Making and Unmaking Whiteness in Early New South Fiction After the Civil War

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2014-12-21 01:40Z by Steven

Making and Unmaking Whiteness in Early New South Fiction After the Civil War

Smashwords
2012-06-06
77 pages (21,670 words)
eBook ISBN: 9781476497068

Peter Schmidt, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English Literature
Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

This essay—a work of literary criticism and critical race studies written to be accessible to non-specialists—examines how popular fiction contributed to and contested new forms of white racial dominance, collectively known as Jim Crow or the “color-line,” in the U.S. in the 1880s and after. I focus in particular on the cultural work undertaken by the “command performance” scene in these texts, in which a black person was asked to tell a story or otherwise give a performance that was supposed to affirm the affection and respect “good” blacks held for whites. Yet what begins to emerge again and again in such “command performance” scenes, even sometimes against the author’s efforts to downplay them, are suggestions of coercion, duplicity, and instability in power hierarchies and racial identities. White supremacy is demonstrably not a given here; it is imperfectly produced, or at least reaffirmed under stress, in a way that locally conditions any power that whiteness may claim. And if a white person’s sense of entitlement was so dependent upon the performance of another, to what degree could such a sense of self be threatened or even unmade in such encounters?

Making and Unmaking Whiteness surveys a broad range of black and white authors but gives special attention to the fictions of four—Joel Chandler Harris, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Kate Chopin, and Pauline Hopkins—who in the early Jim Crow era both dissected the contradictions in white supremacy and imagined alternatives.

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English 49, “Whiteness” and Racial Difference

Posted in Course Offerings, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2014-12-21 01:28Z by Steven

English 49, “Whiteness” and Racial Difference

Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Spring 1997

Peter Schmidt, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English Literature

A look at the conflicted ways in which “racial” identities and differences have been constructed in past and contemporary cultures, especially in the U.S. Topics given emphasis in the syllabus include why saying “race doesn’t matter” is not enough; how a new debates about the history of race have changed American Studies and feminist studies; how European immigrants to the U.S. became “white” and with what benefits and what costs; how popular culture can both resist and perpetuate racist culture; and an introduction to issues of “passing,” multi-racial identity, and recovering a multiracial past. The format of the class will include both lecture and student-led discussion.

For more information, click here.

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EN-255 Passing Narratives

Posted in Course Offerings, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2014-12-20 23:57Z by Steven

EN-255 Passing Narratives

Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
Fall Semester

Passing narratives investigate how the boundaries of identity can be reimagined. Most often depicting racial passing (when a person “passes for” someone of another race), these narratives also can be about performing another gender or sexual identity. In this course, we will examine a variety of texts that treat different forms of passing. Beginning with a slave narrative in which a black woman “passes” as a white man to escape slavery, we will trace the evolution of this trope through American literature and film. From traditional passing novels that use the form to protest racial injustice to recent texts that challenge continued discrimination against of other marginalized groups in contemporary culture, we will explore topics such as biological essentialism vs. the social construction of identity; authenticity and performance; social and legal forms of identity categorization and boundary maintenance; the role of literature in social reform; and many others. We will examine these topics through frequent in-class close reading and response writing in addition to formal essays, and presentations meant to deepen your understanding of selected texts.

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Ming Wong’s Imitations

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing on 2014-12-20 17:59Z by Steven

Ming Wong’s Imitations

Transit: A Journal of Travel, Migration, and Multiculturalism in the German-speaking World
Volume 9, Number 2 (2014) Special Topic: Contemporary Remediations of Race and Ethnicity in German Visual Cultures
32 pages

Barbara Mennel, Associate Professor of English
University of Florida

The article “Ming Wong’s Imitations” analyzes the installation Life of Imitation, created by visual artist Ming Wong for the Singapore Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. Life of Imitation restages a key scene from Douglas Sirk’s 1959 melodrama Imitation of Life, in which the African American character Annie visits her daughter Sarah Jane who is passing as white. In Wong’s restaging three male actors from different ethnic groups in Singapore reenact the scene, but switch roles at every cut. The article traces the shifts from the original literary source, Fannie Hurst’s 1933 Imitation of Life to John M. Stahl’s 1934 film of the same title to Sirk’s version. Emphasizing melodrama’s organizing structure of “too late,” I show how Sirk shifted the melodramatic emphasis from the white mother/daughter pair’s romantic conflict to the African American mother/daughter pair’s racial conflict. Addressing the question whether such a shift implies a progressive politics, I turn to the contentious discussion of Sirk’s earlier film work in Weimar and Nazi Germany, pointing to ideological and formal continuities.

