do not cohere to it.

Physics of Blackness takes the reader on a journey both known and unfamiliar—from Isaac Newton’s laws of motion and gravity to the contemporary politics of diasporic Blackness in the academy, from James Baldwin’s postwar trope of the Eiffel Tower as the site for diasporic encounters to theoretical particle physics’ theory of multiverses and superpositioning, to the almost erased lives of Black African women during World War II. Accessible in its style, global in its perspective, and rigorous in its logic, Physics of Blackness will change the way you look at Blackness.

Contents

  • Introduction. Many Thousands Still Coming: Theorizing Blackness in the Postwar Moment
  • 1. The Middle Passage Epistemology
  • 2. The Problem of Return in the African Diaspora
  • 3. Quantum Baldwin and the Multidimensionality of Blackness
  • 4. Axes of Asymmetry
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics

Posted in Africa, Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States on 2014-02-10 08:03Z by Steven

Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics

University of Minnesota Press
February 2014
304 pages
29 b&w photos
6 x 9
Cloth/jacket ISBN: 978-0-8166-8357-4

Lundy Braun, Royce Family Professor in Teaching Excellence and Professor of Medical Science and Africana Studies
Brown University

In the antebellum South, plantation physicians used a new medical device—the spirometer—to show that lung volume and therefore vital capacity were supposedly less in black slaves than in white citizens. At the end of the Civil War, a large study of racial difference employing the spirometer appeared to confirm the finding, which was then applied to argue that slaves were unfit for freedom. What is astonishing is that this example of racial thinking is anything but a historical relic.

In Breathing Race into the Machine, science studies scholar Lundy Braun traces the little-known history of the spirometer to reveal the social and scientific processes by which medical instruments have worked to naturalize racial and ethnic differences, from Victorian Britain to today. Routinely a factor in in clinical diagnoses, preemployment physicals, and disability estimates, spirometers are often “race corrected,” typically reducing normal values for African Americans by 15 percent.

An unsettling account of the pernicious effects of racial thinking that divides people along genetic lines, Breathing Race into the Machine helps us understand how race enters into science and shapes medical research and practice.

Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Measuring Vital Capacity
  • 1. “Inventing” the Spirometer: Working-Class Bodies in Victorian England
  • 2. Black Lungs and White Lungs: The Science of White Supremacy in the Nineteenth-Century United States
  • 3. Filling the Lungs with Air: The Rise of Physical Culture in America
  • 4. Progress and Race: Vitality in Turn-of-the-Century Britain
  • 5. Globalizing Spirometry: The “Racial Factor” in Scientific Medicine
  • 6. Adjudicating Disability in the Industrial Worker
  • 7. Diagnosing Silicosis: Physiological Testing in South African Gold Mines
  • Epilogue: How Race Takes Root
  • Notes
  • Index
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Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2013-09-27 04:02Z by Steven

Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science

University of Minnesota Press
September 2013
256 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8166-6586-0
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8166-6585-3

Kim TallBear, Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of Texas, Austin

Who is a Native American? And who gets to decide? From genealogists searching online for their ancestors to fortune hunters hoping for a slice of casino profits from wealthy tribes, the answers to these seemingly straightforward questions have profound ramifications. The rise of DNA testing has further complicated the issues and raised the stakes.

In Native American DNA, Kim TallBear shows how DNA testing is a powerful—and problematic—scientific process that is useful in determining close biological relatives. But tribal membership is a legal category that has developed in dependence on certain social understandings and historical contexts, a set of concepts that entangles genetic information in a web of family relations, reservation histories, tribal rules, and government regulations. At a larger level, TallBear asserts, the “markers” that are identified and applied to specific groups such as Native American tribes bear the imprints of the cultural, racial, ethnic, national, and even tribal misinterpretations of the humans who study them.

TallBear notes that ideas about racial science, which informed white definitions of tribes in the nineteenth century, are unfortunately being revived in twenty-first-century laboratories. Because today’s science seems so compelling, increasing numbers of Native Americans have begun to believe their own metaphors: “in our blood” is giving way to “in our DNA.” This rhetorical drift, she argues, has significant consequences, and ultimately she shows how Native American claims to land, resources, and sovereignty that have taken generations to ratify may be seriously—and permanently—undermined.

Table of Contents

  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: An Indigenous, Feminist Approach to DNA Politics
  • 1. Racial Science, Blood, and DNA
  • 2. The DNA Dot-com: Selling Ancestry
  • 3. Genetic Genealogy Online
  • 4. The Genographic Project: The Business of Research and Representation
  • Conclusion: Indigenous and Genetic Governance and Knowledge
  • Notes
  • Index
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The Mestizo State: Reading Race in Modern Mexico

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Mexico, Monographs on 2013-06-25 18:09Z by Steven

The Mestizo State: Reading Race in Modern Mexico

University of Minnesota Press
June 2012
248 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8166-5637-0
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8166-5636-3

Joshua Lund, Associate Professor of Spanish
University of Pittsburgh

The Mestizo State examines how the ideas, images, and public discourse around race, nation, and citizen formation have been transformed in Mexico from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Starting with the Porfiriato, Joshua Lund investigates the rise of a racialized “mestizo state,” its reinvention after the Mexican Revolution, and its mobilization as a critical lever that would act both on behalf of and against mainstream Mexican political culture during the long hegemony of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional.

