Romance and Rights: The Politics of Interracial Intimacy, 1945-1954

Posted in Books, History, Law, Monographs, United States on 2013-09-28 01:14Z by Steven

Romance and Rights: The Politics of Interracial Intimacy, 1945-1954

University Press of Mississippi
224 pages
bibliography, index
Cloth ISBN: 9781578067053
Paper ISBN: 9781604732474

Alex Lubin, Associate Professor of American Studies
University of New Mexico

Romance and Rights: The Politics of Interracial Intimacy, 1945-1954 studies the meaning of interracial romance, love, and sex in the ten years after World War II. How was interracial romance treated in popular culture by civil rights leaders, African American soldiers, and white segregationists?

Previous studies focus on the period beginning in 1967 when the Supreme Court overturned the last state antimiscegenation law (Loving v. Virginia). Lubin’s study, however, suggests that we cannot fully understand contemporary debates about “hybridity,” or mixed-race identity, without first comprehending how WWII changed the terrain.

The book focuses on the years immediately after the war, when ideologies of race, gender, and sexuality were being reformulated and solidified in both the academy and the public. Lubin shows that interracial romance, particularly between blacks and whites, was a testing ground for both the general American public and the American government. The government wanted interracial relationships to be treated primarily as private affairs to keep attention off contradictions between its outward aura of cultural freedom and the realities of Jim Crow politics and antimiscegenation laws. Activists, however, wanted interracial intimacy treated as a public act, one that could be used symbolically to promote equal rights and expanded opportunities. These contradictory impulses helped shape our current perceptions about interracial romances and their broader significance in American culture.

Romance and Rights ends in 1954, the year of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, before the civil rights movement became well organized. By closely examining postwar popular culture, African American literature, NAACP manuscripts, miscegenation laws, and segregationist protest letters, among other resources, the author analyzes postwar attitudes towards interracial romance, showing how complex and often contradictory those attitudes could be.

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Beyond The Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2013-07-20 02:51Z by Steven

Beyond The Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production

University Press of Mississippi
240 pages (approx.)
6 x 9 inches, bibliography, index
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-61703-755-9

Crystal S. Anderson, Associate Professor of English
Elon University, Elon, North Carolina

From Bruce Lee to Samurai Champloo, how Asian fictions fuse with African American creative sensibilities

In this study, Crystal S. Anderson explores the cultural and political exchanges between African Americans, Asian Americans, and Asians over the last four decades. To do so, Anderson examines such cultural productions as novels (Frank Chin’s Gunga Din Highway [1999], Ishmael Reed’s Japanese by Spring [1992], and Paul Beatty’s The White Boy Shuffle [1996]); films (Rush Hour 2 [2001], Unleashed [2005], and The Matrix trilogy [1999-2003]); and Japanese animation (Samurai Champloo [2004]), all of which feature cross-cultural conversations. In exploring the ways in which writers and artists use this transferral, Anderson traces and tests the limits of how Afro-Asian cultural production interrogates conceptions of race, ethnic identity, politics, and transnational exchange.

Ultimately, this book reads contemporary black/Asian cultural fusions through the recurrent themes established by the films of Bruce Lee, which were among the first–and certainly most popular–works to use this exchange explicitly. As a result of such films as Enter the Dragon (1973), The Chinese Connection (1972), and The Big Boss (1971), Lee emerges as both a cross-cultural hero and global cultural icon who resonates with the experiences of African American, Asian American, and Asian youth in the 1970s. Lee’s films and iconic imagery prefigure themes that reflect cross-cultural negotiations with global culture in post-1990 Afro-Asian cultural production.

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Paul Marchand, F.M.C.

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing on 2013-05-11 22:18Z by Steven

Paul Marchand, F.M.C.

University Press of Mississippi
184 pages
Paper ISBN: 978-1-57806-798-5

Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932)

Never before published, a 1920s novel disputes prevailing attitudes on racial character and identity

Chesnutt wrote this novel at the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance, but set it in a time and place favored by George Washington Cable. Published now for the first time, Paul Marchand: Free Man of Color examines the system of race and caste in nineteenth-century New Orleans. Chesnutt reacts, as well, against the traditional stance that fiction by leading American writers of the previous generation had taken on the issue of miscegenation. After living for many years in France, the wealthy and sophisticated Paul Marchand returns to his home in New Orleans and discovers through a will that he is white and is now head of a prosperous and influential family. Since mixed-race marriages are illegal, he must renounce his mulatto wife and bastardize his children.

