Theorizing Race in the Americas: Douglass, Sarmiento, Du Bois, and Vasconcelos

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, United States on 2017-04-23 18:01Z by Steven

Theorizing Race in the Americas: Douglass, Sarmiento, Du Bois, and Vasconcelos

Oxford University Press
2017-05-01
280 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0190633691

Juliet Hooker, Associate Professor of Government and African and African Diaspora Studies
University of Texas, Austin

  • The first book to simultaneously analyze U.S. African-American and Latin American political thinkers and their ideas about race.
  • Transforms understandings of prominent U.S. African-American and Latin American intellectuals through a hemispheric analysis.
  • Challenges political theory’s preoccupation with East/West comparisons by foregrounding the Americas.
  • Brings African-American and Latin American political thought into conversation and shows how each discipline was developed through transnational intellectual exchanges.
  • Maps a genealogy of racial thought in the Americas.

In 1845 two thinkers from the American hemisphere – the Argentinean statesman Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, and the fugitive ex-slave, abolitionist leader, and orator from the United States, Frederick Douglass – both published their first works. Each would become the most famous and enduring texts in what were both prolific careers, and they ensured Sarmiento and Douglass’ position as leading figures in the canon of Latin American and U.S. African-American political thought, respectively. But despite the fact that both deal directly with key political and philosophical questions in the Americas, Douglass and Sarmiento, like African-American and Latin American thought more generally, are never read alongside each other. This may be because their ideas about race differed dramatically. Sarmiento advocated the Europeanization of Latin America and espoused a virulent form of anti-indigenous racism, while Douglass opposed slavery and defended the full humanity of black persons. Still, as Juliet Hooker contends, looking at the two together allows one to chart a hemispheric intellectual geography of race that challenges political theory’s preoccupation with and assumptions about East/West comparisons, and questions the use of comparison as a tool in the production of theory and philosophy.

By juxtaposing four prominent nineteenth and twentieth-century thinkers – Frederick Douglass, Domingo F. Sarmiento, W. E. B. Du Bois, and José Vasconcelos – her book will be the first to bring African-American and Latin American political thought into conversation. Hooker stresses that Latin American and U.S. ideas about race were not developed in isolation, but grew out of transnational intellectual exchanges across the Americas. In so doing, she shows that nineteenth and twentieth-century U.S. and Latin American thinkers each looked to political models in the ‘other’ America to advance racial projects in their own countries. Reading these four intellectuals as hemispheric thinkers, Hooker foregrounds elements of their work that have been dismissed by dominant readings, and provides a crucial platform to bridge the canons of Latin American and African-American political thought.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Race Theory and Hemispheric Juxtaposition
  • Part I : Ambas Américas
    • 1. “A Black Sister to Massachusetts”: Latin America and the Fugitive Democratic Ethos of Frederick Douglass
    • 2. “Mi Patria de Pensamiento”: Sarmiento, the United States, and the Pitfalls of Comparison
  • Part II: Mestizo Futurologies
    • 3. “To See, Foresee, and Prophesy”: Du Bois’ Mulatto Fictions and Afro-Futurism
    • 4. “A Doctrine that Nourished the Hopes of the Non-White Races”: Vasconcelos, Mestizaje’s Travels, and U.S. Latino Politics
    • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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The Strange Career of William Ellis

Posted in Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Passing, Texas, United States, Videos on 2017-04-15 23:40Z by Steven

The Strange Career of William Ellis

C-SPAN
2017-04-08

Karl Jacoby talked about his book, The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire. He spoke at the 5th annual San Antonio Book Festival.

Watch the video (00:45:45) here.

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Early Afro-Brazilian Soccer Stars and the Myth of Racial Democracy

Posted in Articles, Biography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2017-04-11 01:38Z by Steven

Early Afro-Brazilian Soccer Stars and the Myth of Racial Democracy

Sport In American History
2017-03-23

Zachary R. Bigalke
Department of History
University of Oregon


Carlos Molinari, “Time do Bangu em 1905,” Bangu.net, via Ludopédio, Francisco Carregal is pictured seated front row and center in the photo.