In contrast to these significant shifts in the different instantiations of the text, I propose that the different versions share the subordination and disavowal of ethnic difference in order to construct a racial binary, which then becomes the setting of the passing narrative organized around the ‘tragic mulatta’. I illustrate my argument with the instances of ethnic passing of the writers, directors, and actors involved in the different versions of the text. However, I also show the appeal of racial passing narratives can have for a gay camp imagination, identification, and appropriation. I conclude the article with a discussion of Wong’s double move in Life of Imitation of returning ethnic bodies that have been excised from the original diegesis to their significance and appropriating the gendered melodrama through cross-dressing. After a survey of the term “remediation” as it emerged from the discussion of new media, I show that Wong’s piece belongs to a group of works by visual artists who remake film in digital media in the environment of the art space. I conclude with reading the effect of rotating the actors at each cut, which does not subvert spatial and temporal continuity, but challenges spectators’ perception of ethnicity and gender, and produces unstable identities.

Read the entire article here.

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Multiracial Marriage on the Rise

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-12-20 17:13Z by Steven

Multiracial Marriage on the Rise

The Brookings Institution
The Avenue: Rethinking Metropoliitian America
2014-12-18

William H. Frey, Senior Fellow
Metropolitan Policy Program

One consequence of America’s diversity explosion is a rise in multiracial marriages. In 1960, before immigration levels to the United States started to rise, multiracial marriages constituted only 0.4 percent of all U.S. marriages. That figure increased to 8.4 percent in 2010 and for recent newlyweds, 15 percent.

Not surprisingly the prevalence of out-marriage is high for new minorities, Hispanics and Asians, in light of the large pool of potential partners who are of different origins. More than four in ten new marriages of each group marry someone of a different race—with whites the most likely partners…

Read the entire article here.

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Black And White In America: Study Reveals Many Americans Have Mixed Race Background They Were Unaware Of

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United States on 2014-12-19 21:40Z by Steven

Black And White In America: Study Reveals Many Americans Have Mixed Race Background They Were Unaware Of

Medical Daily
New York, New York
2014-12-18

Dana Dovey, Health Journalist

Earlier this year, National Geographic made headlines with its “Changing Face of America” article. The story explained that America was becoming more comfortable with interracial relationships, and as a result, the future would be made up of a group of people with features from multiple races. A new study has challenged this hypothesis and suggested that this “mixed race future” is already here. We just never realized it.

The study, published by Cell Press, found that there is quite a large difference in the race that people identify with and what they actually are. In a recent study, researchers analyzed the DNA of more than 160,000 Americans who had offered their saliva as part of the 23andMe project. What researchers found was surprising.

The study found that, as expected, people tended to identify with the race that made up the majority of their background. However, for many, this self-identification was not completely accurate. According to the press release, the team estimated that as many as six million Americans who identify as white from a European background carry African ancestry and as many as five million self-described European white Americans have Native American ancestry….

Read the entire article here.

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Popup cafe uses derogatory drink names in bid to get people talking about race

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2014-12-19 20:07Z by Steven

Popup cafe uses derogatory drink names in bid to get people talking about race

New York Daily News
2014-12-17

Ben Kochman

The bizarre java joint offers drinks with derogatory names like “The Half Breed” and “The Mutt,” which organizers insist will help start a helpful conversation about race, even if some are offended. (Ben Kochman/New York Daily News)

Come for the java, stay for the jolting chat about race.

Organizers of a Bronx pop-up café and art installation selling drinks with derogatory names are OK if you’re offended — at first.

