Mixed Race Cinemas Multiracial Dynamics in America and France

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Passing, United States, Women on 2017-08-09 15:42Z by Steven

Mixed Race Cinemas Multiracial Dynamics in America and France

Bloomsbury
2017-09-07
216 pages
10 bw illus
6″ x 9″
Hardback ISBN: 9781501312458
EPUB eBook ISBN: 9781501312489
PDF eBook ISBN: 9781501312465

Zélie Asava, Lecturer and Programme Director of Video and Film
Dundalk Institute of Technology, Louth, Ireland

Using critical race theory and film studies to explore the interconnectedness between cinema and society, Zélie Asava traces the history of mixed-race representations in American and French filmmaking from early and silent cinema to the present day. Mixed Race Cinemas covers over a hundred years of filmmaking to chart the development of (black/white) mixed representations onscreen. With the 21st century being labelled the Mulatto Millennium, mixed bodies are more prevalent than ever in the public sphere, yet all too often they continue to be positioned as exotic, strange and otherworldly, according to ‘tragic mulatto‘ tropes. This book evaluates the potential for moving beyond fixed racial binaries both onscreen and off by exploring actors and characters who embody the in-between. Through analyses of over 40 movies, and case studies of key films from the 1910s on, Mixed Race Cinemas illuminates landmark shifts in local and global cinema, exploring discourses of subjectivity, race, gender, sexuality and class. In doing so, it reveals the similarities and contrasts between American and French cinema in relation to recognising, visualising and constructing mixedness. Mixed Race Cinemas contextualizes and critiques raced and ‘post-race’ visual culture, using cinematic representations to illustrate changing definitions of mixed identity across different historical and geographical contexts.

Contents

  • Introduction
    • 1. Race and Ideology
    • 2. Mixed-Race Cinema Histories
    • 3. Interrogating Terminology
    • 4. Methodology and Frameworks
    • 5. Mixed-Race Spaces in French and American Cinema
    • 6. Franco-American Narratives and Beur Cinema
    • 7. Summary of Chapters
  • Chapter One: the Mixed Question
    • 1. Language, Representation and Casting
    • 2. The Historical Mulatta Screen Stereotype in America
    • 3. The Historical Mulatta Screen Stereotype in France
  • Chapter Two: Hollywood’s ‘Passing‘ Narratives
    • 1. ‘Passing’ Representations as Ideological Construct
    • 2. The Dichotomies of Post-War Mixed-Race Women Onscreen
    • 3. Gender, ‘Passing’ and Love
  • Chapter Three: The Limits of the Classic Hollywood ‘Tragic Mulatta’
    • 1. Imitation of Life (1934): Interrogating Mixed Identities
    • 2. Casting and Representation
    • 3. Shadows and the Interracial Family
    • 4. Imitation of Life, 1959: Gender, Difference and Voiced Rebellion
    • 5. Performative Identities: Sara Jane, Dandridge and Monroe
  • Chapter Four: Cultural Shifts: New Waves in Racial Representation
    • 1. Representing ‘Mixed-Race France’
    • 2. Reimagining the Nation: Mixed Families
    • 3. Questioning Mixed Masculinity: Les Trois frères
    • 4. Melodrama, Motherhood and Masks: Métisse
    • 5. Racial-Sexual Mythology and the Interracial Family
  • Chapter Five: Transnational Families in Drôle de Félix
    • 1. A Search for Identity on the Road
    • 2. Citizenship, Violence and Scopophilia
    • 3. Trauma and Redemption
    • 4. Destabilising the Primary Authority of the Father
    • 5. Reuniting Transnational Families
  • Conclusion
    • 1. ‘Post-Race’ Politics in America and France
    • 2. Enduring Stereotypes
    • 3. Mixed-Race Sci-Fi
    • 4. Mixed Representational Potentials
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Identities on Irish Film and Television by Zélie Asava (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Media Archive on 2016-01-12 01:15Z by Steven

The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Identities on Irish Film and Television by Zélie Asava (review)

Black Camera
Volume 7, Number 1, Fall 2015 (New Series)
pages 267-270

Isabelle Le Corff

Asava, Zélie, The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Identities on Irish Film and Television (Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien: Peter Lang, 2013)

The Black Irish Onscreen makes an original contribution to the field of Irish film studies. Author Zélie Asava has gone to great lengths to confront the political hierarchies of black and white in Ireland and question the links between visual culture and social reality. Pointing at Ireland’s long history of cultural and ethnic heterogeneity, the general introduction shows how, although Ireland has shifted from a land of emigrants to one of immigrants, it continues to consider foreigners as people who come to work rather than to settle permanently, the immigrant probably reminding the nation of its own migrant past and present.

