New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2016-10-26 16:16Z by Steven

New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration

New York University Press
February 2017
368 pages
28 halftones
Cloth ISBN: 9781479888801

Judith Weisenfeld, Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor of Religion
Princeton University

When Joseph Nathaniel Beckles registered for the draft in the 1942,  he rejected the racial categories presented to him and persuaded the registrar to cross out the check mark she had placed next to Negro and substitute “Ethiopian Hebrew.”  “God did not make us Negroes,” declared religious leaders in black communities of the early twentieth-century urban North. They insisted that so-called Negroes are, in reality, Ethiopian Hebrews, Asiatic Muslims, or raceless children of God. Rejecting conventional American racial classification, many black southern migrants and immigrants from the Caribbean embraced these alternative visions of black history, racial identity, and collective future, thereby reshaping the black religious and racial landscape.

Focusing on the Moorish Science Temple, the Nation of Islam, Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement, and a number of congregations of Ethiopian Hebrews, Judith Weisenfeld argues that the appeal of these groups lay not only in the new religious opportunities membership provided, but also in the novel ways they formulated a religio-racial identity. Arguing that members of these groups understood their religious and racial identities as divinely-ordained and inseparable, the book examines how this sense of self shaped their conceptions of their bodies, families, religious and social communities, space and place, and political sensibilities.

Weisenfeld draws on extensive archival research and incorporates a rich array of sources to highlight the experiences of average members. The book demonstrates that the efforts by members of these movements to contest conventional racial categorization contributed to broader discussions in black America about the nature of racial identity and the collective future of black people that still resonate today.

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Swing Time

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Novels on 2016-10-26 01:37Z by Steven

Swing Time

Penguin Press
464 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1594203985
Paperback ISBN: 978-1524723194

Zadie Smith

Two brown girls dream of being dancers—but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

Tracey makes it to the chorus line but struggles with adult life, while her friend leaves the old neighborhood behind, traveling the world as an assistant to a famous singer, Aimee, observing close up how the one percent live.

But when Aimee develops grand philanthropic ambitions, the story moves from London to West Africa, where diaspora tourists travel back in time to find their roots, young men risk their lives to escape into a different future, the women dance just like Tracey—the same twists, the same shakes—and the origins of a profound inequality are not a matter of distant history but a present dance to the music of time.

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Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2016-10-23 02:19Z by Steven

Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
October 2017
295 pages
ISBN13: 978-1-77112-240-5

Michelle La Flamme, Professor of English
University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Canada’s history is bicultural, Indigenous, and multilingual, and these characteristics have given risen to a number of strategies used by our writers to code racially mixed characters. This book examines contemporary Canadian literature and drama in order to tease out some of those strategies and the social and cultural factors that inform them.

Racially hybrid characters in literature have served a matrix of needs. They are used as shorthand for interracial desire, signifiers of taboo love, images of impurity, symbols of degeneration, and examples of beauty and genetic perfection. Their fates have been used to suggest the futility of marrying across racial lines, or the revelation of their “one drop” signals a climactic downfall. Other narratives suggest mixed-race bodies are foundational to colonization and signify contact between colonial and Indigenous bodies.

Author Michelle LaFlamme approaches racial hybridity with a cross-generic and cross-racial approach, unusual in the field of hybridity studies, by analyzing characters with different racial mixes in autobiographies, fiction, and drama. Her analysis privileges literary texts and the voices of artists rather than sociological explanations of the mixed-race experience. The book suggests that the hyper-visualization of mixed-race bodies in mono-racial contexts creates a scopophilic interest in how those bodies look and perform race.

La Flamme’s term “soma text” draws attention to the constructed, performative aspects of this form of embodiment. The writers she examines witness that living in a racially hybrid and ambiguous body is a complex engagement that involves reading and decoding the body in sophisticated ways, involving both the multiracial body and the racialized gaze of the onlooker.

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Anglo-Indians and Minority Politics in South Asia: Race, Boundary Making and Communal Nationalism

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-10-22 20:06Z by Steven

Anglo-Indians and Minority Politics in South Asia: Race, Boundary Making and Communal Nationalism

256 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9781138847224

Uther Charlton-Stevens, Associate Professor
Institute of World Economy and Finance
Volgograd State University, Russia

Anglo-Indians are a mixed-race, Christian and Anglophone minority community which arose in India during the long period of European colonialism. An often neglected part of the British ‘Raj’, their presence complicates the traditional binary through which British imperialism in South Asia is viewed – of ruler and ruled, coloniser and colonised. This book looks at how Anglo-Indians illuminate the history of minority politics in the transition from British colonial rule in South Asia to independence.

