What do Brazilians look like?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2016-06-28 01:11Z by Steven

What do Brazilians look like?

Eye on Brazil: Observations of an Ex-Expat

Sabrina Gledhill, PhD

I recently came across an article that has sparked all kinds of responses online and the time has come to add one of my own. Titled Future Humans Will All Look Brazilian, Researcher Says it naturally caught my eye! Without even reading it, my first question was, which Brazilians, from where?

While I was brunching in Paris with a fellow Brit earlier this year, two women asked to share our table and started speaking Spanish. I initially assumed they were from Spain, since we were in Europe. Also, one was “Mediterranean” looking and the other was a blue-eyed blonde, which is entirely possible in Iberia. When we eventually joined in the conversation (in English), it turned out that the “Mediterranean” woman was from Argentina and the blonde was…wait for it…from Brazil! My British companion was surprised, and said she didn’t look Brazilian. I explained that they come in all shapes and sizes…

Read the entire article here.

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A Seminole Legend: The Life of Betty Mae Tiger Jumper

Posted in Anthropology, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2016-06-26 01:43Z by Steven

A Seminole Legend: The Life of Betty Mae Tiger Jumper

University Press of Florida
208 pages
5.5 x 8.5
Hardcover ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-2285-7

Betty Mae Tiger Jumper

Patsy West

With A Seminole Legend, Betty Mae Jumper joins the ranks of Native American women who are coming forward to tell their life experiences. This collaboration between Jumper and Patsy West, an ethnohistorian who contributes general tribal history, is a rare and authentic account of a pioneering Florida Seminole family. It will take its place in Seminole literature, historical and anthropological studies, Florida history, women’s history, and Native American studies.

Betty Mae Tiger was born in 1923 to a Seminole Indian mother and a French trapper father, a fair-skinned half-breed who was nearly put to death at age five by tribal medicine men. Her inspiring autobiography is the story of the most decorated member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida—a political activist, former nurse, and alligator wrestler, who today has her own web site.

Jumper is also a beloved story-teller, renowned for passing along tribal legends. In this book she describes her family’s early conversion to Christianity and discusses such topics as miscegenation, war and atrocities, the impact of encroaching settlement on traditional peoples, and the development of the Dania/Hollywood Reservation. She became the first formally educated Florida Seminole, attending a government boarding school in Cherokee, North Carolina, where at age 14 she learned to speak English.

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Indian allies and white antagonists: toward an alternative mestizaje on Mexico’s Costa Chica

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico, Native Americans/First Nation on 2016-06-24 14:23Z by Steven

Indian allies and white antagonists: toward an alternative mestizaje on Mexico’s Costa Chica

Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies
Published online: 2015-10-05
DOI: 10.1080/17442222.2015.1094873

Laura A. Lewis, Professor of Latin American Anthropology
University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom

San Nicolás Tolentino, Guerrero, Mexico, is a ‘mixed’ black-Indian agricultural community on the coastal belt of Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, the Costa Chica. This article examines local expressions of race in San Nicolás in relation to Mexico’s national ideology of mestizaje (race mixing), which excludes blackness but is foundational to Mexican racial identities. San Nicolás’s black-Indians are strongly nationalistic while expressing a collective or regional identity different from those of peoples they identify as Indians and as whites. Such collective expression produces an alternative model of mestizaje, here explored through local agrarian history and several village festivals. It is argued that this alternative model favors Indians and distances whites, thereby challenging dominant forms of Mexican mestizaje.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Unreasonable Histories: Nativism, Multiracial Lives, and the Genealogical Imagination in British Africa

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-06-22 20:25Z by Steven

Unreasonable Histories: Nativism, Multiracial Lives, and the Genealogical Imagination in British Africa

Duke University Press
368 pages
51 illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5713-1
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-5725-4

Christopher J. Lee, Research Associate
WITS Institute for Social and Economic Research
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

