A Chosen Exile: History of Racial Passing in American Life

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2014-04-17 02:14Z by Steven

A Chosen Exile: History of Racial Passing in American Life

Harvard University Press
October 2014
350 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
26 halftones
Hardcover ISBN: 9780674368101

Allyson Hobbs, Assistant Professor of History
Stanford University

Between the eighteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, countless African Americans passed as white, leaving behind families and friends, roots and community. It was, as Allyson Hobbs writes, a chosen exile, a separation from one racial identity and the leap into another. This revelatory history of passing explores the possibilities and challenges that racial indeterminacy presented to men and women living in a country obsessed with racial distinctions. It also tells a tale of loss.

As racial relations in America have evolved so has the significance of passing. To pass as white in the antebellum South was to escape the shackles of slavery. After emancipation, many African Americans came to regard passing as a form of betrayal, a selling of one’s birthright. When the initially hopeful period of Reconstruction proved short-lived, passing became an opportunity to defy Jim Crow and strike out on one’s own.

Although black Americans who adopted white identities reaped benefits of expanded opportunity and mobility, Hobbs helps us to recognize and understand the grief, loneliness, and isolation that accompanied—and often outweighed—these rewards. By the dawning of the civil rights era, more and more racially mixed Americans felt the loss of kin and community was too much to bear, that it was time to “pass out” and embrace a black identity. Although recent decades have witnessed an increasingly multiracial society and a growing acceptance of hybridity, the problem of race and identity remains at the center of public debate and emotionally fraught personal decisions.

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Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject

Posted in Biography, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Women on 2014-04-04 18:10Z by Steven

Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject

Duke University Press
2010
344 pages
51 illustrations, incl. 18 in color
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4247-2
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-4266-3

Kirsten Pai Buick, Associate Professor of Art History
University of New Mexico

Child of the Fire is the first book-length examination of the career of the nineteenth-century artist Mary Edmonia Lewis, best known for her sculptures inspired by historical and biblical themes. Throughout this richly illustrated study, Kirsten Pai Buick investigates how Lewis and her work were perceived, and their meanings manipulated, by others and the sculptor herself. She argues against the racialist art discourse that has long cast Lewis’s sculptures as reflections of her identity as an African American and Native American woman who lived most of her life abroad. Instead, by seeking to reveal Lewis’s intentions through analyses of her career and artwork, Buick illuminates Lewis’s fraught but active participation in the creation of a distinct “American” national art, one dominated by themes of indigeneity, sentimentality, gender, and race. In so doing, she shows that the sculptor variously complicated and facilitated the dominant ideologies of the vanishing American (the notion that Native Americans were a dying race), sentimentality, and true womanhood.

Buick considers the institutions and people that supported Lewis’s career—including Oberlin College, abolitionists in Boston, and American expatriates in Italy—and she explores how their agendas affected the way they perceived and described the artist. Analyzing four of Lewis’s most popular sculptures, each created between 1866 and 1876, Buick discusses interpretations of Hiawatha in terms of the cultural impact of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha; Forever Free and Hagar in the Wilderness in light of art historians’ assumptions that artworks created by African American artists necessarily reflect African American themes; and The Death of Cleopatra in relation to broader problems of reading art as a reflection of identity.

Table of Contents

  • Illustrations
  • Preface. Framing the Problem: American Africanisms, American Indianisms, and the Processes of Art History
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. Inventing the Artist: Locating the Black and Catholic Subject
  • 2. The “Problem” of Art History’s Black Subject
  • 3. Longfellow, Lewis, and the Cultural Work of Hiawatha
  • 4. Identity, Tautology, and The Death of Cleopatra
  • Conclusion. Separate and Unequal: Toward a More Responsive and Responsible Art History
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and Media Constructed a New American

Posted in Books, Census/Demographics, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2014-04-01 01:55Z by Steven

Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and Media Constructed a New American

University of Chicago Press
March 2014
256 pages
1 halftone, 5 line drawings, 3 tables
6 x 9
Cloth ISBN: 9780226033662
Paper ISBN: 9780226033839
E-book ISBN: 9780226033976

G. Cristina Mora, Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of California, Berkeley

How did Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Cubans become known as “Hispanics” and “Latinos” in the United States? How did several distinct cultures and nationalities become portrayed as one? Cristina Mora answers both these questions and details the scope of this phenomenon in Making Hispanics. She uses an organizational lens and traces how activists, bureaucrats, and media executives in the 1970s and ’80s created a new identity category—and by doing so, permanently changed the racial and political landscape of the nation.