Challenging the idea that “being Irish is still often seen as a question of being the product of two Irish people descended from a long line of Irish ancestors,” Asava describes her familial and cultural roots in Ireland and explains that her politics as a heterosexual mixed-race woman have been deeply influenced by the cultural productions of Ireland. As an Irish woman with dual citizenship, her experiences of misrecognition have framed her intellectual interrogation. She can thus assert that the personal is highly political, and stress the importance of using art to challenge socioeconomic and cultural norms.

Since the emergence of the Celtic Tiger and mass immigration as a new phenomenon, there have been enduring problems of racism and acceptance in Ireland. Asava ironically observes that Irish identity now expands to include the seventy million of the diaspora but still excludes non-Europeans living in Ireland, the majority of whom are African. Questioning the link between reality and onscreen representations, she insists that despite a marked increase in the visibility of gay, lesbian, minority-ethnic, and socially excluded characters on the Irish screen, it is still extremely difficult nowadays to find images of mixed-race or black people in Irish visual culture, and the existing representations are frequently stereotyped and prejudiced. Asava cherishes the hope that, with more focus on commonalities than differences, the black and hyphenated Irish may come to be seen as part of the nation rather than as a fractional ethnic group defined as “Other.” Being critical of the way Otherness may be referred to in cultural products is imperative. Different aspects of Irish public culture are pointed out as a means of de-legitimizing the Irishness of anyone who isn’t white or the product of Irish ancestors. Such aspects range from the constant media references to the men of 1916 to the focus on parochial origins, which inevitably position all hybrids as foreigners, albeit foreigners born and bred on Irish soil. Asava’s book is the first in Irish film studies to consider Ireland as a black mixed-race country and explore manifestations of Irishness which challenge the concept of Irish identity as a static, homogeneous ethnicity, seeking to produce a more inclusive and far reaching vision of Irish identity. It complements Debbie Ging’sGoldfish Memories? On Seeing and Hearing Marginalised Identities in Contemporary Irish Cinema,” published in 2008.

The Black Irish Onscreen is divided into six chapters. The first chapter is devoted to Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game (1992) and Breakfast on Pluto (2005), two Irish films featuring mixed-race protagonists. Jordan’s work was among the first to explore racial narratives in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, and to draw parallels between the political situation in Northern Ireland and interracial and queer/trans* love. His film Mona Lisa (1986) is also cited for starring Cathy Tyson and comparing mixed-race Great Britain and white Ireland. In this chapter Asava briefly refers to Diane Negra and Richard Dyer’s pioneering works on racializing whiteness and showing how representations of gender, sexuality and race have been shaped by the film industry. Sexuality and race are thus equated as alien in an Irish screen culture characterized by major gender imbalances, male directors and male protagonists dominating an industry that favors historical and gangster genres.

The second chapter focuses on black or mixed-race women on Irish television. Different television programs such as Prosperity (RTE, 2007), Love is The Drug (RTE, 2004), and Fair City (RTE, 1989–) are considered for the way they portray black or mixed-race female protagonists. While…

Read or purchase the article here.

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The mixed female figure was (unofficially) accepted as a body onto which white men could project and enact their sexual fantasies.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-03-02 01:35Z by Steven

“It is largely through the on-screen body of the mixed-race female that racial laws have been written and mixed-race issues have been explored.  The mixed female figure was (unofficially) accepted as a body onto which white men could project and enact their sexual fantasies.  Hence the popularity of mixed girls in chorus lines at all-white American clubs, known as ‘café-au-lait cuties’ in the 1930s (5), and as performers in otherwise white films (see the careers of Lena Horne, Josephine Baker, Nina Mae McKinney, Dorothy Dandridge and Fredi Washington). As Suzanne Bost observes ‘throughout popular culture and literature, debates about the nature of mixed-race identity are mapped out on the body of a woman because thinking about racial mixing inevitably leads to questions of sex and reproduction’ (6). J. E. Smyth (7) confirms that in this way, women embody the past, present and future of race relations; mixed women are thus symbolic of the histories of racial mixing and possibilities of integration and equality.” —Zélie Asava

Beti Ellerson, “Zélie Asava: mixed-race identities and representation in Irish, U.S. and French cinemas,” African Women in Cinema Blog, (February 28, 2015). http://africanwomenincinema.blogspot.com/2015/02/zelie-asava-mixed-raced-identities-and.html.

