Book Release of Prof. Lundy Braun’s Breathing Race into the Machine

Posted in Africa, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Slavery, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States on 2014-04-15 19:20Z by Steven

Book Release of Prof. Lundy Braun’s Breathing Race into the Machine

Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Program in Science and Technology Studies
2014-03-26

This February, Royce Family Professor in Teaching Excellence, professor of medical science and Africana studies, and a member of the Science and Technology Studies Program, Lundy Braun released her new book Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics.

In her book, Lundy Braun traces the little-known history of the spirometer to reveal the ways medical instruments have worked to naturalize racial and ethnic differences, from Victorian Britain to today. An unsettling account of the pernicious effects of racial thinking that divides people along genetic lines, this book helps us understand how race enters into science and shapes medical research and practice.

In the antebellum South, plantation physicians used a new medical device—the spirometer—to show that lung volume and therefore vital capacity were supposedly less in black slaves than in white citizens. At the end of the Civil War, a large study of racial difference employing the spirometer appeared to confirm the finding, which was then applied to argue that slaves were unfit for freedom. What is astonishing is that this example of racial thinking is anything but a historical relic…

Read the entire article here.

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5 Nations That Imported Europeans to Whiten The Population

Posted in Africa, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, South Africa on 2014-04-11 21:10Z by Steven

5 Nations That Imported Europeans to Whiten The Population

Atlanta Black Star
2014-03-10

Andre Moore

After the trans-Atlantic slave trade was officially abolished toward the end of the 19th century, many whites felt threatened and feared free Blacks would become a menacing element in society. The elites spent a great dealing of time mulling over how best to solve the so-called Negro problem. A popular solution that emerged during this period was the ideology of racial whitening or “whitening.”

Supporters of the “whitening” ideology believed that if a “superior” white population was encouraged to mix with an “inferior” Black population, Blacks would advance culturally, genetically or even disappear totally, within several generations. Some also believed that an influx of immigrants from Europe would be necessary to successfully carry out the process.

Although both ideologies were driven by racism and White supremacy, whitening was in contrast to some countries that opted for segregation rather than miscegenation, ultimately outlawing the mixing of the races. This, however, was just a different means to the same end as these nations also imported more Europeans while slaughtering and oppressing the Black population.

Here are 5 of the several counties that adopted a whitening policy and what happened as a result…

Read the entire article here.

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Global Mixed Race

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2014-03-20 15:07Z by Steven

Global Mixed Race

New York University Press
March 2014
357 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9780814770733
Paper ISBN: 9780814789155

Edited by:

Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain, Senior Lecturer
National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Stephen Small, Associate Professor of African American Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Minelle Mahtani, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Geography and the Program in Journalism
University of Toronto, Scarborough

Miri Song, Professor of Sociology
University of Kent

Paul Spickard, Professor of History and Affiliate Professor of Black Studies, Asian American Studies, East Asian Studies, Religious Studies, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Patterns of migration and the forces of globalization have brought the issues of mixed race to the public in far more visible, far more dramatic ways than ever before. Global Mixed Race examines the contemporary experiences of people of mixed descent in nations around the world, moving beyond US borders to explore the dynamics of racial mixing and multiple descent in Zambia, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Okinawa, Australia, and New Zealand.  In particular, the volume’s editors ask: how have new global flows of ideas, goods, and people affected the lives and social placements of people of mixed descent?  Thirteen original chapters address the ways mixed-race individuals defy, bolster, speak, and live racial categorization, paying attention to the ways that these experiences help us think through how we see and engage with social differences. The contributors also highlight how mixed-race people can sometimes be used as emblems of multiculturalism, and how these identities are commodified within global capitalism while still considered by some as not pure or inauthentic. A strikingly original study, Global Mixed Race carefully and comprehensively considers the many different meanings of racial mixedness.