Lund takes race as his object of critical reflection in the context of modern Mexico. An analysis that does not confuse race with mestizaje, indigeneity, African identity, or whiteness, the book sheds light on the history of the materialism of race as it unfolds within the cultural production of modern Mexico, grounded on close readings of four writers whose work explicitly challenged the politics of race in Mexico: Luis Alva, Ignacio Manuel Altamirano, Rosario Castellanos, and Elena Garro.

In seeking to address race as a cultural-political problematic, Lund considers race as integral to the production of the materiality of Mexican national history: constitutive of the nation form, a mediator of capitalist accumulation, and a central actor in the rise of modernity.

Contents

  • Introduction: The Mestizo State
  • 1. Colonization and Indianization in Liberal Mexico: The Case of Luis Alva
  • 2. Altamirano’s Burden
  • 3. Misplaced Revolution: Rosario Castellanos and the Race War
  • 4. Elena Garro and the Failure of Alliance
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Troubling the Family: The Promise of Personhood and the Rise of Multiracialism

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2013-03-21 15:00Z by Steven

Troubling the Family: The Promise of Personhood and the Rise of Multiracialism

University of Minnesota Press
October 2012
256 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8166-7918-8
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8166-7917-1

Habiba Ibrahim, Associate Professor of English
University of Washington

Troubling the Family argues that the emergence of multiracialism during the 1990s was determined by underlying and unacknowledged gender norms. Opening with a germinal moment for multiracialism—the seemingly massive and instantaneous popular appearance of Tiger Woods in 1997—Habiba Ibrahim examines how the shifting status of racial hero for both black and multiracial communities makes sense only by means of an account of masculinity.

Ibrahim looks across historical events and memoirs (beginning with the Loving v. Virginia case in 1967 when miscegenation laws were struck down) to reveal that gender was the starting point of an analytics that made categorical multiracialism, and multiracial politics, possible. Producing a genealogy of multiracialism’s gendered basis allows Ibrahim to focus on a range of stakeholders whose interests often ran against the grain of what the multiracial movement of the 1990s often privileged—the sanctity of the heteronormative family, the labor of child rearing, and more precise forms of racial tabulation—all of which, when taken together, could form the basis for creating so-called neutral personhood.

Ibrahim concludes with a consideration of Barack Obama as a representation of the resurrection of the assurance that multiracialism extended into the 2000s: a version of personhood with no memory of its own gendered legacy, and with no self-account of how it became so masculine that it can at once fill the position of political leader and the promise of the end of politics.

Contents

  • Introduction: The Rising Son of Multiracialism
  • 1. Multiracial Timelines: A Genealogy of Personhood
  • 2. Legitimizing the Deviant Family: Loving vs. Virginia and the Moynihan Report
  • 3. The Whiteness of Maternal Memoirs: Politicizing the Multiracial Child
  • 4. Ambivalent Outcomes: Blackness and the Return of Racial Passing
  • Conclusion: Dreams of the Father and Potentials Lost
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index
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Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2013-02-04 18:14Z by Steven

Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism

University of Minnesota Press
2008
328 pages
6 x 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8166-5105-4; ISBN-10: 0-8166-5105-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8166-5104-7; ISBN-10: 0-8166-5104-3

Jared Sexton, Associate Professor of African American Studies and Film & Media Studies
University of California, Irvine

Questions the ramifications of multiracialism for progressive social change.

Despite being heralded as the answer to racial conflict in the post–civil rights United States, the principal political effect of multiracialism is neither a challenge to the ideology of white supremacy nor a defiance of sexual racism. More accurately, Jared Sexton argues in Amalgamation Schemes, multiracialism displaces both by evoking long-standing tenets of antiblackness and prescriptions for normative sexuality.

In this timely and penetrating analysis, Sexton pursues a critique of contemporary multiracialism, from the splintered political initiatives of the multiracial movement to the academic field of multiracial studies, to the melodramatic media declarations about “the browning of America.” He contests the rationales of colorblindness and multiracial exceptionalism and the promotion of a repackaged family values platform in order to demonstrate that the true target of multiracialism is the singularity of blackness as a social identity, a political organizing principle, and an object of desire. From this vantage, Sexton interrogates the trivialization of sexual violence under chattel slavery and the convoluted relationship between racial and sexual politics in the new multiracial consciousness.

An original and challenging intervention, Amalgamation Schemes posits that multiracialism stems from the conservative and reactionary forces determined to undo the gains of the modern civil rights movement and dismantle radical black and feminist politics.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: On the Verge of Race
  • 1. Beyond the Event Horizon: The Multiracial Project
  • 2. Scales of Coercion and Consent: Sexual Violence, Antimiscegenation, and the Limits of Multiracial America
  • 3. There Is No (Interracial) Sexual Relationship
  • 4. The Consequence of Race Mixture
  • 5. The True Names of Race: Blackness and Antiblackness in Global Contexts
  • Notes
  • Works Cited
  • Index
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