Chesnutt resolves Marchand’s dilemma with a surprising plot reversal. Marchand, although white, chooses to pass as a black so that he can keep his wife and children. Thus by altering the traditional narrative that Cable, Twain, and Howells had developed for their fiction on mixed-race themes, he exposes the issue of race as a social and legal fabrication. Moreover, Chesnutt shows Marchand’s awareness that traits of inferiority and superiority are not based on “blood” but on other factors. In him Chesnutt has created an admirable male character responsive to human needs and civility rather than to artificial institutions.

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A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Art in Louisiana

Posted in Arts, Books, Louisiana, Monographs, United States on 2013-03-15 21:18Z by Steven

A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Art in Louisiana

University Press of Mississippi
450 pages
9 1/2 x 11 7/8 inches,
400+ color illustrations, foreword, introduction, bibliography, index of artists
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-61703-690-3
Edited By:

Michael Sartisky, President
Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

J. Richard Gruber, Director Emeritus
Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Associate Editor:

John R. Kemp, Former Deputy Director
Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

A lushly illustrated celebration of two centuries of creative work from Louisiana

A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Art in Louisiana is a handsome, unprecedented, commemorative hardcover edition limited to approximately 3,000 copies. This large-format volume encompasses 450 color pages featuring approximately 275 artists and photographers. For art collectors and enthusiasts, for followers of Louisiana history, and for keepers of Louisiana pride, this dazzling book is testimony to the state’s vibrant artistic culture.

Coeditors are Michael Sartisky, PhD, president of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, and J. Richard Gruber, PhD, director emeritus of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art; John R. Kemp, former deputy director of the LEH, is serving as associate editor. Written by scholars from around the country, the entries include all genres (painting, sculpture, photography, folk art, decorative art, furniture) and periods, from colonial to contemporary. Private collections and major archives such as the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Louisiana State Museum, the Historic New Orleans Collection, and the Louisiana State University Museum of Art, among others, contribute a comprehensive library of images.

Every entry in the book will be linked to fully articulated entries on each artist and genre in KnowLA: The Digital Encyclopedia of Louisiana History and Culture,which also will have the capacity to include a much more extensive image gallery for each artist and genre.

View A Unique Slant of Light in digital format here.

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Me: A Book of Remembrance

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Novels, Women on 2013-02-17 21:41Z by Steven

Me: A Book of Remembrance

University Press of Mississippi
1997 (Originally published in 1915)
368 pages
Cloth ISBN: 0878059911 (9780878059911)
Paper ISBN: 087805992X (9780878059928)

Winnifred Eaton (1875-1954)

Afterword by:

Linda Trinh Moser, Professor of English
Missouri State University

A Chinese-Eurasian’s autobiographical novel tracing a woman’s dual quest for a writing career and romance

Ironically, Winnifred Eaton published most of her works under a Japanese-sounding name, Onoto Watanna, but she was of Chinese ancestry.

In Me: Book of Rembrance her narrator is called Nora Ascouth, but in the plot, as Nora journeys from her birthplace in Canada to the West Indies and to the United States, Eaton recounts her own early life and writing career. One of sixteen children, Nora leaves her destitute family in Quebec to earn a living. Only seventeen and with ten dollars in her pocket she sets sail for Jamaica and the chance to do newspaper work. Nora ends up in Chicago, moving from job to job, trying all along to sell stories she writes in her spare time. When she discovers that the man with whom she is in love is married, she moves to New York and gains achievement as a novelist. Against this nineteenth-century sensibility of Nora’s search for success and love, Eaton conveys the powerlessness of the typical young woman of the working class. Her autobiographical plotline discloses a remarkable secret, Eaton’s reticence about her own half-Chinese ancestry.

Despite the silence of the text, Me: A Book of Rembrance reveals turn-of-the-century views on race, gender, and class. In Jamaica Nora describes the racial inequities and disparities. Moreover, when she says, “I myself was dark and foreign-looking, but the blond type I adored,” she reveals the extent of her own internalized oppression. Although the author believes her own mixed ancestry precludes prejudice on her part, the text proves otherwise. Like other ethnic immigrants, Nora is indoctrinated into America’s Anglo preference.