Contents

  • Global Mixed Race: An Introduction / Stephen Small and Rebecca C. King-O’Riain
  • Part I: Societies with Established Populations of Mixed Descent
    • 1. Multiraciality and Census Classification in Global Perspective / Ann Morning
    • 2. “Rider of Two Horses”: Eurafricans in Zambia / Juliette Bridgette Milner-Thornton
    • 3. “Split Me in Two”: Gender, Identity, and “Race Mixing” in the Trinidad and Tobago Nation / Rhoda Reddock
    • 4. In the Laboratory of Peoples’ Friendship: Mixed People in Kazakhstan from the Soviet Era to the Present / Saule K. Ualiyeva and Adrienne L. Edgar
    • 5. Competing Narratives: Race and Multiraciality in the Brazilian Racial Order / G. Reginald Daniel and Andrew Michael Lee
    • 6. Antipodean Mixed Race: Australia and New Zealand / Farida Fozdar and Maureen Perkins
    • 7. Negotiating Identity Narratives among Mexico’s Cosmic Race / Christina A. Sue
  • Part II: Places with Newer Populations of Mixed Descent
    • 8. Multiraciality and Migration: Mixed-Race American Okinawans, 1945–1972 / Lily Anne Yumi Welty
    • 9. The Curious Career of the One-Drop Rule: Multiraciality and Membership in Germany Today / Miriam Nandi and Paul Spickard
    • 10. Capturing “Mixed Race” in the Decennial UK Censuses: Are Current Approaches Sustainable in the Age of Globalization and Superdiversity? / Peter J. Aspinall and Miri Song
    • 11. Exporting the Mixed-Race Nation: Mixed-Race Identities in the Canadian Context / Minelle Mahtani, Dani Kwan-Lafond, and Leanne Taylor
  • Global Mixed Race: A Conclusion / Rebecca C. King-O’Riain
  • Bibliography
  • About the Contributors
  • Index
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GalleryDAAS: Photographs by Ed West

Posted in Africa, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Live Events, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2014-03-11 19:08Z by Steven

GalleryDAAS: Photographs by Ed West

University of Michigan
G648 Haven Hall
505 S State Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
2014-03-13 through 2014-05-02
Opening Reception: 2014-03-14, 17:30-20:00 CDT (Local Time)

Hosted by the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS)

GalleryDAAS presents So Called, a photography series by award-winning artist and U-M professor Edward West. Curated by Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo, So Called is a transnational project about multi-ethnic identities in three locations: Honolulu, Hawaii, Havana, Cuba and Cape Town, South Africa. The series includes photographic portraits of individuals drawn from these communities and focuses on the issue of race, specifically the mixing of races and its social complexities. While the mixing of races has long been a consequence of diasporic/nomadic history, we have only recently found a place in our cultural imaginary for a fuller representation of these collective and individual identities and destinies. The introduction of a mixed race category on the U.S. census, literary and filmic treatments of racialized lives, the emergence of postcolonial studies, all suggest an expanded space for the reception of ideas and issues concerning creolization. See GalleryDAAS here.

A practicing artist for more than 30 years, Edward West’s creative work includes photography, collage, and installation. His exhibitions include installations at the Smithsonian Institution, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Rose Art Museum in Boston, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Corcoran Gallery of American Art, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

For more information, click here.

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International Blackness vs. Homegrown Negroes: Lupita, Chimamanda, Thandie and me

Posted in Africa, Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2014-03-05 01:33Z by Steven

International Blackness vs. Homegrown Negroes: Lupita, Chimamanda, Thandie and me

Alternet
2014-02-23

Esther Armah

“She is very white!” Revered Swedish film critic Jannike Åhlund watches a clip of actress Thandie Newton playing Olanna, one of the Nigerian twin sisters in the film adaptation of the award-winning novel Half of a Yellow Sun by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In January, the Goteborg International Film Festival and International Writers’ Stage Gothenburg co-hosted a conversation between Jannike and Chimamanda in Sweden. The audience laughed awkwardly at Jannike’s assertion. Chimamanda frowned at the description. Critiques of Thandie Newton in this leading role gathered force. Chimamanda was called upon to respond to them.

Half of a Yellow Sun is one of Chimamanda Adichie’s three novels. Chimamanda’s name exploded in popular circles recently when Beyoncé included a quote from her TEDx talk, “We Should All Be Feminists,” on the track “Flaweless” from her latest album. Half of a Yellow Sun also stars award-winning Nigerian-British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor of 12 Years a Slave fame and African American actress Anika Noni Rose. Rose stars as Olanna’s fraternal twin, Kainene.