The book analyses how the provisions in the Indian Constitution relating to Anglo-Indian cultural, linguistic and religious autonomy were implemented in the years following 1950. It discusses how effective the measures designed to protect Anglo-Indian employment by the state and Anglo-Indian educational institutions under the pressures of Indian national politics were. Presenting an in-depth account of this minority community in South Asia, this book will be of interest to those studying South Asian History, Colonial History and South Asian Politics.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. East Indians
  • 2. The ‘Eurasian Problem’
  • 3. Becoming Anglo-Indians
  • 4. Making a Minority
  • 5. Escapisms of Empire
  • 6. Constituting the Nation
  • 7. Conclusion
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Remapping Race on the Human Genome: Commercial Exploits in a Racialized America

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2016-10-22 20:04Z by Steven

Remapping Race on the Human Genome: Commercial Exploits in a Racialized America

October 2016
645 pages
6.125 x 9.25
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4408-4992-3
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4408-4993-0

Edited by:

Patricia Reid-Merritt, Distinguished Professor of Social Work and Africana Studies
Stockton University, Galloway, New Jersey

Is race simply an antiquated, pseudo-scientific abstraction developed to justify the dehumanization of various categories of the human population?

Focusing on the socially explosive concept of race and how it has affected human interactions, this work examines the social and scientific definitions of race, the implementation of racialized policies and practices, the historical and contemporary manifestations of the use of race in shaping social interactions within U.S. society and elsewhere, and where our notions of race will likely lead.

More than a decade and a half into the 21st century, the term “race” remains one of the most emotionally charged words in the human language. While race can be defined as “a local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics,” the concept of race can better be understood as a socially defined construct—a system of human classification that carries tremendous weight, yet is complex, confusing, contradictory, controversial, and imprecise.

This collection of essays focuses on the socially explosive concept of race and how it has shaped human interactions across civilization. The contributed work examines the social and scientific definitions of race, the implementation of racialized policies and practices, and the historical and contemporary manifestations of the use of race in shaping social interactions (primarily) in the United States—a nation where the concept of race is further convoluted by the nation’s extensive history of miscegenation as well as the continuous flow of immigrant groups from countries whose definitions of race, ethnicity, and culture remain fluid. Readers will gain insights into subjects such as how we as individuals define ourselves through concepts of race, how race affects social privilege, “color blindness” as an obstacle to social change, legal perspectives on race, racialization of the religious experience, and how the media perpetuates racial stereotypes.


  • Addresses a poignant topic that is always controversial, relevant, and addressed in mainstream and social media
  • Examines the various socio-historical factors that contribute to our understanding of race as a concept, enabling readers to appreciate how “definitions” of race are complex, confusing, contradictory, controversial, and imprecise
  • Inspects contemporary manifestations of race in the United States with regard to specific contexts, such as the quest for U.S. citizenship, welfare services, the legislative process, capitalism, and the perpetuation of racial stereotypes in the media
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Géneros de Gente in Early Colonial Mexico: Defining Racial Difference

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Law, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2016-10-22 20:04Z by Steven

Géneros de Gente in Early Colonial Mexico: Defining Racial Difference

University of Oklahoma Press
304 pages
Illustrations: 3 b&w illus., 2 maps, 18 tables
6″ x 9″
Hardcover ISBN: 9780806154879

Robert C. Schwaller, Assistant Professor of History
University of Kansas, Lawrence

On December 19, 1554, the members of Tenochtitlan’s indigenous cabildo, or city council, petitioned Emperor Charles V of Spain for administrative changes “to save us from any Spaniard, mestizo, black, or mulato afflicting us in the marketplace, on the roads, in the canal, or in our homes.” Within thirty years of the conquest, the presence of these groups in New Spain was large enough to threaten the social, economic, and cultural order of the indigenous elite. In Géneros de Gente in Early Colonial Mexico, an ambitious rereading of colonial history, Robert C. Schwaller proposes using the Spanish term géneros de gente (types or categories of people) as part of a more nuanced perspective on what these categories of difference meant and how they evolved. His work revises our understanding of racial hierarchy in Mexico, the repercussions of which reach into the present.

