Whither ‘non-racialism’: the ‘new’ South Africa turns twenty-one

Posted in Africa, Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, South Africa on 2015-10-05 18:29Z by Steven

Whither ‘non-racialism’: the ‘new’ South Africa turns twenty-one

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 38, Issue 13, 2015
pages 2167-2174
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2015.1058511

Deborah Posel, Professor of Sociology
Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA)
University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

This brief essay reflects on the meaning and significance of ‘non-racialism’ in South Africa’s recent past and present. I consider the version of non-racialism that shaped the transition from apartheid to a constitutional democracy as having had dual dimensions, ethical and strategic. Ethically, non-racialism has signified a principle of human recognition that exceeds the mere tolerance of difference. Strategically, non-racialism has afforded ways of managing and disciplining the historical realities of racial differences. The politicization of race in recent years has rendered the project of non-racialism more precarious: both its ethical and strategic dimensions merit further scrutiny, if the project is to be revitalized.

Read the entire article here.

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The Mulatta Concubine: Terror, Intimacy, Freedom, and Desire in the Black Transatlantic

Posted in Africa, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Slavery, United States, Women on 2015-10-05 15:41Z by Steven

The Mulatta Concubine: Terror, Intimacy, Freedom, and Desire in the Black Transatlantic

University of Georgia Press
248 pages
8 b&w photos
Trim size: 6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8203-4896-4
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-8203-4897-1

Lisa Ze Winters, Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Exploring the geographies, genealogies, and concepts of race and gender of the African diaspora produced by the Atlantic slave trade

Popular and academic representations of the free mulatta concubine repeatedly depict women of mixed black African and white racial descent as defined by their sexual attachment to white men, and thus they offer evidence of the means to and dimensions of their freedom within Atlantic slave societies. In The Mulatta Concubine, Lisa Ze Winters contends that the uniformity of these representations conceals the figure’s centrality to the practices and production of diaspora.

Beginning with a meditation on what captive black subjects may have seen and remembered when encountering free women of color living in slave ports, the book traces the echo of the free mulatta concubine across the physical and imaginative landscapes of three Atlantic sites: Gorée Island, New Orleans, and Saint Domingue (Haiti). Ze Winters mines an archive that includes a 1789 political petition by free men of color, a 1737 letter by a free black mother on behalf of her daughter, antebellum newspaper reports, travelers’ narratives, ethnographies, and Haitian Vodou iconography. Attentive to the tenuousness of freedom, Ze Winters argues that the concubine figure’s manifestation as both historical subject and African diasporic goddess indicates her centrality to understanding how free and enslaved black subjects performed gender, theorized race and freedom, and produced their own diasporic identities.

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Emmanuelle Saada. Empire’s Children: Race, Filiation, and Citizenship in the French Colonies

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive on 2015-09-28 19:26Z by Steven

Emmanuelle Saada. Empire’s Children: Race, Filiation, and Citizenship in the French Colonies

The American Historical Review
Volume 118, Issue 2
pages 468-470
DOI: 10.1093/ahr/118.2.468

Gary Wilder, Associate Professor of Anthropology
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Emmanuelle Saada, Empire’s Children: Race, Filiation, and Citizenship in the French Colonies. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2012. Pp. xv, 339. Cloth $81.00, paper $27.50, e-book $27.50.

In this carefully researched and sharply argued analysis of disputes over the status of abandoned mixed-race children (métis) in the French Empire, Emmanuelle Saada demonstrates how gendered racial logics came to subtend French republican law. Rather than seek to understand a supposed contradiction between metropolitan republicanism and colonial racism, Saada offers a persuasive account of France as an imperial republic organized partly around a form of republican racism that operated through families on embodied subjects. Drawing masterfully on archival history, legal scholarship, and political theory, she provides a welcome critique of works that treat colonial domination as mere violence as well as those that accept republican states’ own discourses about abstract universal legality being incompatible with racial particularity and concrete communities.