Chimamanda seized the opportunity that Jannike’s comment provided to talk about the complexity of shades within blackness and specific issues of international blackness. The criticism internationally has been that Thandie Newton is not Nigerian and is therefore a problematic choice for the lead role…

Igbo is a tribe in Nigeria, as is Yoruba, Hausa and Ogoni. The term “Igbo yellow” identified you as the “enemy” during the bloody and brutal Biafran War (the subject of the book and film). Thandie’s light skin as Olanna does not equate to the privilege rooted in the history of shadism and colorism in America. Thandie is not Nigerian – and for some Nigerians her authenticity – and that of the film – wanes precisely because of her “foreign blackness.”

Debates and discussions around colorism and shade in America are often cyclical and absolute — light skinned equals privilege, light is Hollywood leading lady, light is the chosen one; dark equals rejected, ugly, undesirable, unimportant. That is indeed a truth, but it is one of many truths. That is the framing of complexion narratives, and that of the legacy of untreated trauma of America’s history where enslaved Africans had babies by slave masters beginning the panorama of complexion on these shores. Historically, the closer to white you were, the better the treatment you received. Time travel though history and in today’s America that legacy persists, manifesting in celebrity, beauty magazines, and leading lady selection. It continues to be the cause of pain and hurt within and among African American communities, and diasporan black folk due to Western standards of beauty. A recent hour long Oprah’s Life Class on Colorism with New York Times best-selling author and teacher Iyanla Vanzant explored the issue with an audience full of black women running the gamut from deepest chocolate to the lightest of light skinned blacks. Actor and director Bill Duke in his documentary Dark Girls also explored the issue of complexion…

…There is work that contributes to expanding narratives around blackness. Scholar and producer Dr. Yaba Blay’s pivotal projects–(1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race and “Pretty.Period,” open up the conversations about the two extremes of color – light and dark skinned – contextualizing, clarifying, honoring and celebrating what has often been divisive, contentious, difficult space. On Dr. Blay’s site, she explains her reasoning for Pretty.Period. a visually delicious website that features darker skinned black women. For Dr. Blay, ‘Pretty. Period’ pushes back against the privileging of a single story in relation to complexion. Blay writes, “We focus primarily on the sociopolitical disadvantages that come with being dark-skinned in a society that continues to privilege and prioritize White/Western standards of beauty…

Read the entire article here.

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Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics

Posted in Africa, Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States on 2014-02-10 08:03Z by Steven

Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics

University of Minnesota Press
February 2014
304 pages
29 b&w photos
6 x 9
Cloth/jacket ISBN: 978-0-8166-8357-4

Lundy Braun, Royce Family Professor in Teaching Excellence and Professor of Medical Science and Africana Studies
Brown University

In the antebellum South, plantation physicians used a new medical device—the spirometer—to show that lung volume and therefore vital capacity were supposedly less in black slaves than in white citizens. At the end of the Civil War, a large study of racial difference employing the spirometer appeared to confirm the finding, which was then applied to argue that slaves were unfit for freedom. What is astonishing is that this example of racial thinking is anything but a historical relic.

In Breathing Race into the Machine, science studies scholar Lundy Braun traces the little-known history of the spirometer to reveal the social and scientific processes by which medical instruments have worked to naturalize racial and ethnic differences, from Victorian Britain to today. Routinely a factor in in clinical diagnoses, preemployment physicals, and disability estimates, spirometers are often “race corrected,” typically reducing normal values for African Americans by 15 percent.

An unsettling account of the pernicious effects of racial thinking that divides people along genetic lines, Breathing Race into the Machine helps us understand how race enters into science and shapes medical research and practice.

Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Measuring Vital Capacity
  • 1. “Inventing” the Spirometer: Working-Class Bodies in Victorian England
  • 2. Black Lungs and White Lungs: The Science of White Supremacy in the Nineteenth-Century United States
  • 3. Filling the Lungs with Air: The Rise of Physical Culture in America
  • 4. Progress and Race: Vitality in Turn-of-the-Century Britain
  • 5. Globalizing Spirometry: The “Racial Factor” in Scientific Medicine
  • 6. Adjudicating Disability in the Industrial Worker
  • 7. Diagnosing Silicosis: Physiological Testing in South African Gold Mines
  • Epilogue: How Race Takes Root
  • Notes
  • Index
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Decrying White Peril: Interracial Sex and the Rise of Anticolonial Nationalism in the Gold Coast

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive on 2014-02-07 23:15Z by Steven

Decrying White Peril: Interracial Sex and the Rise of Anticolonial Nationalism in the Gold Coast

The American Historical Review
Volume 119, Issue 1 (February 2014)
pages 78-110
DOI: 10.1093/ahr/119.1.78

Carina E. Ray, Assistant Professor of African and Black Atlantic History
Fordham University

In the summer and fall of 1919, the African-owned Gold Coast press was awash with news stories and impassioned commentary about the postwar race riots that had recently devastated Liverpool, Cardiff, and other major port cities in Britain. Angered by the sexual politics underlying the riots, Gold Coast commentators were quick to point out that the ports’ white rioters were not the only ones aggrieved by interracial sexual relations. Atu, a regular columnist for the Gold Coast Leader, responded to news that black men were targeted for repatriation after being attacked on the ports’ streets for “consorting with white women” by reminding his readers “that in their own country white men freely consort with coloured women, forming illicit alliances, and in many cases leaving on the coast abandoned offspring to the precarious protection of needy native families.” He continued, “It does not require much skill to diagnose the canting hypocrisy underlying” the riots, but the question now was whether “any sensible man [could] suppose that these men will return to their homes to view with complacency the spectacle of white men associated with  coloured women.” In a few short lines, Atu vivified the “tensions of empire” created  by the movement of African men between metropole and colony, and their different  systems of raced and gendered sexual access.

Not long after, the Leader published a series of commentaries under the provocative  title “Immoral Sanitation.” The unnamed author of the series’ first installment declared that unseemly sexual liaisons between African women and European men had transformed the “social life” of Sekondi, a busy coastal town in the Gold Coast’s Western Province, into “a condition of depravity.” Elsewhere in the colony,  “a woman who boldly acknowledges herself the kept mistress of a European is thrown out of society and virtually looked down upon by men and women of respectability,”  claimed the writer. In Sekondi, however, he accused “energetic advocates of this dishonourable mode of life” of enticing young women into sexual relationships with European men, whose “carnal lust” was causing the moral deterioration of the town’s womenfolk. The claims made in the “Immoral Sanitation” series, argued Leader columnist Atu, were more broadly applicable to “other parts of the country where this traffic,” which he likened to “prostitution on the part of African women by a class of white men of a low caste,” was carried on.

The Leader’s lurid tales of illicit relationships between profligate white men and debauched African women during the early twentieth century contrast sharply with historical accounts of respectable marriages between entrepreneurial African women and European men during an earlier time period in coastal West Africa. These unions produced West Africa’s prominent Afro-European trading families and are often credited with successfully integrating European men into local West African societies and empowering African women during the long period of contact preceding the nineteenth-century advent of formal colonial rule. Interracial marriages contracted in accordance with African customary law, and less frequently those recognized as lawful by the religious and administrative bodies associated with the European presence on the coast, were indeed regular features of the region’s littoral trading enclaves. Constrained by a dearth of sources, scholars have had comparatively little to say about the range of coercive and less seemly sexual encounters, including concubinage, prostitution, and rape, that also characterized the interracial sexual economies of West Africa’s coastal trading hubs. While it is difficult to speculate about native Gold Coasters’ reactions to these relationships prior to the twentieth century, scattered commentary from as early as 1902 in the Leader, the colony’s most politically radical newspaper, suggests that disquiet over them was not new. With the appearance of the “Immoral Sanitation” series and likeminded commentaries, however, this simmering discontent boiled over into full-blown condemnation of local interracial sexual relations. These rare primary sources vividly illustrate how a diverse group of politically marginalized yet highly politicized Gold Coast men from the colony’s embattled intelligentsia, along with disillusioned demobilized soldiers and seamen in post–World War I Britain, used these illicit relationships to challenge the moral legitimacy of British colonial rule. On the one hand, by portraying African women as either immoral race traitors or innocents in need of protection from predatory Europeans, these men were able to claim a leadership role as moral stewards of the nation. On the other hand, by casting European men as sexually promiscuous interlopers, they challenged the very idea that Europeans were morally suited to rule the colonial world…

Read or purchase the article here.

