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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Declared Defective: Native Americans, Eugenics, and the Myth of Nam Hollow

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2018-04-12 01:28Z by Steven

Declared Defective: Native Americans, Eugenics, and the Myth of Nam Hollow

University of Nebraska Press
May 2018
246 pages
9 photographs, 1 illustration, 3 maps, 2 tables, 8 charts, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4962-0200-0

Robert Jarvenpa, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology
State University of New York, Albany

Declared Defective is the anthropological history of an outcast community and a critical reevaluation of The Nam Family, written in 1912 by Arthur Estabrook and Charles Davenport, leaders of the early twentieth-century eugenics movement. Based on their investigations of an obscure rural enclave in upstate New York, the biologists were repulsed by the poverty and behavior of the people in Nam Hollow. They claimed that their alleged indolence, feeble-mindedness, licentiousness, alcoholism, and criminality were biologically inherited.

Declared Defective reveals that Nam Hollow was actually a community of marginalized, mixed-race Native Americans, the Van Guilders, adapting to scarce resources during an era of tumultuous political and economic change. Their Mohican ancestors had lost lands and been displaced from the frontiers of colonial expansion in western Massachusetts in the late eighteenth century. Estabrook and Davenport’s portrait of innate degeneracy was a grotesque mischaracterization based on class prejudice and ignorance of the history and hybridic subculture of the people of Guilder Hollow. By bringing historical experience, agency, and cultural process to the forefront of analysis, Declared Defective illuminates the real lives and struggles of the Mohican Van Guilders. It also exposes the pseudoscientific zealotry and fearmongering of Progressive Era eugenics while exploring the contradictions of race and class in America.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • List of Tables
  • Series Editors’ Introduction
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: The Menace in the Hollow
  • 1. Native Americans and Eugenics
  • 2. Border Wars and the Origins of the Van Guilders
  • 3. A “New” Homeland and the Cradle of Guilder Hollow
  • 4. From Pioneers to Outcastes
  • 5. The Eugenicists Arrive
  • 6. Deconstructing the Nam and the Hidden Native Americans
  • 7. Demonizing the Marginalized Poor
  • Conclusion: The Myth Unravels
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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The Existence of the Mixed Race Damnés: Decolonialism, Class, Gender, Race

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Latino Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Philosophy, United States on 2018-04-01 03:18Z by Steven

The Existence of the Mixed Race Damnés: Decolonialism, Class, Gender, Race

Rowman & Littlefield
June 2018
160 pages
Trim: 6 x 9
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78660-615-0
eBook ISBN: 978-1-78660-616-7

Daphne V. Taylor-Garcia, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies
University of California, San Diego

The Existence of the Mixed Race Damnés is an interdisciplinary and intersectional study of the mixed-race subject in the Americas and the rise of oppositional consciousness with a consideration of not only race, but also colonialism. Daphne V. Taylor-Garcia examines the construction of race, gender, and class in coming to an oppositional consciousness as a Spanish colonial subject in the Americas. Spanning the early foundations of knowledge production about colonial/racial subjects and connecting to contemporary debates on Latinxs and racialization, the book takes up the terms through which first-person perceptions of precarity and class, mixed-race existence, and gendered power relations are constructed. The Existence of the Mixed Race Damnés ends with a response to the current scepticism towards organizing as people of color through a decolonial redefinition of the damnés that centers a critique of anti-black racism and colonial relations.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. The Spatiality of the Damnés
  • 2. Visible Race and the Legacy of the Sistema de Castas
  • 3. The Semiotics of Gender in Colonial/Renaissance Knowledge Production
  • 4. Taking Action as the Damnés
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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The Rise of the Afro-descendent Identity in Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Interviews, Media Archive on 2018-03-30 02:11Z by Steven

The Rise of the Afro-descendent Identity in Latin America

teleSUR
2018-03-04

For Black History Month, Catherine Walsh, professor of Afro-Andean Studies at the University Simon Bolivar in Quito, Ecuador, shares with teleSUR her views about the achievements and challenges for the construction of an Afro-descendent consciousness in Latin America.

What in recent history would you say has contributed to the rise of a Black and Afro-descendent identity, with Black communities now embracing more than ever their culture across the continent?

Yes, this has changed radically. Several moments in recent history are important to highlight: in the 1990s, with the rise of Indigenous movements, alliances were built between Indigenous and Black people like in Ecuador.

