Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640

Posted in Africa, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery on 2016-05-09 01:04Z by Steven

Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640

University of North Carolina Press
May 2016
352 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 15 halftones
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4696-2341-2

David Wheat, Assistant Professor of History
Michigan State University

This work resituates the Spanish Caribbean as an extension of the Luso-African Atlantic world from the late sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century, when the union of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns facilitated a surge in the transatlantic slave trade. After the catastrophic decline of Amerindian populations on the islands, two major African provenance zones, first Upper Guinea and then Angola, contributed forced migrant populations with distinct experiences to the Caribbean. They played a dynamic role in the social formation of early Spanish colonial society in the fortified port cities of Cartagena de Indias, Havana, Santo Domingo, and Panama City and their semirural hinterlands.

David Wheat is the first scholar to establish this early phase of the “Africanization” of the Spanish Caribbean two centuries before the rise of large-scale sugar plantations. With African migrants and their descendants comprising demographic majorities in core areas of Spanish settlement, Luso-Africans, Afro-Iberians, Latinized Africans, and free people of color acted more as colonists or settlers than as plantation slaves. These ethnically mixed and economically diversified societies constituted a region of overlapping Iberian and African worlds, while they made possible Spain’s colonization of the Caribbean.

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“Marrying Out” for Love: Women’s Narratives of Polygyny and Alternative Marriage Choices in Contemporary Senegal

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Media Archive, Women on 2016-04-25 14:50Z by Steven

“Marrying Out” for Love: Women’s Narratives of Polygyny and Alternative Marriage Choices in Contemporary Senegal

African Studies Review
Volume 59, Number 1, April 2016
pages 155-174

Hélène Neveu Kringelbach, Lecturer in African Studies
University College London

This article examines the ways in which childhood and youth experiences of living in polygynous households shape the aspirations of middle-class Muslim Senegalese women to companionate marriage. Increasingly, such aspirations are fulfilled through marriage with European men. In contrast to an enduring popular discourse according to which women live happily with polygyny throughout the Senegambian region, this article shows how some middle-class women’s choice to “marry out” is explicitly linked to family narratives and personal experiences of suffering. In a context in which many of these women face strong familial opposition to marriage with non-Muslim European men, this article suggests that the women’s narratives provide moral legitimacy to their “alternative” choices.

Cet article examine comment et de quelles manières les expériences des enfants et des jeunes qui vivent dans des ménages polygames, façonnent les aspirations des femmes sénégalaises musulmanes de la classe moyenne au mariage de compagnonnage. De plus en plus, de telles aspirations sont satisfaites par le mariage avec des hommes européens. Contrairement à un discours populaire qui perdure selon lequel les femmes vivent heureuses dans la polygynie dans toute la région de Sénégambie, cet article montre comment le choix de certaines femmes de la classe moyenne à «se marier en dehors» est explicitement lié à des récits de famille et des expériences de souffrances personnelles. Cet article suggère que les récits des femmes assurent la légitimité morale à leurs choix “alternatifs” dans un contexte où beaucoup d’entre elles font face à une forte opposition familiale au mariage avec des hommes européens non-musulmans.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Color Lines: Sex, Race, and Body Politics in Pre/Colonial Ghana

Posted in Africa, History, Live Events, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2016-04-25 14:30Z by Steven

Color Lines: Sex, Race, and Body Politics in Pre/Colonial Ghana

Indiana University, Bloomington
Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society
Schuessler Institute for Social Research
1022 E. 3rd Street
Maple Room, IMU
Bloomington, Indiana 47405
Thursday, 2016-04-28, 16:00-17:30 EDT (Local Time)

Carina Ray, Associate Professor of African and Afro- American Studies
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

CRRES Speaker Series, Spring 2016

Drawing on her recently published book about interracial sexual relationships in colonial Ghana and her new research on how indigenous historical actors in this region of West Africa have thought about and constructed blackness as a symbolic, somatic, and political signifier, Ray’s talk explores how race catalyzed social and political change even in areas of Africa without large settler colonial populations. Centering Ghana in her talk Ray argues that race, rather than ethnicity alone, has powerfully shaped the historical landscape of a continent that has for centuries been at the heart of the West’s racializing discourses.

