New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2016-10-26 16:16Z by Steven

New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration

New York University Press
February 2017
368 pages
28 halftones
Cloth ISBN: 9781479888801

Judith Weisenfeld, Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor of Religion
Princeton University

When Joseph Nathaniel Beckles registered for the draft in the 1942,  he rejected the racial categories presented to him and persuaded the registrar to cross out the check mark she had placed next to Negro and substitute “Ethiopian Hebrew.”  “God did not make us Negroes,” declared religious leaders in black communities of the early twentieth-century urban North. They insisted that so-called Negroes are, in reality, Ethiopian Hebrews, Asiatic Muslims, or raceless children of God. Rejecting conventional American racial classification, many black southern migrants and immigrants from the Caribbean embraced these alternative visions of black history, racial identity, and collective future, thereby reshaping the black religious and racial landscape.

Focusing on the Moorish Science Temple, the Nation of Islam, Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement, and a number of congregations of Ethiopian Hebrews, Judith Weisenfeld argues that the appeal of these groups lay not only in the new religious opportunities membership provided, but also in the novel ways they formulated a religio-racial identity. Arguing that members of these groups understood their religious and racial identities as divinely-ordained and inseparable, the book examines how this sense of self shaped their conceptions of their bodies, families, religious and social communities, space and place, and political sensibilities.

Weisenfeld draws on extensive archival research and incorporates a rich array of sources to highlight the experiences of average members. The book demonstrates that the efforts by members of these movements to contest conventional racial categorization contributed to broader discussions in black America about the nature of racial identity and the collective future of black people that still resonate today.

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Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2016-10-23 02:19Z by Steven

Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
October 2017
295 pages
ISBN13: 978-1-77112-240-5

Michelle La Flamme, Professor of English
University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Canada’s history is bicultural, Indigenous, and multilingual, and these characteristics have given risen to a number of strategies used by our writers to code racially mixed characters. This book examines contemporary Canadian literature and drama in order to tease out some of those strategies and the social and cultural factors that inform them.

Racially hybrid characters in literature have served a matrix of needs. They are used as shorthand for interracial desire, signifiers of taboo love, images of impurity, symbols of degeneration, and examples of beauty and genetic perfection. Their fates have been used to suggest the futility of marrying across racial lines, or the revelation of their “one drop” signals a climactic downfall. Other narratives suggest mixed-race bodies are foundational to colonization and signify contact between colonial and Indigenous bodies.

Author Michelle LaFlamme approaches racial hybridity with a cross-generic and cross-racial approach, unusual in the field of hybridity studies, by analyzing characters with different racial mixes in autobiographies, fiction, and drama. Her analysis privileges literary texts and the voices of artists rather than sociological explanations of the mixed-race experience. The book suggests that the hyper-visualization of mixed-race bodies in mono-racial contexts creates a scopophilic interest in how those bodies look and perform race.

La Flamme’s term “soma text” draws attention to the constructed, performative aspects of this form of embodiment. The writers she examines witness that living in a racially hybrid and ambiguous body is a complex engagement that involves reading and decoding the body in sophisticated ways, involving both the multiracial body and the racialized gaze of the onlooker.

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Anglo-Indians and Minority Politics in South Asia: Race, Boundary Making and Communal Nationalism

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-10-22 20:06Z by Steven

Anglo-Indians and Minority Politics in South Asia: Race, Boundary Making and Communal Nationalism

256 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9781138847224

Uther Charlton-Stevens, Associate Professor
Institute of World Economy and Finance
Volgograd State University, Russia

Anglo-Indians are a mixed-race, Christian and Anglophone minority community which arose in India during the long period of European colonialism. An often neglected part of the British ‘Raj’, their presence complicates the traditional binary through which British imperialism in South Asia is viewed – of ruler and ruled, coloniser and colonised. This book looks at how Anglo-Indians illuminate the history of minority politics in the transition from British colonial rule in South Asia to independence.