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Zélie Asava: mixed-race identities and representation in Irish, U.S. and French cinemas

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-01 03:50Z by Steven

Zélie Asava: mixed-race identities and representation in Irish, U.S. and French cinemas

African Women in Cinema Blog
2015-02-28

Beti Ellerson, Director
Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema

Interview with Zélie Asava by Beti Ellerson, February 2015.

Zélie Asava of Irish-Kenyan parentage with English citizenship, is a lecturer in film and media theory and national cinemas at Dundalk IT and University College Dublin. She explores mixed-raced identities and its representation in Irish, U.S. and French cinemas.

Zélie could you talk a bit about yourself?

I was born in Dublin to Irish and Kenyan parents. Having lived in London previously, they decided to raise me there. As an adult I moved back to Ireland, to go home and develop my career in academia. While, Dublin is a fascinating city with a great cultural scene, I found the experience much more troubling than anticipated due to the growth in racism during the economic boom of the late ‘90s/early 2000s (see my piece for The Evening Herald newspaper).

As an undergraduate, I became involved in student anti-racism movements at University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin, and worked with community groups. During my MA at the University of Sussex and PhD at University College Dublin I studied the representations of black and mixed-race characters in French and American cinema, while pursuing work as an actress and journalist. In my professional life I have also worked in politics and equal opportunities consultancy, and lived in Canada and France, before becoming a lecturer.

How has your identity influenced your interest in racial representations?

This personal and academic experience prompted me to explore what it meant to be black and Irish from a theoretical and social perspective. I studied the history of black and mixed-race people in Ireland and their representation onscreen, and began to develop research papers on the subject which finally became the book, The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Identities on Irish Film and Television (Peter Lang, 2013).

Due to the cinematic context of my research, the mixed characters I analyse are mostly of African/European heritage, mostly female and mostly heterosexual (following dominant representations). By uncovering, deconstructing and critiquing these representations my work contributes to opening up spaces for new filmmakers, new screen visualizations of raced characters and new understandings of race and racism…

Read the entire interview here.

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CMRS Mixed-Race Irish Film Keynote Links

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Media Archive, Videos on 2015-01-12 20:56Z by Steven

CMRS Mixed-Race Irish Film Keynote Links

Mixed Roots Stories
2015-01-11

Zélie Asava, Lecturer and Joint-Programme Director of Video and Film
Dundalk Institute of Technology, Louth, Ireland

Following my keynote on mixed representations in contemporary Irish cinema and television at the 2014 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, here are some links to the films discussed…

View all of the keynote links here.

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Section of Creative Media lecturer to speak at Global Mixed Race conference in Chicago

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-01-03 16:25Z by Steven

Section of Creative Media lecturer to speak at Global Mixed Race conference in Chicago

Dundalk Institute of Technology
Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland
2014-11-10

Kathryn Moley
Communications Office

Dundalk Institute of Technology is incredibly proud to announce that Joint Programme Director of Video and Film in the Institute, Zélie Asava, is travelling to Chicago, to participate in a ‘Global Mixed Race’ conference.

The conference will be held at DePaul University’s Lincoln Park Campus and will focus on critical mixed race studies with discussions by scholars, filmmakers and performers at this international conference across November 13th-15th. The DkIT lecturer will join nearly two hundred presenters from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan and Australia who will participate in 45 panels during this third biennial conference, which was founded in 2010…

Read the entire article here. Watch the keynote address here.

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‘Global Mixed Race’ conference welcomes scholars, filmmakers to Chicago

Posted in Articles, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2014-11-15 13:32Z by Steven

‘Global Mixed Race’ conference welcomes scholars, filmmakers to Chicago

DePaul University
News Release
2014-10-29

DePaul University faculty Laura Kina and Camilla Fojas cofounded the Critical Mixed Race Studies conference and will deliver opening remarks at this year’s event. (Photo by Jamie Moncrief

Rebecca King-O’Riain, senior lecturer at the National University Ireland Maynooth, will give a keynote speech at the “Global Mixed Race” conference at DePaul University. (Photo courtesy of Rebecca King-O’Riain)

Zélie Asava of the Dundalk Institute of Technology in Ireland will discuss mixed race representations in Irish cinema at the “Global Mixed Race” conference at DePaul University. (Photo courtesy of Zélie Asava)

DePaul University to host free gathering Nov. 13-15

CHICAGO — Critical mixed race studies, a growing academic field that crosses national, disciplinary and racial boundaries, will be the focus of discussion by scholars, filmmakers and performers at an international conference Nov. 13-15 in Chicago. “Global Mixed Race” will be held at DePaul University’s Lincoln Park Campus, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave. In addition to presentations of scholarly research, there will be live performances and film screenings, including the Chicago premiere of “Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China” by director Paula Williams Madison.