Some argue that these cultures are fundamentally similar and that the Spanish language is a natural basis for a unified Hispanic identity. But Mora shows very clearly that the idea of ethnic grouping was historically constructed and institutionalized in the United States. During the 1960 census, reports classified Latin American immigrants as “white,” grouping them with European Americans. Not only was this decision controversial, but also Latino activists claimed that this classification hindered their ability to portray their constituents as underrepresented minorities. Therefore, they called for a separate classification: Hispanic. Once these populations could be quantified, businesses saw opportunities and the media responded. Spanish-language television began to expand its reach to serve the now large, and newly unified, Hispanic community with news and entertainment programming. Through archival research, oral histories, and interviews, Mora reveals the broad, national-level process that led to the emergence of Hispanicity in America.

Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • List of Organizations
  • Introduction: Making Hispanics: Classification and the Politics of Ambiguity
  • One: Civil Rights, Brown Power, and the “Spanish-Speaking” Vote: The Development of the Cabinet Committee on Opportunities for Spanish Speaking People
  • Two: The Rise of a Hispanic Lobby: The National Council of La Raza
  • Three: “The Toughest Question”: The US Census Bureau and the Making of Hispanic Data
  • Four: Broadcasting Panethnicity: Univision and the Rise of Hispanic Television
  • Conclusion: The Hispanic Category and the Development of a New Identity Politics in America
  • Notes
  • Index
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Empires, Nations, and Families: A History of the North American West, 1800-1860

Posted in Books, History, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2014-04-01 01:35Z by Steven

Empires, Nations, and Families: A History of the North American West, 1800-1860

University of Nebraska Press
2011
648 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8032-2405-6

Anne F. Hyde, William R. Hochman Professor of History
Colorado College

  • Winner of the 2012 Bancroft Prize
  • 2012 Pulitzer Prize Finalist

To most people living in the West, the Louisiana Purchase made little difference: the United States was just another imperial overlord to be assessed and manipulated. This was not, as Empires, Nations, and Families makes clear, virgin wilderness discovered by virtuous Anglo entrepreneurs. Rather, the United States was a newcomer in a place already complicated by vying empires. This book documents the broad family associations that crossed national and ethnic lines and that, along with the river systems of the trans-Mississippi West, formed the basis for a global trade in furs that had operated for hundreds of years before the land became part of the United States.

Empires, Nations, and Families shows how the world of river and maritime trade effectively shifted political power away from military and diplomatic circles into the hands of local people. Tracing family stories from the Canadian North to the Spanish and Mexican borderlands and from the Pacific Coast to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, Anne F. Hyde’s narrative moves from the earliest years of the Indian trade to the Mexican War and the gold rush era. Her work reveals how, in the 1850s, immigrants to these newest regions of the United States violently wrested control from Native and other powers, and how conquest and competing demands for land and resources brought about a volatile frontier culture—not at all the peace and prosperity that the new power had promised.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • List of Maps
  • Acknowledgments: Adventures in the Land of the Dead
  • Introduction: The Geography of Empire in 1804
  • Part I: Replacing a State: The Continental Web of Family Trade
    • Chapter 1: Families and Fur: The Personal World of the Early
    • Chapter 2: Fort Vancouver’s Families: The Custom of the Country
    • Chapter 3: Three Western Places: Regional Communities
  • Part II: Americans All: The Mixed World of Indian Country
    • Chapter 4: The Early West: The Many Faces of Indian Country
    • Chapter 5: Empires in Transition: Indian Country at Midcentury, 1825–1860
  • Part III: From Nations to Nation: Imposing a State, 1840–1865
    • Chapter 6: Unintended Consequences: Families, Nations, and the Mexican War
    • Chapter 7: Border Wars: Disorder and Disaster in the 1850s
    • Chapter 8: The State and Its Handmaidens: Imposing Order
  • Epilogue: How It All Turned Out
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Read an excerpt here.

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Daughter of the Empire State: The Life of Judge Jane Bolin

Posted in Biography, Books, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2014-03-30 14:58Z by Steven

Daughter of the Empire State: The Life of Judge Jane Bolin

University of Illinois Press
December 2011
168 pages
6 x 9 in.
4 black & white photographs
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-252-03657-6
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-252-09361-6

Jacqueline A. McLeod, Associate Professor of History and African & African American Studies
Metropolitan State College of Denver

The trailblazing work of the first African American woman judge

This long overdue biography of the nation’s first African American woman judge elevates Jane Matilda Bolin to her rightful place in American history as an activist, integrationist, jurist, and outspoken public figure in the political and professional milieu of New York City before the onset of the modern Civil Rights movement.