“If you come in and you’re offended, then maybe you’ll leave and maybe be more sensitive before you say these things to other people,” said Vernicia Colon, co-founder of the Mix Coffeehaus, a temporary shop in Mott Haven.

Drinks include “The Mulatto” — part espresso, part milk — and “The One Drop” — a hot chocolate made from chocolate syrup dropped into hot milk — a play on the “one drop rule” colloquial term for people labeled black even though they have only one black relative…

Read the entire article here.

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Defining Blackness in Colombia

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-12-19 15:51Z by Steven

Defining Blackness in Colombia

Journal de la Société des Américanistes
Volume 95, Number 1 (2009)
pages 165-184 (46 paragraphs)

Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester, United Kingdom

This paper looks at the complex relationship between concepts employed by social scientists and those used in everyday practice and discourse, arguing that the standard ideas about how ideas travel from one domain (state, academe, social movements, everyday usage) to another, and become essentialised or destabilised in the process, are often too simple. Changing definitions of blackness in Colombia, through the process of multiculturalist reform and after, are examined with a view to exploring which categories of actors were influential in shaping these definitions and which were involved in essentialisations and de-essentialisations.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The ambiguity of blackness
  • The emergence of black identity and huellas de africanía
  • Constitutional reform and la comunidad negra
  • The hegemony of « afro »
  • Blackness and mestizaje
  • Conclusion

Read the entire article here.

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Whiteness in Latin America: measurement and meaning in national censuses (1850-1950)

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-12-19 15:31Z by Steven

Whiteness in Latin America: measurement and meaning in national censuses (1850-1950)

Journal de la Société des Américanistes
Volume 95, Number 2 (2009)
pages 207-234 (63 paragraphs)

Mara Loveman, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Drawing on an analysis of all national censuses conducted in Latin America from 1850 to 1950, this article examines how tacit assumptions about the nature of « whiteness » informed the production of statistical knowledge about Latin American populations. For insight into implicit racial beliefs that shaped census-taking in this period, the article considers how census agents accomplished three basic tasks: 1) identifying the « race » of individuals in the population; 2) preparing statistical tables to publicize census results; and, 3) projecting the racial composition of national populations in the future. The analysis identifies variation in notions of « whiteness » across the region, but also points to a set of broadly shared premises about the nature, value, and boundaries of whiteness that transcended nation-state boundaries in this period. Fundamental similarities in ideas about whiteness found in Latin American censuses appear even more starkly when the scope of analysis expands to include the censuses of the United States.

Table of Contents

  • Racial classification in Latin American censuses
  • The nature of whiteness: who is white?
  • The value of whiteness: describing and inscribing racial hierarchy
  • The boundaries of whiteness: projecting a whiter future
  • Discussion and conclusion

Read the entire article here.

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The Genetic Ancestry of African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United States

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2014-12-19 02:12Z by Steven

The Genetic Ancestry of African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United States

The American Journal of Human Genetics
Published online: 2014-12-18
17 pages
DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2014.11.010

Katarzyna Bryc, Research Fellow in Genetics (EXT)
Department of Genetics
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

Eric Y. Durand
23andMe, Inc., Mountain View, California

J. Michael Macpherson, Assistant Professor
School of Computational Sciences
Chapman University, Orange, California

David Reich, Professor of Genetics
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

Joanna L. Mountain, Senior Director of Research
23andMe, Inc., Mountain View, California

Over the past 500 years, North America has been the site of ongoing mixing of Native Americans, European settlers, and Africans (brought largely by the trans-Atlantic slave trade), shaping the early history of what became the United States. We studied the genetic ancestry of 5,269 self-described African Americans, 8,663 Latinos, and 148,789 European Americans who are 23andMe customers and show that the legacy of these historical interactions is visible in the genetic ancestry of present-day Americans. We document pervasive mixed ancestry and asymmetrical male and female ancestry contributions in all groups studied. We show that regional ancestry differences reflect historical events, such as early Spanish colonization, waves of immigration from many regions of Europe, and forced relocation of Native Americans within the US. This study sheds light on the fine-scale differences in ancestry within and across the United States and informs our understanding of the relationship between racial and ethnic identities and genetic ancestry.

Read the entire article here.

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