Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Slavery on 2016-07-30 20:44Z by Steven

Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic

University of Pennsylvania Press
August 2016
304 pages
6 x 9
6 illus.
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8122-4840-1
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-8122-9306-7

Jennifer L. Palmer, Assistant Professor of History
University of Georgia

Following the stories of families who built their lives and fortunes across the Atlantic Ocean, Intimate Bonds explores how households anchored the French empire and shaped the meanings of race, slavery, and gender in the early modern period. As race-based slavery became entrenched in French laws, all household members in the French Atlantic world —regardless of their status, gender, or race—negotiated increasingly stratified legal understandings of race and gender.

Through her focus on household relationships, Jennifer L. Palmer reveals how intimacy not only led to the seemingly immutable hierarchies of the plantation system but also caused these hierarchies to collapse even before the age of Atlantic revolutions. Placing families at the center of the French Atlantic world, Palmer uses the concept of intimacy to illustrate how race, gender, and the law intersected to form a new worldview. Through analysis of personal, mercantile, and legal relationships, Intimate Bonds demonstrates that even in an era of intensifying racial stratification, slave owners and slaves, whites and people of color, men and women all adapted creatively to growing barriers, thus challenging the emerging paradigm of the nuclear family. This engagingly written history reveals that personal choices and family strategies shaped larger cultural and legal shifts in the meanings of race, slavery, family, patriarchy, and colonialism itself.

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The Dominican Racial Imaginary: Surveying the Landscape of Race and Nation in Hispaniola

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs on 2016-07-30 20:42Z by Steven

The Dominican Racial Imaginary: Surveying the Landscape of Race and Nation in Hispaniola

Rutgers University Press
November 2016
9 photographs, 2 figures, 2 maps, 8 tables, 6 x 9
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8135-8448-5
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8135-8447-8
Web PDF ISBN: 978-0-8135-8450-8
epub ISBN: 978-0-8135-8449-2

Milagros Ricourt, Associate Professor of Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies
Lehman College, The City University of New York

This book begins with a simple question: why do so many Dominicans deny the African components of their DNA, culture, and history?

Seeking answers, Milagros Ricourt uncovers a complex and often contradictory Dominican racial imaginary. Observing how Dominicans have traditionally identified in opposition to their neighbors on the island of Hispaniola—Haitians of African descent—she finds that the Dominican Republic’s social elite has long propagated a national creation myth that conceives of the Dominican as a perfect hybrid of native islanders and Spanish settlers. Yet as she pores through rare historical documents, interviews contemporary Dominicans, and recalls her own childhood memories of life on the island, Ricourt encounters persistent challenges to this myth. Through fieldwork at the Dominican-Haitian border, she gives a firsthand look at how Dominicans are resisting the official account of their national identity and instead embracing the African influence that has always been part of their cultural heritage.

Building on the work of theorists ranging from Edward Said to Édouard Glissant, this book expands our understanding of how national and racial imaginaries develop, why they persist, and how they might be subverted. As it confronts Hispaniola’s dark legacies of slavery and colonial oppression, The Dominican Racial Imaginary also delivers an inspiring message on how multicultural communities might cooperate to disrupt the enduring power of white supremacy.

Table Of Contents

  • Preface
  • Chapter 1 Introduction
  • Chapter 2 Border at the Crossroad
  • Chapter 3 The Creolization of Race
  • Chapter 4 Cimarrones: The Seed of Subversion
  • Chapter 5 Criollismo Religioso
  • Chapter 6 Race, Identity, and Nation
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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The Other California: Land, Identity, and Politics on the Mexican Borderlands

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Mexico, Monographs on 2016-07-30 20:41Z by Steven

The Other California: Land, Identity, and Politics on the Mexican Borderlands

University of California Press
January 2017
188 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780520291638

Verónica Castillo-Muñoz, Assistant Professor of History
University of California, Santa Barbara

The Other California is the story of working-class communities and how they constituted the racially and ethnically diverse social landscape of Baja California. Packed with new and transformative stories, the book examines the interplay of land reform and migratory labor on the peninsula from 1850 to 1954, as governments, foreign investors, and local communities shaped a vibrant and dynamic borderland alongside the booming cities of Tijuana, Mexicali, and Santa Rosalia. Migration and intermarriage between Mexican women and men from Asia, Europe, and the United States transformed Baja California into a multicultural society. Mixed-race families extended across national borders, forging new local communities, labor relations, and border politics.