Bolin was appointed to New York City’s domestic relations court in 1939 for the first of four ten-year terms. When she retired in 1978, her career had extended well beyond the courtroom. Drawing on archival materials as well as a meeting with Bolin in 2002, historian Jacqueline A. McLeod reveals how Bolin parlayed her judicial position to impact significant reforms of the legal and social service system in New York.

Beginning with Bolin’s childhood and educational experiences at Wellesley and Yale, Daughter of the Empire State chronicles Bolin’s relatively quick rise through the ranks of a profession that routinely excluded both women and African Americans. Deftly situating Bolin’s experiences within the history of black women lawyers and the historical context of high-achieving black New Englanders, McLeod offers a multi-layered analysis of black women’s professionalization in a segregated America.

Linking Bolin’s activist leanings and integrationist zeal to her involvement in the NAACP, McLeod analyzes Bolin’s involvement at the local level as well as her tenure on the organization’s national board of directors. An outspoken critic of the discriminatory practices of New York City’s probation department and juvenile placement facilities, Bolin also co-founded, with Eleanor Roosevelt, the Wiltwyck School for boys in upstate New York and campaigned to transform the Domestic Relations Court with her judicial colleagues. McLeod’s careful and highly readable account of these accomplishments inscribes Bolin onto the roster of important social reformers and early civil rights trailblazers.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. Her Standing in Poughkeepsie: Family Lineage and Legacy
  • 2. On Her Own: The Years at Wellesley and Yale
  • 3. Politics of Preparation: The Making of the Nation’s First African American Woman Judge
  • 4. Politics of Practice: An African American Woman Judge on the Domestic Relations Court
  • 5. Speaking Truth to Power: A View from the Benchof Judge Jane Bolin
  • 6. Persona Non Grata: Jane Bolin and the NAACP, 1931–50
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Index
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Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs on 2014-03-08 23:55Z by Steven

Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific

2Leaf Press
October 2014
300 pages
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-940939-28-5
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-940939-29-2

Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd

Dream of the Water Children, at once a haunting collective memory and a genre-bending critical account of dominance and survival, interweaves intimate multi-family details with global politics spanning generations and continents. Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd’s debut work defies categorization as histories and families are intimately connected through sociological ghosts alive in the present. It is a one-of-a-kind ‘non-fiction’ inter-disciplinary evocation that will appeal to not only those interested in Black and Asian relations and mixed-race Amerasian histories, but also a wide general audience including those interested in Asian, Asian-American, Nikkei, African-American, and mixed-race identities as well as multicultural literature, history and post-colonial memoir. Those focused on academic studies such as women and gender studies, ethnic and critical mixed-race studies, social justice curriculum, political histories, memory, feminism, and militarization, etc. will appreciate the profound questions for thought that rise up from the pages. Cloyd’s book not only challenges readers to explore technologies of violence, identity, difference, and our responsibilities to the world, it will also move readers through emotional depths.

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Mixed Experiences: Growing up mixed race – mental health and well-being

Posted in Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, Social Work, United Kingdom on 2014-02-23 19:46Z by Steven

Mixed Experiences: Growing up mixed race – mental health and well-being

National Children’s Bureau
February 2014
96 pages
ISBN: 9781909391161

Dinah Morley and Cathy Street

Mixed race is the fastest growing population group of children and young people in England and Wales. The diversity of the mixed race group’s does not allow for a one-size-fits-all assessment of needs, and this is the challenge for practitioners.

This guide offers practitioners an insight into the experiences of racism, discrimination and identity confusion that mixed race children and young people encounter. With a focus on mental health, it discusses the policy context and considers the learning from projects and local services that have targeted mixed race children, young people and families.

It will be of value to all practitioners working with children and young people, especially those in the mental health field, and also in health more generally, early years services, social care, education, youth justice and the voluntary sector.

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Identity Politics of the Captivity Narrative after 1848

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, United States on 2014-02-20 07:40Z by Steven

Identity Politics of the Captivity Narrative after 1848

University of Nebraska Press
2006
160 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8032-4400-9
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8032-2067-6

Andrea Tinnemeyer, English Teacher
The College Prepartory School, Oakland, California

Andrea Tinnemeyer’s book examines the nineteenth-century captivity narrative as a dynamic, complex genre that provided an ample medium for cultural critique, a revision of race relations, and a means of elucidating the U.S.–Mexican War’s complex and often contradictory significance in the national imagination.