Saada begins with a political dilemma that was created for colonial administrators by the 1889 Nationality Law. It held that all children born on national territory to unknown parents were accorded French citizenship. Authorities feared that if this measure were to be applied automatically in the colonies, children whose filiation was uncertain and whose ways of life were more “native” than “French” would automatically become citizens. Alternatively, they worried that if this measure was ignored, biologically and culturally “French” children would be misclassified as natives and pose a potential threat to the colonial order. She argues that the entire system of colonial domination depended on social distance between “French” and “native” and legal distinction between “citizen” and “subject.” (The book provides an indispensable genealogy of these categories in the French Empire.) Administrators believed that immersion in the native milieu could lead métis to acquire dangerous social pathologies. Even worse was the fear that they could become “declassed”—socioculturally French but legally native subjects. This non-alignment of social identity and legal status risked undermining racial “dignity” and French “prestige” in the …

Read or purchase the review here.

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The history of interracial sex: It’s much more than just rape or romance.

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2015-09-28 18:41Z by Steven

The history of interracial sex: It’s much more than just rape or romance.

The Los Angeles Times

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

Carina Ray is associate professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University and the author of “Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana.”

When South African comedian Trevor Noah takes over as host of “The Daily Show” on Monday night, he’ll probably introduce his new audience to his family biography. Born in Johannesburg to a black South African mother and a white Swiss German father in 1984, when apartheid was still firmly in place and interracial marriage was illegal, Noah made his parents’ struggles the subject of his widely acclaimed stand-up routine “Born a Crime.”.

Their story represents an exception to one of apartheid’s harshest realities: White men sexually violated black women with impunity. But neither is it a romantic tale of racial transcendence. Noah has been frank about how his Xhosa mother paid the greater price for her relationship with a white man. Not only did she face social stigma and arrest, she was also left to raise Noah alone when his father exercised his white male privilege and left South Africa.

In my academic research, I grapple with stories like the one Noah tells, of interracial sexual relations that resist neat labels. They’re not uncommon. Yet when power dynamics are so profoundly unequal, there’s a strong incentive to deny the possibility of complexity or murkiness by falling back on binaries like rape or romance…

Read the entire article here.

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Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana

Posted in Africa, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2015-09-28 17:48Z by Steven

Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana

Ohio University Press
October 2015
364 pages
11 illus., 3 maps
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8214-2179-6
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8214-2180-2
Electronic ISBN: 978-0-8214-4539-6

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

Interracial sex mattered to the British colonial state in West Africa. In Crossing the Color Line, Carina E. Ray goes beyond this fact to reveal how Gold Coasters—their social practices, interests, and anxieties—shaped and defined these powerfully charged relations across racial lines. The interplay between African and European perspectives and practices, argues Ray, transformed these relationships into key sites for consolidating colonial rule and for contesting its racial and gendered hierarchies of power.

With rigorous methodology and innovative analyses, Ray brings Ghana and Britain into a single analytic frame by examining cases in both locales. Intimate relations between black men and white women in Britain’s port cities emerge as an influential part of the history of interracial sex and empire in ways that are connected to rather than eclipsed by relations between European men and African women in the colony.

Based on rich archival evidence and original interviews, the book moves across different registers, shifting from the micropolitics of individual disciplinary cases against colonial officers who “kept” local women to transatlantic networks of family, empire, and anticolonial resistance. In this way, Ray cuts to the heart of how interracial sex became a source of colonial anxiety and nationalist agitation during the first half of the twentieth century.

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Trevor Noah Brings ‘A Different Perspective’ as Daily Show Host

Posted in Africa, Arts, Media Archive, South Africa, United States, Videos on 2015-09-24 15:28Z by Steven

Trevor Noah Brings ‘A Different Perspective’ as Daily Show Host

NBC News

Amber Payne, Managing Editor of @NBCBLK

Trevor Noah is poised to take The Daily Show throne next week and the South African comedian says his biracial and cultural background will impact and inform his perspective as host.

“It just gives me a different perspective. I feel everyone has their perspective because of where they’ve come from,” Noah told NBCBLK. “I’ve never been ashamed to say, nor do I shy away from that fact that I am black. I’ve grown up black, black is the only existence I’ve ever known. But it’s strange when you live in a world where people go ‘OK but biracial—then which piece of this, which piece of that?'”

