Mizuko

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Biography, Media Archive on 2018-04-20 02:24Z by Steven

Mizuko

Hapa Japan
2018-04-13

Fredrick Cloyd


Featured Image by Edward M. Haugh

During the years of gathering research and thoughts, memory and conversations into some sort of cohesive unit for a book–which would eventually become the forthcoming (Spring 2018 by 2Leaf Press) entitled: Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific, I had not thought of a title, or a way to fit all the pieces together for the vast amount of links and connections I wanted to make in relation to world historical archive and a definite anti-colonial stance. Yet another story of a unique person in the world was not my goal, although it would also be taken that way. I wanted to reach those who were concerned with looking at the historical present.

In focusing on my mother and myself, it came one day in a dream. Just as the opening scene in my book presents, I am suddenly woken up in the middle of the night to write: みずこ 水子 ミズコ (mizuko) on a notepad I pull out from the bedside drawer. It puzzled me because, at least consciously, I did not know what this word meant or what it was. Then, the next day, I looked it up on the internet. The term mizuko, was the postwar euphemism for aborted fetus, or dead fetus. An entire religious ceremonial ritual grew out of this when the U.S. Occupation lifted its ban on religious ceremonies in Japan. Many women flooded to the countless shrines and statues to pray for those babies gone. Some were so ashamed, they did it in secret. But most women, even after given “permission,” could now do prayers in the forest and write their babies names or burn their incense in the name of that baby they let go from their bodies…

Read the entire article here.

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Review: Atlantic Families, Race, and Empire

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2018-04-20 00:53Z by Steven

Review: Atlantic Families, Race, and Empire

The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History
2018-04-19

Casey Schmitt, Ph.D. Candidate in early American history
College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia

Daniel Livesay, Children of Uncertain Fortune: Mixed-Race Jamaicans in Britain and the Atlantic Family, 1733-1833 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 2018).

A central thread running through Daniel Livesay’s Children of Uncertain Fortune is deceptively simple: Atlantic families structured the development of ideologies surrounding race in the British empire during the long eighteenth century.1 Woven through the book, however, is a richly nuanced exploration of what terms like Atlantic, family, race, and empire meant and how understandings of those terms changed over a pivotal hundred-year period starting in the 1730s. Through institutional records and family papers produced on both sides of the Atlantic, Livesay identifies 360 mixed-race people from Jamaica and traces the lived experiences of a handful of them as they navigated their social and economic position within transatlantic kin networks. Those individual narratives reveal how Britons experienced empire through family ties in ways that shaped their perceptions of race, colonialism, and belonging…

Read the entire review here.

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Multi-award nominated playwright Natasha Marshall talks about the return of her hit show, Half Breed!

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-04-20 00:40Z by Steven

Multi-award nominated playwright Natasha Marshall talks about the return of her hit show, Half Breed!

Theater Full Stop
2018-03-29

Lucy Basaba, Founder & Editor

Debuting at last year’s Edinburgh Festival, Natasha Marshall’s Half Breed has sparked conversation about what it means to be of mixed heritage in Britain today and how this is viewed within society. A part autobiographical work, Marshall’s vital one woman show has received critical acclaim, picking up multiple award nominations in the process. Marshall credits the show’s success to the influential Talawa Theatre Company and Soho Writer’s Lab for allowing the show to reach its full potential.

Both companies are renowned for their support and championing of new writing, contributing to our contemporary canon of new voices. Read on to find out more about Marshall’s response towards the show’s success, what she’d like for audiences to take away from the show and what it was like performing the show to audiences in India!

You’ll be performing your critically acclaimed show Half Breed at Soho Theatre in April before embarking on a UK tour. How are you feeling ahead of the tour?

I’m nervous but mainly so excited to take this story to the places that need it the most. Schools/ rural areas… it’s going to be a journey. Feels very surreal to be doing this because I never imagined it would go this far, but very grateful it has.

Half Breed places focus on identity; growing up as the only mixed raced resident within a rural part of the UK. What drew you to write a piece on this particular subject?

It’s my experience on what it means to be black and I never saw that portrayed anywhere, so I decided to do it myself. Just wanted to see more variety onstage for people of colour, I was tired of seeing/performing the same old stereotypes…

Read the entire interview here.

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A Standing Ovation for One Drop of Love

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2018-04-20 00:17Z by Steven

A Standing Ovation for One Drop of Love

The Pilot Light: Official Blog of Naropa University
Boulder, Colorado
2018-04-19

Heather Hendrie, MA Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy student


Fanshen Cox Digiovanni Photo by David DeVine

It is my belief that the real magic in art arises in the space where the personal masterfully meets the universal. And mastery is what Fanshen Cox Digiovanni brought to us yesterday over the lunch hour at Naropa University with her one-woman show, “One Drop of Love”.

Fanshen Cox Digiovanni, an award-winning actor, producer, playwright, educator, and activist, was on campus performing as part of this year’s annual Bayard & John Cobb Peace Lecture. She wrote her show as her MFA thesis. In answer to the question, “How long did it take you to create this beautiful piece?” she laughs and says, “Oh, about 48 years!”