In Unreasonable Histories, Christopher J. Lee unsettles the parameters and content of African studies as currently understood. At the book’s core are the experiences of multiracial Africans in British Central Africa—contemporary Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia—from the 1910s to the 1960s. Drawing on a spectrum of evidence—including organizational documents, court records, personal letters, commission reports, popular periodicals, photographs, and oral testimony—Lee traces the emergence of Anglo-African, Euro-African, and Eurafrican subjectivities which constituted a grassroots Afro-Britishness that defied colonial categories of native and non-native. Discriminated against and often impoverished, these subaltern communities crafted a genealogical imagination that reconfigured kinship and racial descent to make political claims and generate affective meaning. But these critical histories equally confront a postcolonial reason that has occluded these experiences, highlighting uneven imperial legacies that still remain. Based on research in five countries, Unreasonable Histories ultimately revisits foundational questions in the field, to argue for the continent’s diverse heritage and to redefine the meanings of being African in the past and present—and for the future.

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Brazil, Mixture Or Massacre? Essays in the Genocide of a Black People

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2016-06-19 23:41Z by Steven

Brazil, Mixture Or Massacre? Essays in the Genocide of a Black People

The Majority Press
214 pages
5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
Paperback ISBN: 978-0912469263

Abdias do Nascimento (1914-2014)

Translated by Elisa Larkin Nascimento

Nascimento explodes the myth of a “racial democracy” in Brazil. The author is a major figure in Afro-Brazilian arts, politics and scholarship. He founded the Black Experimental Theatre in Rio de Janeiro in 1944 and was an elected member of the Brazilian Congress from 1982 to 1986.

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Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-06-18 23:21Z by Steven

Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil

Duke University Press
304 pages
11 b&w photographs, 4 tables
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2260-3
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-2292-4

Jeffrey Lesser, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Winner, Brazil in Comparative Perspective section of Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Best Book Award

Despite great ethnic and racial diversity, ethnicity in Brazil is often portrayed as a matter of black or white, a distinction reinforced by the ruling elite’s efforts to craft the nation’s identity in its own image—white, Christian, and European. In Negotiating National Identity Jeffrey Lesser explores the crucial role ethnic minorities from China, Japan, North Africa, and the Middle East have played in constructing Brazil’s national identity, thereby challenging dominant notions of nationality and citizenship.

Employing a cross-cultural approach, Lesser examines a variety of acculturating responses by minority groups, from insisting on their own whiteness to becoming ultra-nationalists and even entering secret societies that insisted Japan had won World War II. He discusses how various minority groups engaged in similar, and successful, strategies of integration even as they faced immense discrimination and prejudice. Some believed that their ethnic heritage was too high a price to pay for the “privilege” of being white and created alternative categories for themselves, such as Syrian-Lebanese, Japanese-Brazilian, and so on. By giving voice to the role ethnic minorities have played in weaving a broader definition of national identity, this book challenges the notion that elite discourse is hegemonic and provides the first comprehensive look at Brazilian worlds often ignored by scholars.

Based on extensive research, Negotiating National Identity will be valuable to scholars and students in Brazilian and Latin American studies, as well as those in the fields of immigrant history, ethnic studies, and race relations.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • The Hidden Hyphen
  • Chinese Labor and the Debate over Ethnic Integration
  • Constructing Ethnic Space
  • Searching for a Hyphen
  • Negotiations and New Identities
  • Turning Japanese
  • A Suggestive Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Dreaming Equality: Color, Race, and Racism in Urban Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2016-06-18 21:26Z by Steven

Dreaming Equality: Color, Race, and Racism in Urban Brazil

Rutgers University Press
November 2001
278 pages
6 x 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8135-3000-0
Web PDF ISBN: 978-0-8135-5602-4

Robin E. Sheriff, Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of New Hampshire

In the 1933 publication The Masters and the Slaves, Brazilian scholar and novelist Gilberto Freyre challenged the racist ideas of his day by defending the “African contribution” to Brazil’s culture. In so doing, he proposed that Brazil was relatively free of most forms of racial prejudice and could best be understood as a “racial democracy.” Over time this view has grown into the popular myth that racism in Brazil is very mild or nonexistent.