Noah grew up under Apartheid in South Africa to a white Swiss father and a black South African mother. While his comedy is often unapologetically about race and racism, he is careful not to equate the racial tensions in the United States to the divisions and tensions in South Africa…

Read the entire article here.

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Race: An Introduction

Posted in Africa, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States on 2015-09-21 20:56Z by Steven

Race: An Introduction

Cambridge University Press
August 2015
272 pages
13 b/w illus. 4 tables
245 x 190 x 12 mm
Hardback ISBN: 9781107034112
Paperback ISBN: 9781107652286

Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester

Taking a comparative approach, this textbook is a concise introduction to race. Illustrated with detailed examples from around the world, it is organised into two parts. Part One explores the historical changes in ideas about race from the ancient world to the present day, in different corners of the globe. Part Two outlines ways in which racial difference and inequality are perceived and enacted in selected regions of the world. Examining how humans have used ideas of physical appearance, heredity and behaviour as criteria for categorising others, the text guides students through provocative questions such as: what is race? Does studying race reinforce racism? Does a colour-blind approach dismantle, or merely mask, racism? How does biology feed into concepts of race? Numerous case studies, photos, figures and tables help students to appreciate the different meanings of race in varied contexts, and end-of-chapter research tasks provide further support for student learning.

  • Combines a broad historical overview (from the ancient world to the present day) with wide geographical and comparative coverage to show that race means different things in different contexts
  • Detailed historical and ethnographic material in textboxes, figures, photos and tables demonstrates the operation of race in everyday life
  • Offers an up-to-date, critical overview of a fast-changing field


  • List of figures
  • List of tables
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1 Knowing ‘race’
    • 1.1 Chronology of race
    • 1.2 Is race defined by appearance, biology and nature?
    • 1.3 Culture, appearance and biology revisited
    • 1.4 Race, comparatively and historically
    • 1.5 Comparisons
    • 1.6 Race in the history of Western modernity
    • Conclusion: so what is race?
    • Further research
  • Part I race in time
    • 2 Early approaches to understanding human variation
      • 2.1 Nature and culture
      • 2.2 Ancient Greece and Rome
      • 2.3 Medieval and early modern Europe
      • 2.4 New World colonisation
      • Conclusion
      • Further research
    • 3 From Enlightenment to eugenics
      • 3.1 Transitions
      • 3.2 Changing racial theories
      • 3.3 The spread of racial theory: nation, class, gender and religion
      • 3.4 Nature, culture and race
      • 3.5 Black reaction
      • Conclusion
      • Further research
    • 4 Biology, culture and genomics
      • 4.1 Darwin (again), genetics and the concept of population
      • 4.2 Boas and the separation of biology and culture
      • 4.3 Nazism, World War II and decolonisation
      • 4.4 UNESCO and after
      • 4.5 The persistence of race in science
      • 4.6 Race and IQ
      • 4.7 Race and sport
      • 4.8 Race, genomics and medicine: does race have a genetic basis?
      • 4.9 Race, genomics and medicine: racialising populations
      • Conclusion
      • Further activities
    • 5 Race in the era of cultural racism: politics and the everyday
      • 5.1 Introduction
      • 5.2 The institutional presence of race
      • 5.3 Race, nature and biology in the everyday world of culture
      • Conclusion
      • Further research
  • Part II Race in practice
    • 6 Latin America: mixture and racism
      • 6.1 Introduction
      • 6.2 Latin America and mestizaje
      • 6.3 Colombia: racial discrimination and social movements
      • 6.4 Structural disadvantage, region and mestizaje: lessons from Colombia
      • 6.5 Brazil: variations on a theme
      • 6.6 Guatemala: racial ambivalence
      • 6.7 Performing and embodying race in the Andes
      • Conclusion
      • Further research
    • 7 The United States and South Africa: segregation and desegregation
      • 7.1 Changing US demographics
      • 7.2 Caste and class in segregated Southern towns
      • 7.3 Black reaction and ‘desegregation’
      • 7.4 Segregation in practice: ‘the ghetto’
      • 7.5 Latinos and brownness
      • 7.6 South Africa
      • Conclusion
      • Further activities
    • 8 Race in Europe: immigration and nation
      • 8.1 European histories of race
      • 8.2 Issues in post-colonial migration in Europe
      • 8.3 White Britons in Leicestershire
      • 8.4 Asian Leicester
      • 8.5 The Asian gang in London
      • 8.6 Geographies of race in black Liverpool
      • 8.7 Algerians in France
      • Conclusion
      • Further activities
    • 9 Conclusion
      • 9.1 Theorising race
      • 9.2 Globalising race
      • 9.3 The future of race
    • References
    • Index
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Why some Muslims don’t want Ahmed Mohamed’s blackness to be ignored

