Caribbean Masala: Indian Identity in Guyana and Trinidad

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Social Science on 2018-06-08 02:56Z by Steven

Caribbean Masala: Indian Identity in Guyana and Trinidad

University Press of Mississippi
2018-07-16
144 pages (approx.)
9 b&w illustrations
6 x 9 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496818041

Dave Ramsaran, Professor of Sociology
Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania

Linden F. Lewis, Presidential Professor of Sociology; Associate Dean of Social Sciences
Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

How Indian descendants maintained their culture and grew their influence in the Caribbean

In 1833, the abolition of slavery in the British Empire led to the import of exploited South Asian indentured workers in the Caribbean under extreme oppression. Dave Ramsaran and Linden F. Lewis concentrate on the Indian descendants’ processes of mixing, assimilating, and adapting while trying desperately to hold on to that which marks a group of people as distinct. In some ways, the lived experience of the Indian community in Guyana and Trinidad represents a cultural contradiction of belonging and non-belonging. In other parts of the Caribbean, people of Indian descent seem so absorbed by the more dominant African culture and through intermarriage that Indo-Caribbean heritage seems less central.

In this collaboration based on focus groups, in-depth interviews, and observation, sociologists Ramsaran and Lewis lay out a context within which to develop a broader view of Indians in Guyana and Trinidad, a numerical majority in both countries. They address issues of race and ethnicity but move beyond these familiar aspects to track such factors as ritual, gender, family, and daily life. Ramsaran and Lewis gauge not only an unrelenting process of assimilative creolization on these descendants of India, but also the resilience of this culture in the face of modernization and globalization.

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Mulata Nation: Visualizing Race and Gender in Cuba

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Women on 2018-05-11 15:38Z by Steven

Mulata Nation: Visualizing Race and Gender in Cuba

University Press of Mississippi
2018-08-15
248 pages (approx.)
58 color illustrations
6 x 9 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496814432

Alison Fraunhar, Associate Professor of Art and Design
Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois

A vivid exploration of the key role played by multi-racial women in visualizing and performing Cuban identity

Repeatedly and powerfully throughout Cuban history, the mulata, a woman of mixed racial identity, features prominently in Cuban visual and performative culture. Tracing the figure, Alison Fraunhar looks at the representation and performance in both elite and popular culture. She also tracks how characteristics associated with these women have accrued across the Atlantic world. Widely understood to embody the bridge between European subject and African other, the mulata contains the sensuality attributed to Africans in a body more closely resembling the European ideal of beauty.

This symbol bears far-reaching implications, with shifting, contradictory cultural meanings in Cuba. Fraunhar explores these complex paradigms, how, why, and for whom the image was useful, and how it was both subverted and asserted from the colonial period to the present. From the early seventeenth century through Cuban independence in 1899 up to the late revolutionary era, Fraunhar illustrates the ambiguous figure’s role in nationhood, citizenship, and commercialism. She analyzes images including key examples of nineteenth-century graphic arts, avant-garde painting and magazine covers of the Republican era, cabaret and film performance, and contemporary iterations of gender.

Fraunhar’s study stands out for attending to the phenomenon of mulataje not only in elite production such as painting, but also in popular forms: popular theater, print culture, later films, and other media where stereotypes take hold. Indeed, in contemporary Cuba, mulataje remains a popular theme with Cubans as well as foreigners in drag shows, reflecting queerness in visual culture.

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Blasian Invasion: Racial Mixing in the Celebrity Industrial Complex

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs on 2017-12-30 04:08Z by Steven

Blasian Invasion: Racial Mixing in the Celebrity Industrial Complex

University Press of Mississippi
2017-10-26
192 pages (approx.)
6 x 9 inches, index
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496814227

Myra S. Washington, Assistant Professor
Department of Communication and Journalism
University of New Mexico

An exposition of a dynamic, multiracial-racial identity

Myra S. Washington probes the social construction of race through the mixed-race identity of Blasians, people of Black and Asian ancestry. She looks at the construction of the identifier Blasian and how this term went from being undefined to forming a significant role in popular media. Today Blasian has emerged as not just an identity Black/Asian mixedrace people can claim, but also a popular brand within the industry and a signifier in the culture at large. Washington tracks the transformation of Blasian from being an unmentioned category to a recognized status applied to other Blasian figures in media.