The book analyses how the provisions in the Indian Constitution relating to Anglo-Indian cultural, linguistic and religious autonomy were implemented in the years following 1950. It discusses how effective the measures designed to protect Anglo-Indian employment by the state and Anglo-Indian educational institutions under the pressures of Indian national politics were. Presenting an in-depth account of this minority community in South Asia, this book will be of interest to those studying South Asian History, Colonial History and South Asian Politics.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. East Indians
  • 2. The ‘Eurasian Problem’
  • 3. Becoming Anglo-Indians
  • 4. Making a Minority
  • 5. Escapisms of Empire
  • 6. Constituting the Nation
  • 7. Conclusion
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Géneros de Gente in Early Colonial Mexico: Defining Racial Difference

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Law, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2016-10-22 20:04Z by Steven

Géneros de Gente in Early Colonial Mexico: Defining Racial Difference

University of Oklahoma Press
304 pages
Illustrations: 3 b&w illus., 2 maps, 18 tables
6″ x 9″
Hardcover ISBN: 9780806154879

Robert C. Schwaller, Assistant Professor of History
University of Kansas, Lawrence

On December 19, 1554, the members of Tenochtitlan’s indigenous cabildo, or city council, petitioned Emperor Charles V of Spain for administrative changes “to save us from any Spaniard, mestizo, black, or mulato afflicting us in the marketplace, on the roads, in the canal, or in our homes.” Within thirty years of the conquest, the presence of these groups in New Spain was large enough to threaten the social, economic, and cultural order of the indigenous elite. In Géneros de Gente in Early Colonial Mexico, an ambitious rereading of colonial history, Robert C. Schwaller proposes using the Spanish term géneros de gente (types or categories of people) as part of a more nuanced perspective on what these categories of difference meant and how they evolved. His work revises our understanding of racial hierarchy in Mexico, the repercussions of which reach into the present.

Schwaller traces the connections between medieval Iberian ideas of difference and the unique societies forged in the Americas. He analyzes the ideological and legal development of géneros de gente into a system that began to resemble modern notions of race. He then examines the lives of early colonial mestizos and mulatos to show how individuals of mixed ancestry experienced the colonial order. By pairing an analysis of legal codes with a social history of mixed-race individuals, his work reveals the disjunction between the establishment of a common colonial language of what would become race and the ability of the colonial Spanish state to enforce such distinctions. Even as the colonial order established a system of governance that entrenched racial differences, colonial subjects continued to mediate their racial identities through social networks, cultural affinities, occupation, and residence.

Presenting a more complex picture of the ways difference came to be defined in colonial Mexico, this book exposes important tensions within Spanish colonialism and the developing social order. It affords a significant new view of the development and social experience of race—in early colonial Mexico and afterward.

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Andrew Watson: The World’s First Black Football Superstar

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2016-10-22 19:19Z by Steven

Andrew Watson: The World’s First Black Football Superstar

Hansib Publications
136 pages
216 x 138 mm

Tony Talburt

Foreword by Lord Herman Ouseley

Today, seeing Black footballers playing the game at the very highest level is considered very normal. This, certainly, was not the case one hundred and forty years ago, and this is what makes the story of Andrew Watson so remarkable.

It seems hard to imagine that a Guyanese-born Black man could head the Scottish national football team in 1881 in a game against England. Not only was he captain, but he also led them to a 6-1 victory in London – an achievement that still ranks as England’s heaviest ever defeat on home soil. If this were all that Watson had been able to accomplish, most people would agree that he should be commended for being the world’s first Black person to captain a national football team. But there was so much more. He was the world’s first Black football administrator, as well as the first Black player to win three national cup winners’ trophies.

During the 1870s and 1880s, when Watson played, he was regarded as one of the finest players in Britain. The word ‘pioneer’ is often used to describe certain players, but this would certainly be a most fitting expression to encapsulate the remarkable achievements of Andrew Watson.

This book reflects upon the legend, legacy and pioneering endeavours of a truly great Black British football superstar.