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‘We Are All the Same, We All Are Mestizos’: Imagined Populations and Nations in Genetics Research in Colombia

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2016-07-29 20:16Z by Steven

‘We Are All the Same, We All Are Mestizos’: Imagined Populations and Nations in Genetics Research in Colombia

Science as Culture
Volume 23, Issue 2, 2014
pages 226-252
DOI: 10.1080/09505431.2013.838214

María Fernanda Olarte Sierra, Assistant Professor
Department of Design
University of the Andes, Bogotá, Colombia

Adriana Díaz Del Castillo Hernández, Independent Researcher
Consultoría en Estudios Sociales Sobre Educación, Salud, Ciencia y Tecnología, Bogotá, Colombia

In Colombia, as in other Latin American countries, current population genetics research is based on the understanding that Colombians constitute a mestizo nation, given the admixture process that took place between Africans, Amerindians, and Europeans during colonial times. The mestizo is a pervasive category used by geneticists to conduct, organise, and publish research studies that deal with the continent’s peopling process and the genetic makeup of its contemporary population(s). It is also the dominant imaginary for the Colombian population and a key nation-building ideology. By tracing how this category moves and is used across four Colombian genetics laboratories, it is possible to discern that despite its apparently clear-cut boundaries, the mestizo is contingent, contested, and flexible, allowing for multiple understandings and usages. This flexibility and multiplicity are visible in the quantification of genetic ancestry, the divisions of geographical location, and the understanding of gender. Such understandings allow one to think about a homogeneous nation (inclusive) that is simultaneously heterogeneous (exclusive); they provide multiple but not necessarily contradictory possibilities of being mestizo, allowing the coexistence of images of the nation that could otherwise seem contradictory; and they permit navigation around contested terms such as race, while simultaneously thinking of mixed races or racialised individuals. Finally, these flexible and multiple constructions of the mestizo (re)produce various subjects as ‘other’, whether they are women, the Indigenous, the black/dark, or the poor.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Nation and the Absent Presence of Race in Latin American Genomics

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Mexico on 2016-07-29 19:30Z by Steven

Nation and the Absent Presence of Race in Latin American Genomics

Current Anthropology
Volume 55, Number 5 (October 2014)
pages 497-522
DOI: 10.1086/677945

Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester

Vivette García Deister, Associate Professor
Social Studies of Science Laboratory
National Autonomous University of Mexico

Michael Kent, Honorary Research Fellow in Social Anthropology
School of Social Sciences
University of Manchester

María Fernanda Olarte Sierra, Assistant Professor
Department of Design
University of the Andes, Bogotá, Colombia

Adriana Díaz del Castillo Hernández, Independent Researcher
Consultoría en Estudios Sociales Sobre Educación, Salud, Ciencia y Tecnología, Bogotá, Colombia

Recent work on genomics and race makes the argument that concepts and categories of race are subtly reproduced in the practice of genomic science, despite the explicit rejection of race as meaningful biological reality by many geneticists. Our argument in this paper is that racialized meanings in genomics, rather than standing alone, are very often wrapped up in ideas about nation. This seems to us a rather neglected aspect in the literature about genomics and race. More specifically, we characterize race as an absent presence in Latin America and argue that genomics in the region finds a particular expression of race through concepts of nation, because this vehicle suits the deep-rooted ambiguity of race in the region. To make this argument we use data from an ethnographic project with genetics labs in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico.

Read the entire article in HTML or PDF format.