Blasians have been neglected as a meaningful category of people in research, despite an extensive history of Black and Asian interactions within the United States and abroad. Washington explains that even though Americans have mixed in every way possible, racial mixing is framed in certain ways, which almost always seem to involve Whiteness. Unsurprisingly, media discourses about Blasians mostly conform to usual scripts already created, reproduced, and familiar to audiences about monoracial Blacks and Asians.

In the first book on this subject, Washington regards Blasians as belonging to more than one community, given their multiple histories and experiences. Moving beyond dominant rhetoric, she does not harp on defining or categorizing mixed race, but instead recognizes the multiplicities of Blasians and the process by which they obtain meaning. Washington uses celebrities, including Kimora Lee, Dwayne Johnson, Hines Ward, and Tiger Woods, to highlight how they challenge and destabilize current racial debate, create spaces for themselves, and change the narratives that frame multiracial people. Finally, Washington asserts Blasians as not only evidence for the fluidity of identities, but also for the limitations of reductive racial binaries.

Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • CHAPTER ONE: Theorizing Blasians
  • CHAPTER TWO: Birth of a Blasian
  • CHAPTER THREE: Modeling Race: Refashioning Blasianness
  • CHAPTER FOUR: “Because I’m Blasian” Tiger Woods, Scandal, and Protecting the Blasian Brand
  • CHAPTER FIVE: Sporting the Blasian Body
  • CONCLUSION: En-Blasianing the Future
  • Notes
  • Index
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Projections of Passing: Postwar Anxieties and Hollywood Films, 1947-1960

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2016-10-13 20:34Z by Steven

Projections of Passing: Postwar Anxieties and Hollywood Films, 1947-1960

University Press of Mississippi
2016-04-04
284 pages
40 b/w illustrations, filmography, bibliography, index
6 x 9 inches
Hardback ISBN: 9781496806277

N. Megan Kelley

How the cinematic act of passing embodied, exacerbated, and sometimes alleviated American fears

A key concern in postwar America was “who’s passing for whom?” Analyzing representations of passing in Hollywood films reveals changing cultural ideas about authenticity and identity in a country reeling from a hot war and moving towards a cold one. After World War II, passing became an important theme in Hollywood movies, one that lasted throughout the long 1950s, as it became a metaphor to express postwar anxiety.

The potent, imagined fear of passing linked the language and anxieties of identity to other postwar concerns, including cultural obsessions about threats from within. Passing created an epistemological conundrum that threatened to destabilize all forms of identity, not just the long-standing American color line separating white and black. In the imaginative fears of postwar America, identity was under siege on all fronts. Not only were there blacks passing as whites, but women were passing as men, gays passing as straight, communists passing as good Americans, Jews passing as gentiles, and even aliens passing as humans (and vice versa).

Fears about communist infiltration, invasion by aliens, collapsing gender and sexual categories, racial ambiguity, and miscegenation made their way into films that featured narratives about passing. N. Megan Kelley shows that these films transcend genre, discussing Gentleman’s Agreement, Home of the Brave, Pinky, Island in the Sun, My Son John, Invasion of the Body-Snatchers, I Married a Monster from Outer Space, Rebel without a Cause, Vertigo, All about Eve, and Johnny Guitar, among others.

Representations of passing enabled Americans to express anxieties about who they were and who they imagined their neighbors to be. By showing how pervasive the anxiety about passing was, and how it extended to virtually every facet of identity, Projections of Passing broadens the literature on passing in a fundamental way. It also opens up important counternarratives about postwar America and how the language of identity developed in this critical period of American history.