Carina Ray is an associate professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University. A scholar of race and sexuality; comparative colonialisms and nationalisms; migration and maritime history; and the relationship between race, ethnicity, and political power, Carina’s research is primarily focused on Ghana and its diasporas. She is the author of Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana (Ohio University Press, 2015) and co-editor of Navigating African Maritime History (with Jeremy Rich) and Darfur and the Crisis of Governance in Sudan: A Critical Reader (with Salah Hassan). Her articles have appeared in The American Historical Review, Gender and History, and Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques. Carina is currently working on her new book project, Somatic Blackness: A History of the Body and Race-Making in Ghana.

For more information, click here.

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Blackass: a race rewrite of Kafka’s Metamorphosis

Posted in Africa, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing on 2016-04-18 00:04Z by Steven

Blackass: a race rewrite of Kafka’s Metamorphosis

The Guardian
2016-04-13

Ainehi Edoro

Ainehi Edoro reflects on Blackass, a novel that subjects Kafka’s classic to African literary conventions – and, in the process, gives an iconic European story ‘an extreme but necessary makeover’

Last year, I received a review copy of A Igoni Barrett’s Blackass from his Nigerian publisher. I knew it was a rewrite of Kafka’s Metamorphosis. I just didn’t know what to expect. To be quite frank, I was a bit worried. Kafka has not always lived a happy life in Africa. When Guinean novelist Camara Laye wrote a Kafka-inspired novel, he was dragged through a gauntlet of scandals. Kind commentators called his work derivative and unoriginal. Others were less kind. They accused him of borderline plagiarism. Some even went as far as suggesting that he couldn’t have written the novel without the help of a ghostwriter of some kind. But Blackass, it turns out, is different. Barrett essentially subjects Kafka’s classic to the pressures African literary conventions, and, in the process, gives an iconic European story an extreme, but much needed makeover.

Both stories share the premise of a human body undergoing a change so abrupt and so drastic that the old body is unrecognizable in the new one. But there is a key difference. The Metamorphosis tells the story of a man named Gregor Samsa who wakes up one non-descript morning and finds he is a human-size bug. But in Blackass, Furo Wariboko wakes up and finds he has been transformed into a white man while his buttocks remain black, hence the title Blackass. This shift from animal to racial metamorphosis initiates a series of aesthetic interventions that reveal just how much Kafka’s beloved story was begging to be upgraded for the contemporary reader…

Read the entire review here.

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Book Review: Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana by Carina Ray

Posted in Africa, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-04-04 00:09Z by Steven

Book Review: Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana by Carina Ray

Africa at LSE
London School of Economics
2016-03-18

Yovanka Perdigao

Yovanka Perdigao praises Crossing the Color Line:Race, Sex and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana for dismantling preconceptions of interracial couples in colonial Ghana.

Carina E Ray’s first book Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana both surprises and delights its readers as it navigates through the lives and politics of interracial couples in Britain and Ghana. It explores how such interracial relationships from precolonial to post-independent Ghana had an enormous impact in the making of modern Britain and Ghana.

The book highlights the evolving attitudes of both British and Ghanaian societies, and how each sought to negotiate these relationships. Despite one being familiar with the topics at hand, one is left surprised as the author explores the micro politics of disciplinary cases against colonial officers who challenged the British Crown by keeping local women; to the making of transatlantic networks in the eve of Ghanaian independence…

Read the entire reveiw here.

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Blackass: A Novel

Posted in Africa, Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing on 2016-04-03 20:21Z by Steven

Blackass: A Novel

Graywolf Press
2016-03-01
272 pages
5.5 x 8.25
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-55597-733-7

A. Igoni Barrett

Furo Wariboko, a young Nigerian, awakes the morning before a job interview to find that he’s been transformed into a white man. In this condition he plunges into the bustle of Lagos to make his fortune. With his red hair, green eyes, and pale skin, it seems he’s been completely changed. Well, almost. There is the matter of his family, his accent, his name. Oh, and his black ass. Furo must quickly learn to navigate a world made unfamiliar, and deal with those who would use him for their own purposes. Taken in by a young woman called Syreeta and pursued by a writer named Igoni, Furo lands his first-ever job, adopts a new name, and soon finds himself evolving in unanticipated ways.