Using pieces from her father’s memoir and real images and recordings of conversations with family members, Fanshen created a masterpiece. She has performed the show across the country over the past five years. “One Drop of Love” is an interactive multimedia show that explores the intersections of race, class, and gender in pursuit of truth, justice, and love…

Read the entire article here.

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In Black and White: A Hermeneutic Argument against “Transracialism”

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, Philosophy, United States on 2018-04-19 00:47Z by Steven

In Black and White: A Hermeneutic Argument against “Transracialism”

Res Philosophica
Volume 95, Issue 2, April 2018
Pages 303-329

Tina Fernandes Botts, Professor of Philosophy
California State University, Fresno

Transracialism, defined as both experiencing oneself as, and being, a race other than the race assigned to one by society, does not exist. Translated into hermeneutics, transracialism is an unintelligible phenomenon in the specific sociocultural context of the United States in the early twenty-first century. Within this context, race is a function of ancestry, and is therefore defined in terms of something that is external to the self and unchangeable. Since transracialism does not exist, the question of whether transracialism would be ethically advisable if it did exist is inapposite. Nonetheless, at a minimum we can say that racial transition (defined as attempting to change one’s race through artificial and/or associative changes, and living life as a race other than the race assigned to one by society, etc.) is possible, but is very likely unethical, since it is the same as racial passing.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Thinking through Rejections and Defenses of Transracialism

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Philosophy on 2018-04-19 00:20Z by Steven

Thinking through Rejections and Defenses of Transracialism

Philosophy Today: An International Journal of Contemporary Philosophy
Volume 62, Issue 1, Winter 2018
Pages 11-19
DOI: 10.5840/philtoday201829196

Lewis R. Gordon, Professor of Philosophy; Africana Studies
University of Connecticut, Storrs

This article explores several philosophical questions raised by Rebecca Tuvel’s controversial article, “In Defense of Transracialism.” Drawing upon work on the concept of bad faith, including its form as “disciplinary decadence,” this discussion raises concerns of constructivity and its implications and differences in intersections of race and gender.

Read the entire article here.

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Building new selves: identity, “Passing,” and intertextuality in Zoë Wicomb’s Playing in the Light

Posted in Africa, Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, South Africa on 2018-04-13 23:53Z by Steven

Building new selves: identity, “Passing,” and intertextuality in Zoë Wicomb’s Playing in the Light

Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies
Published online: 2018-04-03
DOI: 10.1080/17533171.2018.1453977

David Hoegberg, Associate Professor of English; Africana Studies
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

This article examines Zoë Wicomb’s wide-ranging use of intertextuality in the novel Playing in the Light to explore the links between identity construction and postcolonial authorship. Focusing on the characters as intertextual agents, I argue that the three coloured women on whom the novel focuses – Helen, Marion, and Brenda – use texts in distinctive ways that illuminate their struggles to position themselves in South Africa’s complex and changing racial landscape. Racial “passing” is one form of a larger pattern in the novel of the use of citation and imitation to achieve specific ends. By embedding the citations of Helen and Marion within the citation-rich narrative of Brenda, Wicomb lays bare the mechanisms of identity construction within a work that stages and highlights its own intertextual practices.

Read or purchase the article here.

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A Visit to the 2018 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2018-04-12 19:46Z by Steven

A Visit to the 2018 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference

Pacific Citizen: The National Newspaper of the JACL
Los Angeles, California
2018-03-28

Rob Buscher, Contributor


Ken Tanabe, left, and Jeff Chiba Stearns lead the Community Caucus at CMRS. (Photo: Rob Buscher)

Leaders in the multiracial movement gather to ‘Resist, Reclaim, Reimagine’ – a direct call to action amidst the current political climate faced by historically underrepresented communities in the U.S.

Over the past few decades, the Japanese American community has become increasingly inclusive of multiracial and multiethnic individuals. However, for those of us who appear less phenotypically Japanese, it is sometimes difficult explaining our connection to people who are less familiar with interracial marriage and mixed-race children.

Multiracial Japanese Americans are in many ways the direct result of institutionalized racism that stigmatized Japanese-ness in the 20th century. From the Alien Land Laws to the mass incarceration during World War II, the very existence of our Japanese immigrant ancestors was deemed objectionable. Is it any wonder that so many of our parents and grandparents would choose intermarriage with partners from other ethnic and racial communities?

Yet, despite the growing prevalence of mixed-race Japanese Americans, there are many outside our community who do not acknowledge the legitimacy of our existence within the spectrum of Japanese American identity.

This is why it was so empowering to attend an event like the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, where nearly every one of the 200-plus participants were mixed race. While each individual has a totally different experience being mixed race (even within the same mixed community) the fact that multiracial folks were a super majority in this space meant that everyone had at least a basic understanding of the shared complexities surrounding our mixed identities.

Hosted at the University of Maryland on March 1-3, the 2018 conference’s theme was “Resist, Reclaim, Reimagine” — titled with a direct call to action amidst the current political climate faced by historically underrepresented communities in the United States

Read the entire article here.