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Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans: The Life and Times of Henry Louis Rey

Posted in Biography, Books, Family/Parenting, History, Louisiana, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2016-09-07 21:12Z by Steven

Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans: The Life and Times of Henry Louis Rey

University Press of Mississippi
January 2017
208 pages
25 b&w illustrations, 1 map, chronology, bibliography, index
6 x 9 inches
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1496810083

Melissa Daggett

Modern American Spiritualism blossomed in the 1850s and continued as a viable faith into the 1870s. Because of its diversity and openness to new cultures and religions, New Orleans provided fertile ground to nurture Spiritualism, and many séance circles flourished in the Creole Faubourgs of Tremé and Marigny as well as the American sector of the city. Melissa Daggett focuses on Le Cercle Harmonique, the francophone séance circle of Henry Louis Rey (1831–1894), a Creole of color who was a key civil rights activist, author, and Civil War and Reconstruction leader. His life has so far remained largely in the shadows of New Orleans history, partly due to a language barrier.

Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans focuses on the turbulent years between the late antebellum period and the end of Reconstruction. Translating and interpreting numerous primary sources and one of the only surviving registers of séance proceedings, Daggett has opened a window into a fascinating life as well as a period of tumult and change. She provides unparalleled insights into the history of the Creoles of color and renders a better understanding of New Orleans’s complex history. The author weaves an intriguing tale of the supernatural, of chaotic post-bellum politics, of transatlantic linkages, and of the personal triumphs and tragedies of Rey as a notable citizen and medium. Wonderful illustrations, reproductions of the original spiritual communications, and photographs, many of which have never before appeared in published form, accompany this study of Rey and his world.

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MSU faculty contribute to book on white privilege

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-07-09 14:46Z by Steven

MSU faculty contribute to book on white privilege

Mississippi State University
2016-07-01

Contact: Allison Matthews

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Two Mississippi State faculty members helped lead a literary effort examining the basis and scope of racial identity as an American social structure.

Stephen Middleton, professor of history and director for African American Studies at MSU, along with associate professor of English and African American Studies Donald Shaffer, served on the editing team for “The Construction of Whiteness: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity.” A University Press of Mississippi publication, the collection of essays specifically looks at the origins of white privilege and the various social, cultural, political and economic practices that underwrite its ideological influence in American society. David Roediger of the University of Kansas also was co-editor.

“This book explores an old story in American culture,” said Middleton, the project’s lead editor. “It reviews a time when we thought about ourselves in certain ways, and the two categories that defined us more than any other were ‘white’ and ‘black.’ It’s an old story of what we’ve learned about our history and what we tell ourselves.”

“Whiteness” is a socially and legally constructed category, Middleton said, woven into the American psyche over time based on the need for cheap labor. This established a power and economic structure favorable to whites that socially and legally denied access to non-whites…

Read the entire article here.

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Legend of the Free State of Jones

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Mississippi, Monographs, United States on 2016-06-24 00:56Z by Steven

Legend of the Free State of Jones

University Press of Mississippi
2009-10-07
143 pages
3 maps, 7 b&w illustrations
5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches
Paper ISBN: 978-1-60473-571-0
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-60473-572-7

Rudy H. Leverett

The original, full accounting of a rebellion in the heart of Dixie

A maverick, unionist district in the heart of the Old South? A notorious county that seceded from the Confederacy? This is how Jones County, Mississippi, is known in myth and legend.

Since 1864 the legend has persisted. Differing versions give the name of this new nation as Republic of Jones, Jones County Confederacy, and Free State of Jones. Over the years this story has captured the imaginations of journalists, historians, essayists, novelists, short story writers, and Hollywood filmmakers, although serious scholars long ago questioned the accuracy of local history accounts about a secessionist county led by Newt Knight and a band of renegades.