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Projections of Passing: Postwar Anxieties and Hollywood Films, 1947-1960

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2016-10-13 20:34Z by Steven

Projections of Passing: Postwar Anxieties and Hollywood Films, 1947-1960

University Press of Mississippi
284 pages
40 b/w illustrations, filmography, bibliography, index
6 x 9 inches
Hardback ISBN: 9781496806277

N. Megan Kelley

How the cinematic act of passing embodied, exacerbated, and sometimes alleviated American fears

A key concern in postwar America was “who’s passing for whom?” Analyzing representations of passing in Hollywood films reveals changing cultural ideas about authenticity and identity in a country reeling from a hot war and moving towards a cold one. After World War II, passing became an important theme in Hollywood movies, one that lasted throughout the long 1950s, as it became a metaphor to express postwar anxiety.

The potent, imagined fear of passing linked the language and anxieties of identity to other postwar concerns, including cultural obsessions about threats from within. Passing created an epistemological conundrum that threatened to destabilize all forms of identity, not just the long-standing American color line separating white and black. In the imaginative fears of postwar America, identity was under siege on all fronts. Not only were there blacks passing as whites, but women were passing as men, gays passing as straight, communists passing as good Americans, Jews passing as gentiles, and even aliens passing as humans (and vice versa).

Fears about communist infiltration, invasion by aliens, collapsing gender and sexual categories, racial ambiguity, and miscegenation made their way into films that featured narratives about passing. N. Megan Kelley shows that these films transcend genre, discussing Gentleman’s Agreement, Home of the Brave, Pinky, Island in the Sun, My Son John, Invasion of the Body-Snatchers, I Married a Monster from Outer Space, Rebel without a Cause, Vertigo, All about Eve, and Johnny Guitar, among others.

Representations of passing enabled Americans to express anxieties about who they were and who they imagined their neighbors to be. By showing how pervasive the anxiety about passing was, and how it extended to virtually every facet of identity, Projections of Passing broadens the literature on passing in a fundamental way. It also opens up important counternarratives about postwar America and how the language of identity developed in this critical period of American history.

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Reaping Something New: African American Transformations of Victorian Literature

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2016-10-10 00:49Z by Steven

Reaping Something New: African American Transformations of Victorian Literature

Princeton University Press
November 2016
304 pages
6 x 9
12 line illus.
Hardcover ISBN: 9780691169453
eBook ISBN: 9781400883745

Daniel Hack, Associate Professor of English
University of Michigan

Tackling fraught but fascinating issues of cultural borrowing and appropriation, this groundbreaking book reveals that Victorian literature was put to use in African American literature and print culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in much more intricate, sustained, and imaginative ways than previously suspected. From reprinting and reframing “The Charge of the Light Brigade” in an antislavery newspaper to reimagining David Copperfield and Jane Eyre as mixed-race youths in the antebellum South, writers and editors transposed and transformed works by the leading British writers of the day to depict the lives of African Americans and advance their causes. Central figures in African American literary and intellectual history—including Frederick Douglass, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Charles Chesnutt, Pauline Hopkins, and W.E.B. Du Bois—leveraged Victorian literature and this history of engagement itself to claim a distinctive voice and construct their own literary tradition.

In bringing these transatlantic transfigurations to light, this book also provides strikingly new perspectives on both canonical and little-read works by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and other Victorian authors. The recovery of these works’ African American afterlives illuminates their formal practices and ideological commitments, and forces a reassessment of their cultural impact and political potential. Bridging the gap between African American and Victorian literary studies, Reaping Something New changes our understanding of both fields and rewrites an important chapter of literary history.

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Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2016-10-08 01:14Z by Steven

Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families

Beacon Press
216 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-080707678-1

Lori L. Tharps, Assistant Professor of Journalism
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Weaving together personal stories, history, and analysis, Same Family, Different Colors explores the myriad ways skin-color politics affect family dynamics in the United States.