A. Igoni Barrett’s Blackass is a fierce comic satire that touches on everything from race to social media while at the same time questioning the values society places on us, simply by virtue of the way we look. As he did in Love Is Power, or Something Like That, Barrett brilliantly depicts life in contemporary Nigeria, and details the double-dealing and code-switching that is implicit in everyday business. But it’s Furo’s search for an identity—one deeper than skin—that leads to the final unraveling of his own carefully constructed story.

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Trevor Noah: ‘It’s easier to be an angry white man than an angry black man’

Posted in Africa, Articles, Arts, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2016-04-02 16:59Z by Steven

Trevor Noah: ‘It’s easier to be an angry white man than an angry black man’

The Guardian
2016-04-02

Lanre Bakare, Deputy Arts Editor


Trevor Noah photographed at the Daily Show offices.
Photograph: Christopher Lane

Six months ago the South African comic took on the trickiest task in comedy; replacing Jon Stewart as host of the Daily Show. What’s he learned so far? Always keep your cool

Trevor Noah is perched on top of a bank of chairs in the Daily Show conference room. It’s a Friday, which means there’s no live show, and Noah has time to clown around, undergoing half-a-dozen tie changes while being photographed by the Guide. This room is usually the hallowed space where the writers share their ideas and hone jokes for America’s best-known political satire, but right now Noah has his arms outspread and is tottering around as if he’s about to fall over. “That’s good,” says the Guide’s photographer. “Keep doing that airplane thing,” he adds as Noah regains his balance. “Airplane?” asks Noah with faux-incredulity. “That’s what you thought that was? Interesting. This is like a Rorschach test: you see whatever you want.”

Since the 32-year-old South African took over from Jon Stewart, who retired last August after 16 years in charge, his tenure at the Daily Show has been open to interpretation too. Some see a confident, charismatic comedy talent and a welcome point of difference in a bland – and white – late-night landscape, while others see him as an unwelcome reformist who has defaced the Daily Show that Stewart built…

…“For me growing up as a mixed-race person, you’re forced to see both sides,” he explains. “I grew up in a house where my mother was Xhosa, my dad was Swiss, my stepdad was Shangaan, my friends were Zulu. I lived in such a melting pot that I never grew up with a preconceived notion of ‘people’. Because of that it helped my comedy because I could play within the nuance of that world.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Understanding and Hearing the Afro-Asian Atlantic

Posted in Africa, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2016-03-28 01:24Z by Steven

Understanding and Hearing the Afro-Asian Atlantic

Princeton University African American Studies
2016-03-21

Presenters: Tao Leigh Goffe, Kerry Young, Hannah Lowe, Randy Chin, and John Kuo Wei Tchen

A panel exploring the intersections of literature, reggae, and the relationships between the minority Chinese community in the Caribbean and the majority Afro-Caribbean community

This panel will be moderated by Tao Leigh Goffe (Princeton University) and John Kuo Wei Tchen (NYU)

In this dialogue, panelists Randy Chin, Kerry Young, and Hannah Lowe will discuss the African and Asian cultural heritage of the Caribbean in music and writing. Exploring the legacy of enslaved African labor and Chinese indentured labor in the Caribbean, Young and Lowe craft narratives that reconstruct and trouble colonial history. The region’s history cannot be fully understood without listening to its rich musical tradition. Chin will talk about the role of Jamaican Chinese businessmen in the production of reggae music and mobile soundsystems. He will also talk about his storied career in the reggae music industry, which began when his parents Vincent and Patricia Chin founded VP Records in Jamaica in 1979. The currents of the Black Atlantic and the overseas Chinese converge in Caribbean music but also in Young and Lowe’s novels and poetry that tackle themes such as intimacies out of wedlock, masculinities, abandonment, and criminality set in Kingston, Jamaica’s Chinatown and gambling dens in London’s East End. In these cultural texts, Jamaican patois and southern Chinese dialects are sometimes woven together to construct new narrative forms of the Afro-Asian experience in the Americas.

Together with historian John Kuo Wei Tchen and literary scholar Tao Leigh Goffe, panelists will discuss the tensions and intimacies between the minority Chinese community in the Caribbean and the majority Afro-Caribbean community. Other themes to be explored include representations of blackness and Chineseness in Caribbean diasporic literature and music.

This event is part of the Campus Conversations on Identities and is co-sponsored by the Department of African American Studies, the Program in American Studies, the Lewis Center for the Arts, the Department of Comparative Literature, the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Asian American Students’ Association, and the Princeton Caribbean Connection (PCC).