Legend of the Free State of Jones was the first authoritative explanation of just what did happen in Jones County in 1864 to give rise to the legend. This book surveys the facts, the records, and the history of the “Free State of Jones” and well may provide the whole story.

Rudy H. Leverett was born in an unplumbed cabin in the woods outside of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He had a doctoral degree in education and spent his life writing extensively on the subjects of philosophy, the American South, and the McLemore family. He died on his birthday in 1999.

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The Construction of Whiteness: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-05-19 01:38Z by Steven

The Construction of Whiteness: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity

University Press of Mississippi
April 2016
256 pages (approx.)
6 x 9 inches
introduction, 8 b&w illustrations, bibliography, index
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496805553

Edited By:

Stephen Middleton, Professor of History and Director of African American
Mississippi State University

David R. Roediger, Foundation Professor of American Studies and History
University of Kansas

Donald M. Shaffer, Associate Professor of African American Studies and English
Mississippi State University

A critical engagement with the origins, power, and elusiveness of white privilege

Contributions by Sadhana Bery, Erica Cooper, Tim Engles, Matthew W. Hughey, Becky Thompson, Veronica T. Watson, and Robert St. Martin Westley

This volume collects interdisciplinary essays that examine the crucial intersection between whiteness as a privileged racial category and the various material practices (social, cultural, political, and economic) that undergird white ideological influence in America. In truth, the need to examine whiteness as a problem has rarely been grasped outside academic circles. The ubiquity of whiteness–its pervasive quality as an ideal that is at once omnipresent and invisible–makes it the very epitome of the mainstream in America. And yet the undeniable relationship between whiteness and inequality in this country necessitates a thorough interrogation of its formation, its representation, and its reproduction. Essays here seek to do just that work. Editors and contributors interrogate whiteness as a social construct, revealing the underpinnings of narratives that foster white skin as an ideal of beauty, intelligence, and power.

Contributors examine whiteness from several disciplinary perspectives, including history, communication, law, sociology, and literature. Its breadth and depth makes The Construction of Whiteness a refined introduction to the critical study of race for a new generation of scholars, undergraduates, and graduate students. Moreover, the interdisciplinary approach of the collection will appeal to scholars in African and African American studies, ethnic studies, cultural studies, legal studies, and more. This collection delivers an important contribution to the field of whiteness studies in its multifaceted impact on American history and culture.

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The Story of French New Orleans: History of a Creole City

Posted in Books, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2016-01-08 02:24Z by Steven

The Story of French New Orleans: History of a Creole City

University Press of Mississippi
January 2016
208 pages (approx.)
1 map, bibliography, index
6 x 9 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496804860

Dianne Guenin-Lelle, Professor of French
Albion College, Albion, Michigan

Why New Orleans is considered America’s distinctly French city

What is it about the city of New Orleans History, location, and culture, continue to link it to France while distancing it culturally and symbolically from the United States. This book explores the traces of French language, history, and artistic expression that have been present there over the last three hundred years. This volume focuses on the French, Spanish, and American colonial periods to understand the imprint that French socio-cultural dynamic left on the Crescent City.

The migration of Acadians to New Orleans at the time the city became a Spanish dominion and the arrival of Haitian refugees when the city became an American territory oddly reinforced its Francophone identity. However, in the process of establishing itself as an urban space in the antebellum south, the culture of New Orleans became a liability for New Orleans elite after the Louisiana Purchase.

New Orleans and the Caribbean share numerous historical, cultural, and linguistic connections. The book analyzes these connections and the shared process of creolization occurring in New Orleans and throughout the Caribbean Basin. It suggests “French” New Orleans might be understood as a trope for unscripted “original” Creole social and cultural elements. Since being Creole came to connote African descent, the study suggests that an association with France in the minds of whites allowed for a less racially-bound and contested social order within the United States.

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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•ken/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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