This myth contrasts starkly with the realities of a pernicious racial inequality that permeates every aspect of Brazilian life. To study the grip of this myth on African Brazilians’ views of themselves and their nation, Robin E. Sheriff spent twenty months in a primarily black shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, studying the inhabitants’s views of race and racism. How, she asks, do poor African Brazilians experience and interpret racism in a country where its very existence tends to be publicly denied? How is racism talked about privately in the family and publicly in the community—or is it talked about at all?

Sheriff’s analysis is particularly important because most Brazilians live in urban settings, and her examination of their views of race and racism sheds light on common but underarticulated racial attitudes. This book is the first to demonstrate that urban African Brazilians do not subscribe to the racial democracy myth and recognize racism as a central factor shaping their lives.

Table Of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 The Hill
  • Chapter 2 Talk: Discourses on Color and Race
  • Chapter 3 Silence: Racism and Cultural Censorship
  • Chapter 4 Narratives: Racism on the Asphalt
  • Chapter 5 Narratives: Racism at Home
  • Chapter 6 Whiteness: Middle-Class Discourses
  • Chapter 7 Blackness: Militant Discourses
  • Chapter 8 Conclusion: Dreaming
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index
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A Creole melting pot: the politics of language, race, and identity in southwest Louisiana, 1918-45

Posted in Anthropology, Dissertations, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-06-17 18:04Z by Steven

A Creole melting pot: the politics of language, race, and identity in southwest Louisiana, 1918-45

University of Sussex
September 2015
353 pages

Christophe Landry

Doctorate of Philosophy in History

Southwest Louisiana Creoles underwent great change between World Wars I and II as they confronted American culture, people, and norms. This work examines that cultural transformation, paying particular attention to the processes of cultural assimilation and resistance to the introduction and imposition of American social values and its southern racial corollary: Jim Crow. As this work makes clear, the transition to American identity transmuted the cultural foundations of French- and Creole-speaking Creole communities. World War I signalled early transformative changes and over the next three decades, the region saw the introduction of English language, new industries, an increasing number of Protestant denominations, and the forceful imposition of racialized identities and racial segregation. Assimilation and cultural resistance characterized the Creole response, but by 1945, southwest Louisiana more closely resembled much of the American South. Creole leaders in churches, schools, and the tourism industry offered divergent reactions; some elite Creoles began looking to Francophone Canada for whitened ethnic identity support while others turned toward the Catholic establishment in Baltimore, Maryland to bolster their faith. Creoles were not the only distinct community to undergo Americanization, but Louisiana Creoles were singular in their response. As this study makes clear – in ways no historian has previously documented – Louisiana Creoles bifurcated as a result of Americanization. This study also contributes to, and broadens, the literature on Acadian identity. Previously, scholars simply assumed that whitened Latins in Louisiana had always identified with Acadia and their black-racialized brethren with Haiti. This thesis, however, suggests that Cajun and Creole are not opposites. Rather, they derive from the same people and culture, and their perceived and articulated difference emerged in response to Americanization. Through a critical analysis of that bifurcation process, this thesis demonstrates how Acadianized identity and culture emerged in the first half of the 20th century.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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The Myth of Race: The Troubling and Persistence of an Unscientific Idea by Robert Wald Sussman (review)

Posted in Anthropology, Book/Video Reviews, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2016-06-14 20:00Z by Steven

The Myth of Race: The Troubling and Persistence of an Unscientific Idea by Robert Wald Sussman (review)

Journal of Social History
Volume 49, Number 3, Spring 2016
pages 740-741

Robert J. Cottrol, Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law and Professor of History and Sociology
George Washington University

The Myth of Race: The Troubling and Persistence of an Unscientific Idea. By Robert Wald Sussman (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014. 374 pp. $35.00).