But Black communities also began to organize by themselves, involving the construction of a notion of a Black territory, sometimes referred to as the “Gran Comarca” from the South of Panama to the North of Ecuador, where national identity does not matter. Black people living in the region often come from the same families, they have similar last names, and for many years have moved freely over the borders identifying as Afro-descendent and regardless of the national borders…

Read the entire interview here.

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The Anti-Black City: Police Terror and Black Urban Life in Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2018-03-16 02:49Z by Steven

The Anti-Black City: Police Terror and Black Urban Life in Brazil

University of Minnesota Press
2018-02-13
320 pages
9 b&w photos
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN: 978-1-5179-0156-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-5179-0155-4

Jaime Amparo Alves, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Staten Island of the City University of New York
also: Associate Researcher
Centro de Estudios Afrodiaspóricos of Universidad Icesi/Colombia

An important new ethnographic study of São Paulo’s favelas reveals the widespread use of race-based police repression in Brazil

While Black Lives Matter still resonates in the United States, the movement has also become a potent rallying call worldwide, with harsh police tactics and repressive state policies often breaking racial lines. In The Anti-Black City, Jaime Amparo Alves delves into the dynamics of racial violence in Brazil, where poverty, unemployment, residential segregation, and a biased criminal justice system create urban conditions of racial precarity.

The Anti-Black City provocatively offers race as a vital new lens through which to view violence and marginalization in the supposedly “raceless” São Paulo. Ironically, in a context in which racial ambiguity makes it difficult to identify who is black and who is white, racialized access to opportunities and violent police tactics establish hard racial boundaries through subjugation and death. Drawing on two years of ethnographic research in prisons and neighborhoods on the periphery of this mega-city, Alves documents the brutality of police tactics and the complexity of responses deployed by black residents, including self-help initiatives, public campaigns against police violence, ruthless gangs, and self-policing of communities.

The Anti-Black City reveals the violent and racist ideologies that underlie state fantasies of order and urban peace in modern Brazil. Illustrating how “governing through death” has become the dominant means for managing and controlling ethnic populations in the neoliberal state, Alves shows that these tactics only lead to more marginalization, criminality, and violence. Ultimately, Alves’s work points to a need for a new approach to an intractable problem: how to govern populations and territories historically seen as “ungovernable.”

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: On Our Own Terms
  • 1. Macabre Spatialities
  • 2. “Police, Get off My Back!”
  • 3. The Favela-Prison Pipeline
  • 4. Sticking Up!
  • 5. Bringing Back the Dead
  • Conclusion: Blackpolis
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index
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Beyond Ethnicity: New Politics of Race in Hawaii

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Oceania, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-03-16 02:47Z by Steven

Beyond Ethnicity: New Politics of Race in Hawaii

University of Hawai’i Press
March 2018
288 pages
1 b&w illustration
Cloth ISBN: 9780824869885

Edited by:

Camilla Fojas, Associate Professor in the Departments of Media Studies and American Studies
University of Virginia

Rudy P. Guevarra, Associate Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies
Arizona State University

Nitasha Tamar Sharma, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies and African American Studies
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Written by scholars of various disciplines, the essays in this volume dig beneath the veneer of Hawai‘i’s myth as a melting pot paradise to uncover historical and complicated cross-racial dynamics. Race is not the primary paradigm through which Hawai‘i is understood. Instead, ethnic difference is celebrated as a sign of multicultural globalism that designates Hawai‘i as the crossroads of the Pacific. Racial inequality is disruptive to the tourist image of the islands. It ruptures the image of tolerance, diversity, and happiness upon which tourism, business, and so many other vested transnational interests in the islands are based. The contributors of this interdisciplinary volume reconsider Hawai‘i as a model of ethnic and multiracial harmony through the lens of race in their analysis of historical events, group relations and individual experiences, and humor, for instance. Beyond Ethnicity examines the dynamics between race, ethnicity, and indigeneity to challenge the primacy of ethnicity and cultural practices for examining difference in the islands while recognizing the significant role of settler colonialism in the islands. This original and thought-provoking volume reveals what a racial analysis illuminates about the current political configuration of the islands and in so doing, challenges how we conceptualize race on the continent.

Recognizing the ways that Native Hawaiians or Kānaka Maoli are impacted by shifting, violent, and hierarchical colonial structures that include racial inequalities, the editors and contributors explore questions of personhood and citizenship through language, land, labor, and embodiment. By admitting to these tensions and ambivalences, the editors set the pace and tempo of powerfully argued essays that engage with the various ways that Kānaka Maoli and the influx of differentially racialized settlers continue to shift the social, political, and cultural terrains of the Hawaiian Islands over time.