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Obama’s Path Was Shaped by Mandela’s Story

Posted in Africa, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, South Africa, United States on 2013-12-06 16:36Z by Steven

Obama’s Path Was Shaped by Mandela’s Story

The New York Times
2013-12-05

Michael D. Shear

WASHINGTON — Without Nelson Mandela, there might never have been a President Obama.

That is the strong impression conveyed from Mr. Obama, whose political and personal bonds to Mr. Mandela, the former South African president, transcended their single face-to-face meeting, which took place at a hotel here in 2005.

It was the fight for racial justice in South Africa by Mr. Mandela that first inspired a young Barack Obama to public service, the American president recalled on Thursday evening after hearing that Mr. Mandela, the 95-year-old world icon, had died. Mr. Obama delivered his first public speech, in 1979, at an anti-apartheid rally.

Mr. Obama’s first moment on the public stage was the start of a life and political career imbued with the kind of hope that Mr. Mandela personified. “The day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears,” Mr. Obama said on Thursday.

“Hope” would eventually become the mantra for his ascension to the White House.

On two continents separated by thousands of miles and vastly different political cultures, the lives of the two men rarely intersected. Weeks before their only meeting, Mr. Obama wrote Mr. Mandela a letter that Oprah Winfrey carried to South Africa. As Mr. Obama later emerged as a national political leader, he and Mr. Mandela occasionally traded phone calls or letters.

But the trajectories of the two leaders, who broke political and social barriers in their own countries, were destined to be connected, even if mostly from afar. Mr. Obama wrote about Mr. Mandela as a distant but inspirational figure in the forward to Mr. Mandela’s 2010 book, “Conversations With Myself.”

“His sacrifice was so great that it called upon people everywhere to do what they could on behalf of human progress,” Mr. Obama wrote. “In the most modest of ways, I was one of those people who tried to answer his call.”

Mr. Mandela and Mr. Obama served as the first black leaders of their nations and both were looked to by some as the vehicles for reconciliation between polarized electorates. Both won the Nobel Peace Prize, in part for their charisma and their ability to inspire and communicate…

Read the entire article here.

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‘Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature’: A Reading

Posted in Africa, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2013-12-04 19:03Z by Steven

‘Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature’: A Reading

Denison University
A. Blair Knapp Hall
Room 201
300 Ridge Road
Granville, Ohio 43023

Thursday, 2013-12-05, 16:30 EST (Local Time)

The Women’s Studies Program welcomes Diana Mafe.

The Women’s Studies Program welcomes Diana Mafe reading from her new book, Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature: Coloring Outside the (Black and White) Lines. In this work, she examines the popular literary stereotype, the tragic mulatto, from a comparative perspective and considers the ways in which specific South African and American writers have used this controversial literary character to challenge the logic of racial categorization.

For more information, click here.

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Diana Mafe Publishes Book

Posted in Africa, Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2013-11-19 23:18Z by Steven

Diana Mafe Publishes Book

What’s Happening
Denison University, Department of English
2013-11-18

Diana Mafe, assistant professor of English, publishes her first book.

Diana Mafe, Assistant Professor of English, has published her first book, Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature: Coloring Outside the (Black and White) Lines (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). In this work, she argues that the recent celebration of the mixed race figure as an avatar of positive change for multiracial nations like South Africa and the United States overlooks the complex global trajectories that resulted in this watershed moment. She examines the popular literary stereotype of the tragic mulatto from a comparative perspective and considers the ways in which specific South African and American writers have used this controversial literary character to challenge the logic of racial categorization. The result is a transnational dialogue between these respective national literatures, both of which use tragic mulatto fiction as a locus for broader questions about race and belonging.

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