Nearly 200 presenters from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan and Australia will participate in 45 panels during this third biennial conference, which was founded at DePaul in 2010.

“We wanted to create a dynamic space for ongoing scholarly antiracist conversations, debates, and creative processes around multiraciality that also is open and inclusive for the general public, community organizations, and those involved in the arts,” said Laura Kina, cofounder of the conference and professor of art, media and design at DePaul University. Kina is coauthor of “War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art” and an artist whose solo exhibitions include “Blue Hawai’I” and “Sugar.”

Camilla Fojas, conference cofounder and professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at DePaul, will deliver the welcoming address with Kina.

Critical mixed race studies is comparative and interdisciplinary. It engages colonial and imperial histories, giving it a transnational and global focus,” Fojas said. Her research focuses on transnational American media and cultural studies in a comparative imperial context. Her newest work, “Islands of Empire: Pop Culture and U.S. Power,” examines how the United States has narrated its relationship with island territories, including Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

The conference will feature two keynote speakers from Ireland: Rebecca King-O’Riain and Zélie Asava

Read the entire press release here.

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The 3rd Biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference “Global Mixed Race”

Posted in Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2014-10-26 17:46Z by Steven

The 3rd Biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference “Global Mixed Race”

DePaul University
DePaul Student Center
2550 North Shefield
Chicago, Illinois 60614
2014-11-13 through 2014-11-15

Free and open to the public!

Global Mixed Race, the third biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, will be hosted at DePaul University in Chicago, November 13th-15th, 2014. It will bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines around the world to facilitate a conversation about the transnational, transdisciplinary, and transracial field of Critical Mixed Race Studies.

The 2014 conference is organized in partnership with DePaul’s Department for Latin American and Latino Studies and the Center for Intercultural Programs, and the non-profit organization Mixed Roots Stories. CMRS 2014 is also co-sponsored by DePaul’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, African Black Diaspora Studies, Art, Media, & Design, Center for Latino Research, Critical Ethnic Studies, Global Asian Studies, Irish Studies, LGBTQ Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies.

View the final schedule here.

Website: www.criticalmixedracestudies.org
E-Mail: cmrs@depaul.edu
Telephone: 773-325-4994
Facebook: criticalmixedracestudies
Twitter: @CMRSmixedrace #CMRS2014

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Culture File – Race and the Irish Screen

Posted in Audio, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Interviews, Media Archive on 2014-05-16 18:59Z by Steven

Culture File – Race and the Irish Screen

RTÉ Lyric FM
2014-05-15

Fin Keegan, Host

Zélie Asava, Lecturer and Programme Director of Video and Film
Dundalk Institute of Technology, Louth, Ireland

What can the Irish horror movie tell us about attitudes to race? And can a mixed race guard [police] in an Irish crime series, ever be just a guard? Dr. Asava is the author of Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Irish Identities on Film and TV (Peter Lang, 2013).


Download the interview here.

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Register Now for the 3rd Biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference “Global Mixed Race” at DePaul University in Chicago

Posted in Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2014-04-02 18:56Z by Steven

Register Now for the 3rd Biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference “Global Mixed Race” at DePaul University in Chicago

Critical Mixed Race Studies
2014-04-02

Mark your calendars, book your flights and hotels, and be sure to register (it’s free!) for the 3rd biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference “Global Mixed Race” November 13-15, 2014 at DePaul University in Chicago.

Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, National University Ireland Maynooth and coeditor of Global Mixed Race (forthcoming New York University Press, 2014) will be our featured CMRS keynote.

Also from Ireland, Zélie Asava will be our featured Mixed Roots Stories keynote. She is the author of The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Irish Identities on Film and TV (Peter Lang, 2013).

Join us for three days of scholarly panels plus an exciting line up of arts and cultural programming organized in conjunction with Mixed Roots Stories including: feature film screenings, an evening of short films, a live performance evening, and arts and culture panels and workshops across the three conference days. CMRS 2014 will also include an info fair and caucus meetings. This conference is open to the public and all are welcome. CMRS creates a dynamic environment where senior and junior scholars, students, activists, artists, community, non-profit and student organizations, and the general public can network and share.

For more information, click here.

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