Colorism and color bias—the preference for or presumed superiority of people based on the lighter color of their skin—is a pervasive but rarely openly discussed phenomenon, one that is centuries old and continues today. In Same Family, Different Colors, journalist Lori Tharps, the mother of three mixed-race children with three distinct skin colors, uses her own family as a starting point to explore how skin-color difference is dealt with in African American, Latino, Asian American, and mixed-race families and communities. Along with intimate and revealing stories and anecdotes from dozens of diverse people from across the United States, Tharps adds a historical overview and a contemporary cultural critique. Same Family, Different Colors is a solution-seeking journey to the heart of identity politics, so this more subtle “cousin to racism,” in the author’s words, will be acknowledged, understood, and debated.

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Inequality and African-American Health: How Racial Disparities Create Sickness

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2016-10-08 01:11Z by Steven

Inequality and African-American Health: How Racial Disparities Create Sickness

Policy Press
224 pages
6¾ x 9½
Cloth ISBN-13: 978-1-4473-2281-8
Paper ISBN-13: 978-1-4473-2282-5

Shirley A. Hill, Professor of Sociology
Univeristy of Kansas

This book shows how living in a highly racialized society affects health through multiple social contexts, including neighborhoods, personal and family relationships, and the medical system.

Black-white disparities in health, illness, and mortality have been widely documented, but most research has focused on single factors that produce and perpetuate those disparities, such as individual health behaviors and access to medical care.

This is the first book to offer a comprehensive perspective on health and sickness among African Americans, starting with an examination of how race has been historically constructed in the US and in the medical system and the resilience of racial ideologies and practices. Racial disparities in health reflect racial inequalities in living conditions, incarceration rates, family systems, and opportunities. These racial disparities often cut across social class boundaries and have gender-specific consequences.

Bringing together data from existing quantitative and qualitative research with new archival and interview data, this book advances research in the fields of families, race-ethnicity, and medical sociology.


  • Introduction
  • Part One: Theorizing Social Inequalities in Health
    • Race, Racism, and Sickness
    • Slavery and Freedom
  • Part Two: Health and Medicine
    • Health Behaviors in Social Context
    • Medical Care and Health Policy
  • Part Three: Health and Families
    • Economic Decline and Incarceration
    • Love, Sexuality and (Non)Marriage
    • Children’s Health
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Brown Bodies, White Babies: The Politics of Cross-Racial Surrogacy

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2016-09-29 01:41Z by Steven

Brown Bodies, White Babies: The Politics of Cross-Racial Surrogacy

New York University Press
September 2016
320 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9781479808175
Paper ISBN: 9781479894864

Laura Harrison, Assistant Professor
Department of Gender and Women’s Studies
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Brown Bodies, White Babies focuses on the practice of cross-racial gestational surrogacy, in which a woman—through in-vitro fertilization using the sperm and egg of intended parents or donors – carries a pregnancy for intended parents of a different race. Focusing on the racial differences between parents and surrogates, this book is interested in how reproductive technologies intersect with race, particularly when brown bodies produce white babies. While the potential of reproductive technologies is far from pre-determined, the ways in which these technologies are currently deployed often serve the interests of dominant groups, through the creation of white, middle-class, heteronormative families.

Laura Harrison, providing an important understanding of the work of women of color as surrogates, connects this labor to the history of racialized reproduction in the United States.  Cross-racial surrogacy is one end of a continuum in which dominant groups rely on the reproductive potential of nonwhite women, whose own reproductive desires have been historically thwarted and even demonized.  Brown Bodies, White Babies provides am interdisciplinary analysis that includes legal cases of contested surrogacy, historical examples of surrogacy as a form of racialized reproductive labor, the role of genetics in the assisted reproduction industry, and the recent turn toward reproductive tourism.  Joining the ongoing feminist debates surrounding reproduction, motherhood, race, and the body, Brown Bodies, White Babies ultimately critiques the new potentials for parenthood that put the very contours of kinship into question.

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