The ideology of racial democracy cast a long shadow over twentieth-century race relations in Brazil. First popularized by influential Brazilian scholar Gilberto Freyre, this theory presumed a level racial playing field that was paradoxically dependent on the whitening of the populace. Rather than helping to drive the country toward a multiracial future, racial democracy shrouded the structural issues that remained as a legacy of Brazilian slavery.

Throughout his corpus of writings, Freyre portrayed Afro-Brazilians as sexualized Dionysian figures with a florid talent for bodily movement, expressed not only through capoeira and samba but also on the soccer pitch. Freyre used soccer as a foil for his theories of racial democracy throughout the course of his career, assigning certain attributes such as surprise, skill, cleverness, speed, and spontaneity on a racialized basis even as he tried to claim racial syncretism both in soccer and in broader society. Journalist Mario Filho furthered this discourse in his 1947 book O Negro no Futebol Brasileiro, for which Freyre wrote the introduction. Freyre and later Filho lionized certain players while glossing over others to create the myth that soccer exemplified multiracial harmony within Brazil’s racial democracy.

The career arcs of two key soccer players—Francisco Carregal in Rio de Janeiro and Arthur Friedenreich in São Paulo—offer a lens to evaluate the extent of Afro-Brazilian agency during the early decades of soccer’s growth in Brazil. The stories of their respective careers and historical representations illustrate the extent to which the myth of racial democracy was contingent on the process of whitening, in soccer’s case less through manipulation of behavioral traits and physical appearance.

To better understand these individuals and their status in Brazilian soccer as vanguards for future generations of Afro-Brazilian players, let’s look at both men through the context of their careers as well as their portrayals by Filho in his landmark text…

Read the entire article here.

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Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Mexico, Monographs, Social Science on 2017-04-10 02:11Z by Steven

Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America

Duke University Press
2017-05-05
328 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6358-3
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-6373-6
12 illustrations

Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester

Race mixture, or mestizaje, has played a critical role in the history, culture, and politics of Latin America. In Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom, Peter Wade draws on a multidisciplinary research study in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia. He shows how Latin American elites and outside observers have emphasized mixture’s democratizing potential, depicting it as a useful resource for addressing problems of racism (claiming that race mixture undoes racial difference and hierarchy), while Latin American scientists participate in this narrative with claims that genetic studies of mestizos can help isolate genetic contributors to diabetes and obesity and improve health for all. Wade argues that, in the process, genomics produces biologized versions of racialized difference within the nation and the region, but a comparative approach nuances the simple idea that highly racialized societies give rise to highly racialized genomics. Wade examines the tensions between mixture and purity, and between equality and hierarchy in liberal political orders, exploring how ideas and scientific data about genetic mixture are produced and circulate through complex networks.

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The Black/White Color Spectrum

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2017-04-07 01:38Z by Steven

The Black/White Color Spectrum

Small Axe
Volume 21, Number 1, March 2017 (No. 52)
pages 143-152

Sandra Stephens

The artist reflects on her place within the black/white color spectrum in Jamaica and the United States and looks at how she addresses both whiteness and blackness within her work. Using her piece Face of the Enemy, on the Japanese Internment, from her solo show Rationalize and Perpetuate, and her video installations Snow White Remixed and Purity, Sanctity, and Corporeality, she reflects on how race and gender are much more open in the lives of children; the questioning of the idea of “purity” and its relationship to whiteness; and visual culture and its effects on identity. She also looks at her interest in video installations and how this visual space and language challenges the audience to connect in a deeper sense to the other.

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Brazil’s New Problem With Blackness

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2017-04-06 00:55Z by Steven

Brazil’s New Problem With Blackness

Foreign Policy
2017-04-05

Cleuci de Oliveira
Brasília, Brazil

As the proudly mixed-race country grapples with its legacy of slavery, affirmative-action race tribunals are measuring skull shape and nose width to determine who counts as disadvantaged.

PELOTAS, Brazil – Late last year Fernando received news he had dreaded for months: he and 23 of his classmates had been kicked out of college. The expulsion became national news in Brazil. Fernando and his classmates may not have been publicly named (“Fernando,” in fact, is a pseudonym), but they were roundly vilified as a group. The headline run by weekly magazine CartaCapital — “White Students Expelled from University for Defrauding Affirmative Action System” — makes it clear why.