The captivity narrative, as Tinnemeyer shows, addressed questions arising from the incorporation of residents in the newly annexed territory. This genre transformed its heroine from the quintessential white virgin into the Mexican maiden in order to quell anxieties over miscegenation, condone acts furthering Manifest Destiny, or otherwise romanticize the land-grabbing nature of the war and of the opportunists who traveled to the Southwest after 1848. Some of these narratives condone and even welcome interracial marriages between Mexican women and Anglo-American men.

By understanding marriage for love as an expression of free will or as a declaration of independence, texts containing interracial marriages or romanticizing the U.S.–Mexican War could politicize the nuptials and present the Anglo-American husband as a hero and rescuer. This romanticizing of annexation and cross-border marriages tended to feminize Mexico, making the country appear captive and in need of American rescue and influencing the understanding of “foreign” and “domestic” by relocating geographic and racial boundaries.

In addition to examining more conventional notions of captivity, Tinnemeyer’s book uses war song lyrics and legal cases to argue that “captivity” is a multivalenced term encompassing desire, identity formation, and variable definitions of citizenship.

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Historically Black: Imagining Community in a Black Historic District

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, United States, Virginia on 2014-02-16 21:54Z by Steven

Historically Black: Imagining Community in a Black Historic District

New York University Press
July 2014
208 pages
10 halftones
Cloth ISBN: 9780814762882
Paper ISBN: 9780814763483

Mieka Brand Polanco, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia

In Historically Black, Mieka Brand Polanco examines the concept of community in the United States: how communities are experienced and understood, the complex relationship between human beings and their social and physical landscapes—and how the term “community” is sometimes conjured to feign a cohesiveness that may not actually exist. Drawing on ethnographic and historical materials from Union, Virginia, Historically Black offers a nuanced and sensitive portrait of a federally recognized Historic District under the category “Ethnic Heritage—Black.” Since Union has been home to a racially mixed population since at least the late 19th century, calling it “historically black” poses some curious existential questions to the black residents who currently live there. Union’s identity as a “historically black community” encourages a perception of the town as a monochromatic and monohistoric landscape, effectively erasing both old-timer white residents and newcomer black residents while allowing newer white residents to take on a proud role as preservers of history. Gestures to “community” gloss an oversimplified perspective of race, history and space that conceals much of the richness (and contention) of lived reality in Union, as well as in the larger United States. They allow Americans to avoid important conversations about the complex and unfolding nature by which groups of people and social/physical landscapes are conceptualized as a single unified whole. This multi-layered, multi-textured ethnography explores a key concept, inviting public conversation about the dynamic ways in which race, space, and history inform our experiences and understanding of community.

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Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe

Posted in Biography, Books, Monographs, Women on 2014-02-15 03:52Z by Steven

Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe

Harvard University Press
April 2014
288 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
30 halftones
Hardcover ISBN: 9780674047556

Matthew Pratt Guterl, Professor of Africana studies and American studies
Brown University

Creating a sensation with her risqué nightclub act and strolls down the Champs Elysées, pet cheetah in tow, Josephine Baker lives on in popular memory as the banana-skirted siren of Jazz Age Paris. In Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe, Matthew Pratt Guterl brings out a little known side of the celebrated personality, showing how her ambitions of later years were even more daring and subversive than the youthful exploits that made her the first African American superstar.

Her performing days numbered, Baker settled down in a sixteenth-century chateau she named Les Milandes, in the south of France. Then, in 1953, she did something completely unexpected and, in the context of racially sensitive times, outrageous. Adopting twelve children from around the globe, she transformed her estate into a theme park, complete with rides, hotels, a collective farm, and singing and dancing. The main attraction was her Rainbow Tribe, the family of the future, which showcased children of all skin colors, nations, and religions living together in harmony. Les Milandes attracted an adoring public eager to spend money on a utopian vision, and to worship at the feet of Josephine, mother of the world.

Alerting readers to some of the contradictions at the heart of the Rainbow Tribe project—its undertow of child exploitation and megalomania in particular—Guterl concludes that Baker was a serious and determined activist who believed she could make a positive difference by creating a family out of the troublesome material of race.

Table of Contents

  • Prologue
  • 1. Too Busy to Die
  • 2. No More Bananas
  • 3. Citizen of the World
  • 4. Southern Muse
  • 5. Ambitious Assemblages
  • 6. French Disney
  • 7. Mother of a Wounded World
  • 8. Unraveling Plots
  • 9. Rainbow’s End
  • Epilogue
  • Abbreviations
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

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