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To Make a New Race: Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance

Posted in Biography, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2011-10-24 01:40Z by Steven

To Make a New Race: Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance

University Press of Mississippi
202 pages
Cloth: 157806130X (9781578061303)
Paper: 1578061318 (9781578061310)

Jon Woodson, Professor of English
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Jean Toomer’s adamant stance against racism and his call for a raceless society were far more complex than the average reader of works from the Harlem Renaissance might believe. In To Make a New Race Jon Woodson explores the intense influence of Greek-born mystic G. I. Gurdjieff on the thinking of Toomer and his coterie—Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, George Schuyler, Wallace Thurman—and, through them, the mystic’s influence on many of the notables in African American literature.

Gurdjieff, born of poor Greco-Armenian parents on the Russo-Turkish frontier, espoused the theory that man is asleep and in prison unless he strains against the major burdens of life, especially those of identification, like race. Toomer, whose novel Cane became an inspiration to many later Harlem Renaissance writers, traveled to France and labored at Gurdjieff’s Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. Later, the writer became one of the primary followers approved to teach Gurdjieff’s philosophy in the United States.

Woodson’s is the first study of Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance to look beyond contemporary portrayals of the mystic in order to judge his influence. Scouring correspondence, manuscripts, and published texts, Woodson finds the direct links in which Gurdjieff through Toomer played a major role in the development of “objective literature.” He discovers both coded and explicit ways in which Gurdjieff’s philosophy shaped the world views of writers well into the 1960s. Moreover Woodson reinforces the extensive contribution Toomer and other African-American writers with all their international influences made to the American cultural scene.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • 1 Jean Toomer: Beside You Will Stand a Strange Man
  • 2 Wallace Thurman: Beyond Race and Color
  • 3 Rudolph Fisher: Minds of Another Order
  • 4 Nella Larsen: The Anatomy of “Sleep”
  • 5 George Schuyler: New Races and New Worlds
  • 6 Zora Neale Hurston: The Self and the Nation
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Somebody Always Singing You

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2011-08-21 01:12Z by Steven

Somebody Always Singing You

University Press of Mississippi
160 pages
ISBN: 0878059814 (9780878059812)

Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees

The story of a multi-racial woman coming to understand her identity

As the child of African-American and Native American parents, Kaylynn TwoTrees grew up hearing herself called “half breed” and “mixed blood,” terms which now, after many transforming experiences, have positive and powerful meanings for her. This book spanning the first fifty years of her life is the account of her extraordinary journey into an understanding of her rich and complex heritage.
TwoTrees’s poignant, honest memoir tells of her birth to a Lakota father from a South Dakota reservation and a black mother from an urban neighborhood in Des Moines. She spent summers during her early childhood visiting the Pine Ridge reservation. Her grandmother’s teachings from those days sustained her throughout the subsequent years. She always has remembered her grandmother’s saying “You going/coming back being. Grandmothers always singing you going. Grandchildren always singing you coming back. Somebody always singing you.”
After the murder of her mother, she was adopted by her black grandparents, who had worked hard to achieve a middle-class life. TwoTrees was later sent to a Catholic boarding school where she was the only person of color. After she gave birth to a baby girl, whom she released to the care of relatives, she set out on her own. The ensuing journey took her from Chicago to a life in Europe, where she lived for some years as a dancer and a manager of dance companies. Returning to the United States, she lived first in New York, and then in the Southwest, where she spent recent years learning about the landscape and the indigenous cultures and giving workshops and performances.
TwoTrees, whose fascinating life journey has been filled with exhilarating as well as painful moments, writes movingly of her efforts to incorporate the diverse strands of her identity. Always carrying with her the love and lessons from her Indian grandmother and many others, she has come to understand the value of her multiple heritages.

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Whiteness in the Novels of Charles W. Chesnutt

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2010-12-05 04:55Z by Steven

Whiteness in the Novels of Charles W. Chesnutt

University Press of Mississippi
248 pages
bibliography, index
Cloth ISBN: 1578066670 (9781578066674)
Paper ISBN: 9781604732481

Matthew Wilson, Professor of English and Humanities
Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg

An examination of race and audience in an American innovator’s writings

Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932), critically acclaimed for his novels, short stories, and essays, was one of the most ambitious and influential African American writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Today recognized as a major innovator of American fiction, Chesnutt is an important contributor to de-romanticizing trends in post-Civil War Southern literature, and a singular voice among turn-of-the-century realists who wrote about race in American life.