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Towards a Biopolitics of Beauty: Eugenics, Aesthetic Hierarchies and Plastic Surgery in Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science on 2016-07-29 19:05Z by Steven

Towards a Biopolitics of Beauty: Eugenics, Aesthetic Hierarchies and Plastic Surgery in Brazil

Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies: Travesia
Volume 24, Issue 4, 2015
Special Issue: Visual Culture and Violence in Contemporary Mexico
DOI: 10.1080/13569325.2015.1091296

Alvaro Jarrín, Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts

This article provides a historical and ethnographic perspective to explain the saliency of beauty within the reproduction of racial inequalities in Brazil. I argue that Brazil’s neo-Lamarckian eugenics movement was the first to craft beauty as an index of racial improvement within the nation, and this eugenic legacy undergirds many of the contemporary discourses of beautification. Plastic surgery, in particular, inherited the biopolitical aim to produce a homogeneous body politic through beautification, an aim that was easily adapted to the contemporary context of neoliberal self-improvement. Today, beauty is a technology of biopower, one which ranks the population within an aesthetic hierarchy that produces non-white facial characteristics as undesirable, and interpellates patients as responsible for their own surgical corrections, albeit with state support in the case of the poor. Thus, this article contributes to the literature that understands science and medicine as key within the history of racialization in Latin America, making explicit how biopolitics has fashioned race and beauty as inextricable and intertwined elements of social inclusion and exclusion.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Machado de Assis and Female Characterization: The Novels

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Women on 2016-07-28 00:47Z by Steven

Machado de Assis and Female Characterization: The Novels

Bucknell University Press
2015
252 pages
ISBN 9781611486209

Earl E. Fitz, Professor of Portuguese, Spanish, and Comparative Literature
Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt, Tennessee

This book examines the nature and function of the main female characters in the nine novels of Machado de Assis. The basic argument is that Machado had a particular interest in female characterization and that his fictional women became increasingly sophisticated and complex as he matured and developed as a writer and social commentator. This book argues that Machado developed, especially after 1880 (and what is usually considered the beginning of his “mature” period), a kind of anti-realistic, “new narrative,” one that presents itself as self-referential fictional artifice but one that also cultivates a keen social consciousness. The book also contends that Machado increasingly uses his female characterizations to convey this social consciousness and to show that the new Brazil that is emerging both before and after the establishment of the Brazilian Republic (1889) requires not only the emancipation of the black slaves but the emancipation of its women as well.

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A Master on the Periphery of Capitalism

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-07-28 00:36Z by Steven

A Master on the Periphery of Capitalism

Duke University Press
2001
232 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2210-8
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-2239-9

Roberto Schwarz

Translated by:

John Gledson, Emeritus Professor of Brazilian Studies
University of Liverpool

A Master on the Periphery of Capitalism is a translation (from the original Portuguese) of Roberto Schwarz’s renowned study of the work of Brazilian novelist Machado de Assis (1839–1908). A leading Brazilian theorist and author of the highly influential notion of “misplaced ideas,” Schwarz focuses his literary and cultural analysis on Machado’s The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas, which was published in 1880. Writing in the Marxist tradition, Schwarz investigates in particular how social structure gets internalized as literary form, arguing that Machado’s style replicates and reveals the deeply embedded class divisions of nineteenth-century Brazil.

Widely acknowledged as the most important novelist to have written in Latin America before 1940, Machado had a surprisingly modern style. Schwarz notes that the unprecedented wit, sarcasm, structural inventiveness, and mercurial changes of tone and subject matter found in The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas marked a crucial moment in the history of Latin American literature. He argues that Machado’s vanguard narrative reflects the Brazilian owner class and its peculiar status in both national and international contexts, and shows why this novel’s success was no accident. The author was able to confront some of the most prestigious ideologies of the nineteenth century with some uncomfortable truths, not the least of which was that slavery remained the basis of the Brazilian economy.