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Learning to Transgress: Law 10.639 and Teacher-Training Classrooms in São Paulo, Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Politics/Public Policy on 2018-02-22 02:01Z by Steven

Learning to Transgress: Law 10.639 and Teacher-Training Classrooms in São Paulo, Brazil

Transforming Anthropology
Volume 24, Issue 1, April 2016
Pages 70–79
DOI: 10.1111/traa.12058

Reighan Gillam, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
University of Southern California

Signed in 2003, Law 10.639 makes teaching Afro-Brazilian history and culture compulsory in primary school lessons. Training programs to educate teachers on this material have proliferated in the state of São Paulo and elsewhere in Brazil. This paper illuminates non-elite Brazilians’ lived, personal engagements with ideas of racial inequality by way of these training programs. Participants in these classrooms did not express direct rejection or acceptance of these ideas but rather relied on personal experiences to negotiate their conceptions of racial identity and racial inequality that deviate from traditional ideas of racial democracy. As Brazil takes further steps to consider race when facilitating access to resources and confronting racial inequality directly, it is imperative that the everyday iterations of this shift are understood.

As part of a series of training sessions1 to instruct teachers on how to integrate Afro-Brazilian history and culture into their curricula, trainer Flávia Gomes2 screened clips from the film Everyone’s Heroes (Heróis de Todo Mundo). This movie features prominent Afro-Brazilians and explains their role in national history. Flávia told the teachers that they could show this movie in their classrooms, or they could integrate the information from the movie into their lessons. Five female educators and I sat at our desks and quietly watched the clips that briefly recounted the lives and accomplishments of figures like Auta da Souza, an Afro-Brazilian writer, and Milton Santos, an Afro-Brazilian geographer. After showing the video, Flávia said a few words: “Violence is to whiten Black heroes. This silences the place of Blackness in the classroom. Machado de Assis, Lima Barreto. There is no way to silence this. (Não da para silenciar).” One of the participants raised her hand; Flávia called on her. She was a principal at an elementary school and participating in these classes to oversee the curricular changes at her school. Before saying anything, she began to sob, taking the entire class by surprise. “I feel so troubled because I didn’t know these people had been left out. I have heard of them but didn’t know they were Black. I liked reading the poems of Auta da Souza, but I always pictured her as White. The lack of information that we have…” Her comments trailed off as she wiped her tears. This response occurred toward the end of class, leaving Flávia with little time to initiate a conversation. Instead, she concluded class by adding a few words about using this video to educate children about the people presented in the movie before dismissing everyone for the day.

This scene played out in a teacher-training program in its first year in Flor do Campo, Brazil, in the state of São Paulo. These teacher-training programs resulted from the passage of Law 10.639, which made Afro-Brazilian history and culture compulsory material for all Brazilian public primary schools. Since its passage, teacher-training programs have proliferated throughout the country to provide teachers with classroom material about Afro-Brazilian history and culture to satisfy the legal mandate of Law 10.639. The teacher-training classrooms in which I participated were dynamic spaces of conversation, interaction, and engagement where Brazilians, like the principal above, could encounter new ways of thinking about race2 that run contrary to the common belief that racism cannot naturally exist in a mixed-race society. This article aims to examine changing understandings of race in Brazil, not as it transforms larger social and political structures, but as it is continuously reframed on the micro-social or everyday level. I argue that the critical practice of learning about and responding to subjugated knowledge and alternative experiences have the potential to transgress boundaries of belonging and recognition of racial difference in Brazil.

This article takes as a point of departure the issue of the personal in an era of changing conceptions of Brazilian race relations. This shift involves not only the macro changes of law and policy but also the personal, lived, everyday interactions of particular people as well. It uses the personal anecdotes, stories, and conversations of Brazilians offered during teacher-training sessions to examine how social change is a personal matter and how it plays out within everyday interactions. The “personal” broadly references the lived experiences of human beings. In several instances, the personal becomes the prism through which people perceive or react to macro-structural events and changing environments. I suggest that many Brazilians offer more personal responses to the shift from racial democracy based on their local and particular experiences as a way to account for the changes they are confronting in classroom education. While I would not say that these conversations were always successful at producing a shared understanding of the ways in which inequality can be tracked along racial lines, these teacher-training classrooms became sites and spaces of struggle over the limits and meanings of racial democracy and racial recognition, informed by the participants’ personal experiences of race that they frequently voiced….