But the headline clashes with how Fernando sees himself. He identifies as pardo, or brown: a mixed-race person with black ancestry. His family has struggled with discrimination ever since his white grandfather married his black grandmother, he told me. “My grandfather was accused of soiling the family blood,” he said, and was subsequently cut out of an inheritance. So when he applied to a prestigious medical program at the Federal University of Pelotas, in the southern tip of Brazil, he took advantage of recent legislation that set aside places for black, brown, and indigenous students across the country’s public institutions.

While affirmative action policies were introduced to U.S. universities in the 1970s, Brazil didn’t begin experimenting with the concept until 2001, in part because affirmative action collided head-on with a defining feature of Brazilian identity. For much of the twentieth century, intellectual and political leaders promoted the idea that Brazil was a “racial democracy,” whose history favorably contrasted with the state-enforced segregation and violence of Jim Crow America and apartheid South Africa. “Racial democracy,” a term popularized by anthropologists in the 1940s, has long been a source of pride among Brazilians…

Read the entire article here.

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Diversity doesn’t make racism magically disappear

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2017-04-02 15:52Z by Steven

Diversity doesn’t make racism magically disappear

The Guardian
2017-04-01

Daniel José Camacho
Duke Divinity School


‘Consider Brazil. There, white people are a minority – but are still dominant.’ Photograph: Brazil Photos/LightRocket via Getty Images

Some hope that changing demographics make us destined to be post-racial. It isn’t so simple

We can’t screw our way beyond racism. Many think mixed-race babies and browner demographics will automatically usher in a post-racial world. They interpret the projections of a “majority-minority” shift in our nation – now set to take place in 2044 – as a sign of guaranteed progress. Changing faces in the US are seen as anti-racist destiny. But don’t overestimate the power of this post-racial cocktail.

Jordan Peele’s brilliant film Get Out reminds me of the importance of questioning overly optimistic narratives of racial progress. Made by someone who has been open about being biracial and married to a white women, this film creatively uses the genre of horror to depict the persistence of racism through a story about an interracial couple. In many ways, it can be seen as a strident critique of a liberal brand of racism that has blossomed in the post-Obama era…

…If more mixed people guarantee greater tolerance, then Brazil – and most of Latin America – should be a racial paradise. Although a great degree of ‘mestizaje’ or racial mixing has taken place since the time of conquest, Indigenous and Afro-descendent people in Latin America remain disproportionately poor, discriminated against, and locked out from opportunity.

Sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, in his book Racism without Racists, has speculated whether the racial order in the US might eventually resemble that of Latin American and Caribbean nations. In this case, white supremacy and racial stratification will continue to operate in the US even as it becomes a “majority-minority” nation…

Read the entire article here.

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The forgotten history of Chinese immigrants in this Mexican border town

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, United States on 2017-04-02 15:27Z by Steven

The forgotten history of Chinese immigrants in this Mexican border town

Fusion
2016-10-13

Nidhi Prakash


Erendira Mancias/FUSION

MEXICALI, MexicoMexicali has all the obvious signs of being a border town: roads pointing the way to the United States, car after car lined up at crossing points from early morning through the blistering hot day and well into the night—currency exchange places dog-earing every corner.

But there’s something about this place that sets it apart in the borderlands. You might notice it first in the Chinese restaurants dotting the streets, in the elaborate pagoda that sits at the border with Calexico, or in the doorways downtown with subtle, sometimes faded, Chinese lettering.

This dusty northern Mexican city of around 690,000 was largely developed by an often-overlooked community of Chinese immigrants, whose roots here trace back to the late 1800s. Tens of thousands of immigrants, mostly from Canton (now Guangzhou), arrived to the area between the mid–1800s and the 1940s, crossing by ship from southern China, often first to San Francisco, sometimes to other Mexican cities like Ensenada and Guadalajara, before choosing Mexicali. Many stayed for generations after and helped build this city into what’s become.