Whiteness in the Novels of Charles W. Chesnutt is the first study to focus exclusively on Chesnutt’s novels. Examining the three published in Chesnutt’s lifetime—The House Behind the Cedars, The Marrow of Tradition, and The Colonel’s Dream—as well as his posthumously published novels, this study explores the dilemma of a black writer who wrote primarily for a white audience.

Throughout, Matthew Wilson analyzes the ways in which Chesnutt crafted narratives for his white readership and focuses on how he attempted to infiltrate and manipulate the feelings and convictions of that audience.

Wilson pays close attention to the genres in which Chesnutt was working and also to the social and historical context of the novels. In articulating the development of Chesnutt’s career, Wilson shows how Chesnutt’s views on race evolved. By the end of his career, he felt that racial differences were not genetically inherent, but social constructions based on our background and upbringing. Finally, the book closely examines Chesnutt’s unpublished manuscripts that did not deal with race. Even in these works, in which African Americans are only minor characters, Wilson finds Chesnutt engaged with the conundrum of race and reveals him as one of America’s most significant writers on the subject.

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Passing in the Works of Charles W. Chesnutt

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2010-02-19 21:32Z by Steven

Passing in the Works of Charles W. Chesnutt

University Press of Mississippi
March 2010
160 pages (approx.)
6 x 9 inches, introduction, index
Printed casebinding: 978-1-60473-416-4
Ebook: 978-1-60473-418-8

Edited by:

Susan Prothro Wright, Associate Professor of American and British Literature
Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia

Ernestine Pickens Glass, Professor Emerita of English
Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia

An exploration of a great American writer’s abiding concern with the color line

Essays by Margaret D. Bauer, Keith Byerman, Martha J. Cutter, SallyAnn H. Ferguson, Donald B. Gibson, Scott Thomas Gibson, Aaron Ritzenberg,Werner Sollors, and Susan Prothro Wright.

Passing in the Works of Charles W. Chesnutt is a collection that reevaluates Chesnutt‘s deft manipulation of the “passing” theme to expand understanding of the author’s fiction and nonfiction. Nine contributors apply a variety of theories–including intertextual, signifying/discourse analysis, narratological, formal, psychoanalytical, new historical, reader response, and performative frameworks–to add richness to readings of Chesnutt’s works. Together the essays provide convincing evidence that “passing” is an intricate, essential part of Chesnutt’s writing, and that it appears in all the genres he wielded: journal entries, speeches, essays, and short and long fiction.

The essays engage with each other to display the continuum in Chesnutt’s thinking as he began his writing career and established his sense of social activism, as evidenced in his early journal entries. Collectively, the essays follow Chesnutt’s works as he proceeded through the Jim Crow era, honing his ability to manipulate his mostly white audience through the astute, though apparently self-effacing, narrator, Uncle Julius, of his popular conjure tales. Chesnutt’s ability to subvert audience expectations is equally noticeable in the subtle irony of his short stories. Several of the collection’s essays address Chesnutt’s novels, including Paul Marchand, F.M.C., Mandy Oxendine, The House Behind the Cedars, and Evelyn’s Husband. The volume opens up new paths of inquiry into a major African American writer’s oeuvre.

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Creoles of Color in the Bayou Country

Posted in Books, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2009-12-04 22:41Z by Steven

Creoles of Color in the Bayou Country

University Press of Mississippi
192 pages
Paper ISBN: 0878059490, ISBN 13: 9780878059492

Carl A. Brasseaux, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism
University of Louisiana, Lafayette

Claude F. Oubre

Keith P. Fontenot

Creoles of Color are rightfully among the first families of south-western Louisiana. Yet in both antebellum and postbellum periods they remained a people considered apart from the rest of the population. Historians, demographers, sociologists, and anthropologists have given them only scant attention.

This probing book, focused on the mid-eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries, is the first to scrutinize this multiracial group through a close study of primary resource materials.

During the antebellum period they were excluded from the state’s three-tiered society–white, free people of color, and slaves. Yet Creoles of Color were a dynamic component in the region’s economy, for they were self-compelled in efforts to become and integral part of the community.

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