With The Myth of Race, Robert Sussman gives us a comprehensive history of the idea of race and particularly the rise and not total fall of scientific racism Drawing on the intellectual history of his own discipline, physical anthropology, Sussman takes the reader on a journey from the role of race in the religious persecutions of the fifteenth century Spanish inquisition to an examination of the development of the eugenics movement, that movement’s link to Nazi ideology and practice, and the role of Franz Boaz and his disciples in combating scientific racism and establishing the dominance of culturally based explanations for racial and ethnic differences. The Myth of Race takes us to our uneasy present. The scientific racists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have been vanquished in the minds of the scientific communities and educated public more generally, but there are still holdouts, in some places influential holdouts, asserting the validity of earlier views positing that racial differences are real, inherited and largely immutable.

The introduction provides something of a primer on race from the point of view of physical anthropology for the uninitiated. From the biological perspective, Sussman informs us, even using the term race to discuss the variations in the human species is suspect. But Sussman’s purpose is not to provide a thumbnail sketch of the biology of race, but to explore race as an intellectual construct along with a history of its uses and misuses. Race’s development as a concept was prompted by large scale European contact with new and different peoples in Africa and the Americas, a by-product of European expansion. The Church, however imperfectly, stressed the unity of humanity, the product of a single act of creation. But others, repelled by difference, or attracted by the possibility that those who were different and more vulnerable could be readily exploited, fashioned explanations to both account for differences and to insure the dominance of Europeans. Some theories accounted for difference by attributing human variation to separate creations with Africans and the indigenous populations of the Western Hemisphere being something other and something less than children of the Biblical Adam and Eve. Others were willing to stipulate to the unity of human origins, but nonetheless asserted that those strange people who were not white, not European and not Christian were the products of a degeneration that also highlighted their inferiority and the need for them to be brought under the control of their betters. Sussman is particularly strong in presenting this history and in reminding readers that moral and political philosophers like Locke and Kant more generally thought of as advocates of political liberty and just governance played a significant role in implanting notions of racial hierarchy in European thought.

But it is in his discussion of the origins and career of eugenics as a concept where Sussman makes his strongest contribution. Sussman links the origins of eugenics to concepts of scarcity and need first articulated by Malthus. These concepts when coupled with the extension of Darwinian thought beyond basic biology would provide a basis for a school of human science that reached its logical conclusions with Nazi racial science. The Myth of Race provides a chilling look at the popularity and power of the American eugenics movement. Sussman’s discussion of the influence that American eugenicist Madison Grant’s Passing of the Great Race had on Nazi racial policies is particularly instructive.

We all, to some extent, know how the story comes out, at least to date. In the inter-war years, anthropologist Franz Boaz through his meticulous research and the influence of his disciples helped defeat the scientific racists who dominated the debate before the First World War. Boaz’s research played a pivotal role in persuading educated people that culture and not biology accounted for group differences. The horrors of the Nazi holocaust played a significant role in discrediting scientific and not so scientific racism among the public at large after the Second World War

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The Face: Cartography of the Void

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-06-12 21:26Z by Steven

The Face: Cartography of the Void

Restless Books
March 2016
96 pages
4.5 x 0.3 x 6 inches
ISBN-13: 978-1632060433

Chris Abani

In The Face: Cartography of the Void, acclaimed poet, novelist, and screenwriter Chris Abani has given us a brief memoir that is, in the best tradition of the genre, also an exploration of the very nature of identity. Abani meditates on his own face, beginning with his early childhood that was immersed in the Igbo culture of West Africa. The Face is a lush work of art that teems with original and profound insights into the role of race, culture, and language in fashioning our sense of self. Abani’s writing is poetic, filled with stories, jokes, and reflections that draw readers into his fold; he invites them to explore their own “faces” and the experiences that have shaped them.

As Abani so lovingly puts it, this extended essay contemplates “all the people who have touched my face, slapped it, punched it, kissed it, washed it, shaved it. All of that human contact must leave some trace, some of the need and anger that motivated that touch. This face is softened by it all. Made supple by all the wonder it has beheld, all the kindness, all the generosity of life. The Face is a gift to be read, re-read, shared, and treasured, from an author at the height of his artistic powers. Abani directs his gaze both inward and out toward the world around him, creating a self-portrait in which readers will also see their own faces reflected.

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