Posted in Africa, Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2015-09-19 02:15Z by Steven

Why some Muslims don’t want Ahmed Mohamed’s blackness to be ignored

The Washington Post

Abby Phillip, General Assignment Reporter

Ahmed Mohamed is now a 14-year-old with a national following and a long list of powerful people on his calling card.

After he was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school to impress his teachers, the ninth-grader has become symbolic of the worst skeletons in America’s closet: growing hysteria and over-criminalization in American schools, Islamophobia and racism.

As the news of Mohamed’s plight spread, some of the earliest accounts associated the teen, who is of Sudanese descent, with the word “brown,” a fuzzy bit of racial jargon that typically refers to non-black people of South Asian or sometimes Latin American descent.

And others openly wondered how the world might have reacted to Mohamed’s story if he had been black.

But Mohamed’s racial identity is as complex as the country of his descent. The African nation of Sudan is predominantly Muslim and is comprised of some 600 ethnicities. Arabs and indigenous Africans have intermarried and mixed there for centuries and most speak Arabic…

Read the entire article here.

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Traveling Texts and the Work of Afro-Japanese Cultural Production: Two Haiku and a Microphone

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2015-09-19 01:26Z by Steven

Traveling Texts and the Work of Afro-Japanese Cultural Production: Two Haiku and a Microphone

Lexington Books (an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield)
June 2015
302 pages
6 1/2 x 9 1/4
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4985-0547-5
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4985-0548-2

Edited by:

William H. Bridges IV, Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies
University of California, Irvine

Nina Cornyetz, Associate Professor
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
New York University

Traveling Texts and the Work of Afro-Japanese Cultural Production analyzes the complex conversations taking place in texts of all sorts traveling between Africans, African Diasporas, and Japanese across disciplinary, geographic, racial, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural borders. Be it focused on the make-up of the blackface ganguro or the haiku of Richard Wright, Rastafari communities in Japan or the black enka singer Jero, the volume turns its attention away from questions of representation to ones concerning the generative aspects of transcultural production. The contributors are interested primarily in texts in motion—the contradictory motion within texts, the traveling of texts, and the action that such kinetic energy inspires in readers, viewers, listeners, and travelers. As our texts travel and travail, the originary nodal points that anchor them to set significations loosen and are transformed; the essays trace how, in the process of traveling, the bodies and subjectivities of those working to reimagine the text(s) in new sites moderate, accommodate, and transfigure both the texts and themselves.

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African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery on 2015-09-13 20:34Z by Steven

African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World

Cambria Press
428 pages
6 x 9 in or 229 x 152 mm Case Laminate
ISBN: 9781604978926

Edited by:

Ana Lucia Araujo, Professor of History
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

This book explores the history of African tangible and intangible heritages and its links with the public memory of slavery in Brazil and Angola. The two countries are deeply connected, given how most enslaved Africans, forcibly brought to Brazil during the era of the Atlantic slave trade, were from West Central Africa. Brazil imported the largest number of enslaved Africans during the Atlantic slave trade and was the last country in the western hemisphere to abolish slavery in 1888. Today, other than Nigeria, the largest population of African descent is in Brazil. Yet it was only in the last twenty years that Brazil’s African heritage and its slave past have gained greater visibility. Prior to this, Brazil’s African heritage and its slave past were completely neglected.