Schwaller traces the connections between medieval Iberian ideas of difference and the unique societies forged in the Americas. He analyzes the ideological and legal development of géneros de gente into a system that began to resemble modern notions of race. He then examines the lives of early colonial mestizos and mulatos to show how individuals of mixed ancestry experienced the colonial order. By pairing an analysis of legal codes with a social history of mixed-race individuals, his work reveals the disjunction between the establishment of a common colonial language of what would become race and the ability of the colonial Spanish state to enforce such distinctions. Even as the colonial order established a system of governance that entrenched racial differences, colonial subjects continued to mediate their racial identities through social networks, cultural affinities, occupation, and residence.

Presenting a more complex picture of the ways difference came to be defined in colonial Mexico, this book exposes important tensions within Spanish colonialism and the developing social order. It affords a significant new view of the development and social experience of race—in early colonial Mexico and afterward.

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Andrew Watson: The World’s First Black Football Superstar

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2016-10-22 19:19Z by Steven

Andrew Watson: The World’s First Black Football Superstar

Hansib Publications
136 pages
216 x 138 mm

Tony Talburt

Foreword by Lord Herman Ouseley

Today, seeing Black footballers playing the game at the very highest level is considered very normal. This, certainly, was not the case one hundred and forty years ago, and this is what makes the story of Andrew Watson so remarkable.

It seems hard to imagine that a Guyanese-born Black man could head the Scottish national football team in 1881 in a game against England. Not only was he captain, but he also led them to a 6-1 victory in London – an achievement that still ranks as England’s heaviest ever defeat on home soil. If this were all that Watson had been able to accomplish, most people would agree that he should be commended for being the world’s first Black person to captain a national football team. But there was so much more. He was the world’s first Black football administrator, as well as the first Black player to win three national cup winners’ trophies.

During the 1870s and 1880s, when Watson played, he was regarded as one of the finest players in Britain. The word ‘pioneer’ is often used to describe certain players, but this would certainly be a most fitting expression to encapsulate the remarkable achievements of Andrew Watson.

This book reflects upon the legend, legacy and pioneering endeavours of a truly great Black British football superstar.

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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
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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Reaping Something New: African American Transformations of Victorian Literature

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2016-10-10 00:49Z by Steven

Reaping Something New: African American Transformations of Victorian Literature

Princeton University Press
November 2016
304 pages
6 x 9
12 line illus.
Hardcover ISBN: 9780691169453
eBook ISBN: 9781400883745

Daniel Hack, Associate Professor of English
University of Michigan

Tackling fraught but fascinating issues of cultural borrowing and appropriation, this groundbreaking book reveals that Victorian literature was put to use in African American literature and print culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in much more intricate, sustained, and imaginative ways than previously suspected. From reprinting and reframing “The Charge of the Light Brigade” in an antislavery newspaper to reimagining David Copperfield and Jane Eyre as mixed-race youths in the antebellum South, writers and editors transposed and transformed works by the leading British writers of the day to depict the lives of African Americans and advance their causes. Central figures in African American literary and intellectual history—including Frederick Douglass, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Charles Chesnutt, Pauline Hopkins, and W.E.B. Du Bois—leveraged Victorian literature and this history of engagement itself to claim a distinctive voice and construct their own literary tradition.

In bringing these transatlantic transfigurations to light, this book also provides strikingly new perspectives on both canonical and little-read works by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and other Victorian authors. The recovery of these works’ African American afterlives illuminates their formal practices and ideological commitments, and forces a reassessment of their cultural impact and political potential. Bridging the gap between African American and Victorian literary studies, Reaping Something New changes our understanding of both fields and rewrites an important chapter of literary history.

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Gentleman Jigger: A Novel of the Harlem Renaissance

Posted in Books, Gay & Lesbian, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2016-10-10 00:15Z by Steven

Gentleman Jigger: A Novel of the Harlem Renaissance

Da Capo Press
2008-01-23 (originally written in 1928)
352 pages
5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
ISBN: 978-0786720637

Richard Bruce Nugent (1906-1987)

An important addition to the literature of the period, Gentleman Jigger is the story of two brothers. Aeon, who passes for white and becomes a famous poet, faces the conundrums of love across the color line. Stuartt, who is openly homosexual-as was the author-joins the younger intellectuals of Harlem in defying authority figures, both black and white, at the notorious “Niggeratti Manor.” After the group disperses, Stuartt moves to Greenwich Village and becomes sexually involved with a young hoodlum. Charming and audacious, Stuartt eventually seduces one of the gangster’s top bosses, Orini, before his friendships with Wayne, a young heiress, and Bebe, Orini’s “moll,” set them all spinning in a whirlwind of jazz-age glamour and celebrity…that ends in an ironic dénouement.

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