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Jackie Kay’s Quest For Her Roots – Theresa Muñoz

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, United Kingdom on 2016-03-20 16:05Z by Steven

Jackie Kay’s Quest For Her Roots – Theresa Muñoz

Scottish Review of Books
Volume 6, Issue 3 (2010-08-12)

Theresa Muñoz

Adopted at birth, Jackie Kay discovered neither of her birth parents were who she’d thought they’d be, her new memoir recalls.

“If you have skin my colour” writes Jackie Kay in her memoir Red Dust Road, “you must be a foreigner.” All of her life, people have asked her where she is from. Glasgow, she’d tell them. Then people would inquire, but where are her parents from? Her parents are from Glasgow and Fife, she’d say. But she would also add that she’s adopted and her birth father is Nigerian. “They’d nod,” Kay says, “with a kind of ‘That explains it’ look”.

Since I moved to Scotland, people have asked me where I’m from. “Vancouver, British Columbia,” I reply. Most leave it at that because they have relatives or friends in Canada and would rather discuss them. But others persist: “Where are you really from?” Once, an older gentleman in the library in Dumfries asked if I was from the Far East. “Yes, I live in Edinburgh,” I replied. He left me alone after that.

It’s not that people shouldn’t ask. I’m happy to tell others that both my parents were born in the Philippines and immigrated to Canada, individually, in the Seventies. (They later met in what used to be Simpson’s department store in Toronto.) But the nature of these questions can make you feel like an outsider. As Kay says, “I felt it was being pointed out to me, in a more sophisticated manner, that I didn’t belong in Scotland”.

Other comments are just plain ignorant. Walking down West Princes Street in Glasgow, I passed a man who muttered something about a tan. “Nice tan,” I think he said to me. Kay has also been asked about her tan. In Wigtown a woman asked her and her mother, “Is that lady your daughter? Oh? Your daughter is awful tanned. Is she that colour every day?”

Once or twice things have turned ugly. A fight broke out in Glasgow’s Ashton Lane, when a drunken man asked my Scottish boyfriend where he “bought me”. Kay’s experiences have been much more humiliating. In 1980, during the rise of the British Movement, posters were put up around Stirling University that asked: “Would you be seen with that Irish-Catholic wog called Jackie Kay?” Kay locked herself into her student apartment and was offered police protection.

Racism happens without warning. You never know how to react. Dignity? Fury?…

Read the entire review here.

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Valentine’s Day special! On love, race and history in Ghana

Posted in Africa, Arts, History, Interviews, Media Archive on 2016-02-16 21:47Z by Steven

Valentine’s Day special! On love, race and history in Ghana

Africa is a Country
2016-02-14

Dan Magaziner, Associate Professor of History
Yale University


Despite colonial administrators’ attempts to sabotage their marriage plans, Brendan (a district commissioner) and Felicia Knight wed in 1945. Fifteen years later, Felicia staged a successful one-woman-protest in front of Flagstaff House to save her husband’s job during the Africanization of government service. On the grounds that he was married to a Ghanaian and raising their five children as Ghanaians, Kwame Nkrumah retained Brendan in government employ.

A couple months ago I was fortunate to read Carina Ray’s excellent new book Crossing The Color Line: Race Sex and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana on the history on interracial intimacy on the Gold Coast. I decided to interview her for AIAC and when our conversation moved from political economy and racism to political economy, racism and love, we figured – Valentine’s Day! So here it is: an AIAC take on love, critical politics included.

Why do you think that the history of interracial intimacy in the Gold Coast / Ghana important? What drew you to study it and to these stories in particular?

Let me answer the second question first. When I started the archival work that culminated in Crossing the Color Line, my intention was to write an altogether different book about multiracial people in colonial and post-independence Ghana. Much has been written about them in the context of the precolonial period as cultural, social, political, and linguistic intermediaries—the ubiquitous “middle(wo)men” of the trans-Atlantic trade, especially as it became almost exclusively focused on the slave trade. Hardly anything, however, has been written about this group during the period of formal colonial rule in British West Africa. So I set out to do just that, but quickly discovered that while the archive had much to say about interracial sexual relations in the Gold Coast, there was relative silence about their progeny…

Read the entire interview here.

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