Even after the abolition of slavery in Brazil, African culture continued to be marginalized. Carnival, religious festivals, as well as Candomblé ceremonies, and capoeira (an Afro-Brazilian martial art) created important spaces of black assertion and insurgency. These cultural traditions were contested by white elites and public authorities, but starting in the 1930s, capoeira became a national symbol and Candomblé temples were gradually officially added to Brazil’s list of heritage sites.

In spite of these developments, the Atlantic slave past has remained absent from the public landscape of Brazilian and Angolan former slave ports, suggesting how difficult it is for these countries to address the painful legacies of slavery. African art and material culture also continued to be excluded from museums and other official institutions. In the rare instances that African artifacts were shown, they would be confined to only certain places dedicated to popular culture and associated with the religious sphere.

Even though public attention on slavery was growing internationally through national and international initiatives (e.g., The Slave Route Project by UNESCO), Brazil and Angola developed very few initiatives for the memorialization of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. This has started to change slowly in the last decade as Brazil has begun engaging in more initiatives to memorialize slavery and underscore the importance of its African heritage.

Brazil’s slave past and African heritage are emerging gradually in urban and rural areas through different kinds of initiatives led not only by activists but also by scholars in association with black communities. Although in their early stages, most of these projects are permanent programs supported by official agencies. This new configuration suggests that––unlike the case in Angola––in Brazil, slavery and the Atlantic the slave trade are becoming recognized as foundational chapters of the country’s history.

This is the first book in English to focus on African heritage and public memory of slavery in Brazil and Angola. This interdisciplinary study examines visual images, dance, music, oral accounts, museum exhibitions, artifacts, monuments, festivals, and others forms of commemoration to illuminate the social and cultural dynamics that over the last twenty years have propelled––or prevented––the visibility of African heritage (and its Atlantic slave trade legacy) in the South Atlantic region.

The book makes a very important contribution to the understanding of the place of African heritage and slavery in the official history and public memory of Brazil and Angola, topics that remain understudied. The study’s focus on the South Atlantic world, a zone which is sparsely covered in the scholarly corpus on Atlantic history, will further research on other post-slave societies.

African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World is an important book for African studies and Latin American studies. It is especially valuable for African Diaspora studies, African history, Atlantic history, history of Brazil, history of slavery, and Caribbean history.

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures
  • Introduction: Wounded Pasts: Memory of Slavery and African Heritage in Brazil (Ana Lucia Araujo)
  • Chapter 1: Collectionism and Colonialism: The Africana Collection at Brazil’s National Museum (Rio de Janeiro) (Mariza de Carvalho Soares)
  • Chapter 2: Race and Visual Representation: Louis Agassiz and Hermann Burmeister (Maria Helena Machado)
  • Chapter 3: Counter-Witnessing the Visual Culture of Brazilian Slavery (Matthew Francis Rarey)
  • Chapter 4: Angola in Brazil: The Formation of Angoleiro identity in Bahia (Matthias Röhrig Assunção)
  • Chapter 5: Memories of Captivity and Freedom in São José da Serra Jongo Festivals: Cultural Heritage and Black Identity (1888–2011) (Martha Abreu and Hebe Mattos)
  • Chapter 6: From Public Amnesia to Public Memory: Re-Discovering Slavery Heritage in Rio de Janeiro (André Cicalo)
  • Chapter 7: Uncomfortable Pasts: Talking About Slavery in Angola (Marcia C. Schenck and Mariana P. Candido)
  • Chapter 8: “Bahia is a Closer Africa”: Brazilian Slavery and Heritage in African American Roots Tourism (Patricia de Santana Pinho)
  • Chapter 9: Preserving African Art, History, and Memory: The AfroBrazil Museum (Kimberly Cleveland)
  • Chapter 10: The Legacy of Slavery in Contemporary Brazil (Myrian Sepúlveda dos Santos)
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • About the Contributors
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