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Why the idea that the English have a common Anglo-Saxon origin is a myth

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Religion, United Kingdom on 2018-04-12 18:12Z by Steven

Why the idea that the English have a common Anglo-Saxon origin is a myth

The Conversation
2017-12-15

Duncan Sayer, Reader in Archaeology
University of Central Lancashire


A diverse history. Witan hexateuch via Wikimedia Commons

The idea that there is a common Anglo-Saxon ancestry based on biology is gaining currency among some right-wing and religious groups in the UK and US.

In the UK, the new leader of the UK Independence Party, Henry Bolton, suggested in a radio interview in October that “in certain communities the indigenous Anglo-Saxon population is nowhere to be seen.”

In August, a religious group called the Odinist Fellowship wrote to the Church of England demanding two churches as reparations for a “spiritual genocide” which it claims began in the seventh century AD.

The Odinists use old Icelandic texts to reconstruct the “indigenous” religion of the Anglo-Saxons which they claim was oppressed with the arrival of Christianity. The Anglo-Saxons are commonly believed to have migrated into Briton in the fifth and sixth century AD. Iceland by contrast was inhabited in the ninth century by Viking settlers. In the US, this mixed up medievalism is associated with the white supremacist alt-right who use Anglo-Saxon and Viking motifs.

But archaeological research, which examines ancient DNA and artefacts to explore who these “indigenous” Anglo-Saxons were, shows that the people of fifth and sixth century England had a mixed heritage and did not base their identity on a biological legacy. The very idea of the Anglo-Saxon ancestor is a more recent invention linked closely with the English establishment…

Read the entire article here.

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Passing as Post-Racial: Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, Political Correctness, and the Post-Racial Passing Narrative

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-04-12 00:38Z by Steven

Passing as Post-Racial: Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, Political Correctness, and the Post-Racial Passing Narrative

Contemporary Literature
Volume 58, Number 2, Summer 2017
pages 233-261

Mollie Godfrey, Assistant Professor of English
James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia

In March 2016, Robert Folsom published an article in The Socionomist declaring that the rise of Donald Trump as a viable presidential candidate marked “the violent death of political correctness” (1). Folsom argued that while “[t]he conventional narrative on Trump is that he has succeeded despite his rejection of political correctness,” the “truth is that he has in large part succeeded because of it” (4). Indeed, the past few years have seen the rise of vigorous, mainstream opposition to many multiculturalist policies associated with political correctness at all levels and from all directions: from the Supreme Court’s back and forth on voting rights and affirmative action, to the 2015 spate of articles that derided trigger warnings as an attack on free speech, to the crowds of voters like Steve Crouse cheering Trump for speaking his mind and “saying a lot of the things that I think we’re all thinking” (Proskow). These recent events have renewed a debate that began in the 1960s and 1970s, when Civil Rights and Black Power activists and second-wave feminists sparred with traditionalists over the diversity and inclusivity of university curricula, faculty, student bodies, and standards of academic excellence. By the culture wars of the mid–1980s, traditionalists had begun to use the phrase “political correctness” in order to deride these demands for inclusivity.1 Teresa Brennan argues that the phrase “political correctness” was especially useful to its critics because it enabled the rebranding of demands for inclusive language as a violation of the American principle of the freedom of speech: “[t]he campaign against political correctness has been so successful because it has portrayed the attempt to uphold the rights of disadvantaged groups as the infringement of individual rights” (x). Now, criticism of political correctness has gone mainstream: a poll conducted in October 2015 by Fairleigh Dickinson University found that 68% of Americans and 81% of Republicans agreed with the statement “[a] big problem this country has is being politically correct” (Lalami 12).

The year 2000, which Folsom describes as the turning point in American public discourse over the value of liberal multiculturalism and its much caricatured cousin, political correctness, was also the year that Philip Roth’s highly acclaimed novel The Human Stain was published. The Human Stain made waves among critics and scholars as a racial passing novel for the new millennium, one that was especially surprising because the passing genre focuses on a social practice that Jet magazine had once optimistically declared would “pass out” with the end of Jim Crow (“Passing Out”).2 In The Human Stain, the light-skinned African American protagonist, Coleman Silk, decides to pass as Jewish during the 1940s, gaining as a Jewish American in the post–World War II era many of the privileges of whiteness.3 He marries a Jewish woman and rises to prominence as a professor of classics and the first Jewish dean of faculty at Athena College, a small liberal arts school in New England with a mostly white faculty and student body. Near the end of the novel, Coleman’s sister affirms that his black-to-Jewish-to-white passing is out of place in the post-Jim Crow era of liberal multiculturalism and affirmative action: “Today, if you’re a middle-class intelligent Negro and you want your kids to go to the best schools, and on full scholarship if you need it, you wouldn’t dream of saying that you’re not colored. That would be the last thing you’d do” (326). Her claim that passing is no longer profitable in contemporary America is also arguably affirmed by the twist in Coleman’s plot: near retirement, he uses the word “spooks” to refer to two students who have been absent from his class all semester; the students turn out to be black, Coleman is accused of racism by his politically correct colleagues, and he resigns amid the ensuing scandal. This plot twist seems to turn Coleman’s racial passing plot into an ironic tragedy about the shifting…

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