Read the entire article here.

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Ancient DNA sheds light on what happened to the Taino, the native Caribbeans

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2018-02-20 04:22Z by Steven

Ancient DNA sheds light on what happened to the Taino, the native Caribbeans

Ars Technica
2018-02-19

Kiona N. Smith


Reconstruction of a Taino village in Cuba. Michal Zalewski

A new DNA study explores where the Taino came from and where they went.

The Caribbean was one of the last parts of the Americas to be settled by humans, although scientists don’t agree on when the first settlers arrived or where they came from. Some argue that people probably arrived from the Amazon Basin, where today’s Arawakan languages developed, while others suggest that the first people to settle the islands came from even farther west, in the Colombian Andes.

“The differences in opinion illustrate the difficulty of tracing population movements based on a patchy archaeological record,” wrote archaeologist Hannes Schroeder of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and his colleagues. Schroeder’s research team has a new study on the genetics of the long-lost Taino people, which gives some clear indications of their origin and where they went after European colonization…

Not vanished after all

The recent work also shows that the vanished people of the Caribbean didn’t actually disappear without a trace. Modern inhabitants of the Caribbean islands mostly have a mixture of African and European ancestry, but some have a little indigenous DNA as well. That’s not entirely surprising; Spanish colonists reportedly married Taino wives, and other records say that Taino and escaped African slaves also intermarried and formed communities. Some people have made an effort to revive Taino culture and identity in the last century and a half or so, but it has never been clear how genetically related modern Caribbean residents are to the presumably vanished tribes…

Read the entire article here.

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Goodbye ‘Racial Democracy’? Brazilian Identity, Official Discourse and the Making of a ‘Black’ Heritage Site in Rio de Janeiro

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Social Science on 2018-02-13 02:07Z by Steven

Goodbye ‘Racial Democracy’? Brazilian Identity, Official Discourse and the Making of a ‘Black’ Heritage Site in Rio de Janeiro

Bulletin of Latin American Research
Special Issue: Reflections on Repression and Resistance: The Vivid Legacies of Dictatorship in Brazil
Volume 37, Issue 1, January 2018
Pages 73–86
DOI: 10.1111/blar.12636

André Cicalo
King’s College London, London, United Kingdom

This article explores the racial thinking in Brazilian governance exposed during the creation of a Circuit of African Heritage in the port area of Rio de Janeiro from 2011 on. The Circuit and the policy discourses that have surrounded its establishment are visibly framed within a philosophy of ethno-racial recognition and multiculturalism, which apparently suggests a rupture from the long-established discourse of mixture and racial democracy in Brazil. Nonetheless, a careful analysis of the creation of the Circuit of African Heritage indicates that policy discourse is not conclusively unsettling the country’s traditional faith in a shared, colour-blind national identity.

Read the entire article in HTML or PDF format.

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Tests of fit of historically-informed models of African American Admixture

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United States on 2018-02-13 01:49Z by Steven

Tests of fit of historically-informed models of African American Admixture

American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 165, Issue 2, February 2018
Pages 211–222
DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.23343

Jessica M. Gross
Department of Anthropology
University of New Mexico

African American populations in the U.S. formed primarily by mating between Africans and Europeans over the last 500 years. To date, studies of admixture have focused on either a one-time admixture event or continuous input into the African American population from Europeans only. Our goal is to gain a better understanding of the admixture process by examining models that take into account (a) assortative mating by ancestry in the African American population, (b) continuous input from both Europeans and Africans, and (c) historically informed variation in the rate of African migration over time.

Materials and methods

We used a model-based clustering method to generate distributions of African ancestry in three samples comprised of 147 African Americans from two published sources. We used a log-likelihood method to examine the fit of four models to these distributions and used a log-likelihood ratio test to compare the relative fit of each model.

Results

The mean ancestry estimates for our datasets of 77% African/23% European to 83% African/17% European ancestry are consistent with previous studies. We find admixture models that incorporate continuous gene flow from Europeans fit significantly better than one-time event models, and that a model involving continuous gene flow from Africans and Europeans fits better than one with continuous gene flow from Europeans only for two samples. Importantly, models that involve continuous input from Africans necessitate a higher level of gene flow from Europeans than previously reported.

Discussion

We demonstrate that models that take into account information about the rate of African migration over the past 500 years fit observed patterns of African ancestry better than alternative models. Our approach will enrich our understanding of the admixture process in extant and past populations.

Read or purchase the article here.

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