A Master on the Periphery of Capitalism will appeal to those with interests in Latin American literature, nineteenth century history, and Marxist literary theory.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction / John Gledson
  • Preface
  • 1. Initial Observations
  • 2. A Formal Principle
  • 3. The Practical Matrix
  • 4. Some Implications of the Prose
  • 5. The Social Aspect of the Narrator and the Plot
  • 6. The Fate of the Poor
  • 7. The Rich on Their Own
  • 8. The Role of Ideas
  • 9. Questions of Form
  • 10. Literary Accumulation in a Periferal Country
  • Notes
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Daniel, G. Reginald. Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State UP, 2012. Print. [McNee Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2016-07-28 00:09Z by Steven

Daniel, G. Reginald. Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State UP, 2012. Print. [McNee Review]

ellipsis (now Journal of Lusophone Studies)
Volume 13 (2015)
pages 255-257

Malcolm K. McNee, Associate Professor of Spanish & Portuguese
Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts

G. Reginald Daniel, Machado de Assis: Multiracial Identity and the Brazilian Novelist (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012), pp. xi + 338, \$74.95, hb.

In this smart, ambitiously interdisciplinary, and exhaustively researched book, G. Reginald Daniel, Professor of Sociology at UCSB and pioneer in the study of multiracial identity and experience from a transnational perspective, considers the life and work of Machado de Assis. It is a sweeping book that draws upon the vastness of Machadian studies, in which Daniel is clearly versed, along with the sociology of race and culture, literary history and periodization, and theories of modernity and postmodernism. In  its engagement with this range of theoretical and disciplinary configurations, Daniel’s book, organized into an introduction, nine chapters, and an epilogue co-authored with Gary L. Haddow, is in some senses two books in one, each with a distinct yet analogous argument. Each line of inquiry results in a significant and original contribution to Machadian studies. Combined, they position Daniel’s book as the most thorough English-language treatment of the Brazilian writer’s life and work since John Gledson’s translation of Roberto Schwarz’s A Master on the Periphery of Capitalism (Duke UP, 2001). Standing along with Earl Fitz’s Machado de Assis and Female Characterization (Bucknell UP, 2014), and a welcome round of new translations, Daniel’s book will help to reinvigorate and deepen Machado’s reception among English-language readers and his stature among the major figures of world literature…

Read the entire review here.

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The Deceptive Realism of Machado de Assis. A Dissenting Interpretation of Dom Casmurro

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-07-27 20:11Z by Steven

The Deceptive Realism of Machado de Assis. A Dissenting Interpretation of Dom Casmurro

Francis Cairns Publications
1984
215 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-905205-19-9

John Gledson, Emeritus Professor of Brazilian Studies
University of Liverpool

The Brazilian Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1839, is regarded as the greatest Latin-American novelist of the nineteenth century. Dom Casmurro (1899) is one of his most important works. Its narrator, Bento, who is also its central character, sets out to convince the reader, on insufficient grounds, of the adultery of his wife, Capitu. The complexity and irony which results from this mode of presentation have led critics to see Dom Casmurro as a precursor of the fictional experimentation of the twentieth century.

This book argues, against the critical consensus, that Machado’s work is in essence realist, and that Dom Casmurro in particular offers a coherent and disenchanted vision of Brazilian society in the reign of Pedro II. Slavery, the “religious question”, the relationship between traditional values and developing capitalism, even the Paraguayan War – all lie ominously concealed in the background to the domestic history of Bento and Capitu.

John Gledson begins his analysis of Dom Casmurro by negotiating the labyrinth of Bento’s narration; in the first chapter he shows that there is not only another possible version of the events related by Bento, but also another Bento, a sinister representative of his social class. The second chapter establishes the “true” plot of the novel, drawing its origins both from Machado’s earlier fiction and from the patriarchal and paternalistic society of the period. Chapters three and four explain how various key episodes must be allegorically understood as part of Machado’s vision of the politics and ideology of the Second Reign. The concluding chapter, summing up the main strands of the argument, points out that the habits of thought which govern the narration are also those which govern the class and society to which Bento belongs.

The argument throughout is supported by extensive quotations from the Portuguese, with English translation.

This study of Dom Casmurro lays the basis for a more “realistic” and comprehensive understanding of a major novelist. It has important implications for the general study of the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century novel, as well as for the history of Brazilian and Latin-American literature.

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