The Chinese-Mexican community here remains very much a part of Mexicali—especially downtown, a historic center of the city’s rich history. There’s a stretch of several blocks called La Chinesca which, after decades of semi-abandonment and disrepair, is seeing the beginnings of a revival as newer generations reconnect, and for some, discover for the first time, their lasting impact on Mexicali culture…

…Junior Chen, 36, is a quiet, business-like man at first, who talks animatedly when we get to the subject of his plans for downtown Mexicali, where he was born and raised. He said he’s been working on projects to try to reactivate the city center since he was 16 years old. But starting a historical tour of La Chinesca, and thinking more about his Chinese heritage (his great-grandfather came to Mexico from Canton some time in the mid–1800s) has been more recent for him.

“I have some Chinese roots, I’m mestizaje [mixed]. I’m always sincere with people who know me. To be honest I never had an interest in Chinese culture before. I never wanted to get involved in the Chinese Association. But my mother always wanted to be connected to the community, to have Chinese friends,” he told me. “But what I’m trying to say is that for me I started to get involved with all this and it changed me.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Latin American Policy Series (3): Racism and Responses to Racism in Latin America

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2017-04-02 01:15Z by Steven

Latin American Policy Series (3): Racism and Responses to Racism in Latin America

the bulletin: A Willy Brandt School Blog
2017-03-07

Arivaldo Santos de Souza

This article is a continuation of the Latin American Public Policy Series and briefly introducing the topic “Racism and Responses to Racism in Latin America”, building upon Tanya Hernández´s thoughts, whose book: “Racial Subordination in Latin America – The Role of the State, Customary Law, and the New Civil Rights Response” (Cambridge Press, 2012) which I just translated into Portuguese. This analysis seeks to intrigue Latin Americans to think more deeply about the way people of African descent in their respective countries were (and still are) mistreated based on the arguments presented by Tanya Hernandez.

Approximately 150 million people of African descent, members of one of the largest African Diasporas over time, live in Latin America. Even though, we people of African descent make up around 1/3 of total population in Latin American, members of the African diaspora make up more than 40 percent of the poor in Latin America and have been marginalized as undesirable to society since the abolition of slavery across the Americas.

The idea that “racism does not exist” is hegemonic in Latin America, despite the increasing number of black social movements across the region. The “myth of racial democracy”, which supports that the racial mixture (mestizaje in Castellano and mestiçagem in Portuguese) in a population is a symptom of racial harmony and absence of inequalities based in race is still influential even among scholars and well-educated citizens…

Read the entire article here.

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Mestizos Come Home! Making and Claiming Mexican American Identity

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Latino Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, United States on 2017-03-31 18:36Z by Steven

Mestizos Come Home! Making and Claiming Mexican American Identity

University of Oklahoma Press
2017
336 pages
Illustrations: 8 color illus.
6″ x 9″
Hardcover ISBN: 9780806157191

Robert Con Davis-Undiano, Neustadt Professor and Presidential Professor of English
University of Oklahoma

Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano has described U.S. and Latin American culture as continually hobbled by amnesia—unable, or unwilling, to remember the influence of mestizos and indigenous populations. In Mestizos Come Home! author Robert Con Davis-Undiano documents the great awakening of Mexican American and Latino culture since the 1960s that has challenged this omission in collective memory. He maps a new awareness of the United States as intrinsically connected to the broader context of the Americas. At once native and new to the American Southwest, Mexican Americans have “come home” in a profound sense: they have reasserted their right to claim that land and U.S. culture as their own.

Mestizos Come Home! explores key areas of change that Mexican Americans have brought to the United States. These areas include the recognition of mestizo identity, especially its historical development across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the re-emergence of indigenous relationships to land; and the promotion of Mesoamerican conceptions of the human body. Clarifying and bridging critical gaps in cultural history, Davis-Undiano considers important artifacts from the past and present, connecting the casta (caste) paintings of eighteenth-century Mexico to modern-day artists including John Valadez, Alma López, and Luis A. Jiménez Jr. He also examines such community celebrations as Day of the Dead, Cinco de Mayo, and lowrider car culture as examples of mestizo influence on mainstream American culture. Woven throughout is the search for meaning and understanding of mestizo identity.

A large-scale landmark account of Mexican American culture, Mestizos Come Home! shows that mestizos are essential to U.S. national culture. As an argument for social justice and a renewal of America’s democratic ideals, this book marks a historical cultural homecoming.

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