Black Autonomy: Race, Gender, and Afro-Nicaraguan Activism

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Social Science on 2016-12-03 22:58Z by Steven

Black Autonomy: Race, Gender, and Afro-Nicaraguan Activism

Stanford University Press
2016-11-30
248 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9780804799560
Paper ISBN: 9781503600546

Jennifer Goett, Associate Professor of Comparative Cultures and Politics
James Madison College, Michigan State University

Decades after the first multicultural reforms were introduced in Latin America, Afrodescendant people from the region are still disproportionately impoverished, underserved, policed, and incarcerated. In Nicaragua, Afrodescendants have mobilized to confront this state of siege through the politics of black autonomy. For women and men grappling with postwar violence, black autonomy has its own cultural meanings as a political aspiration and a way of crafting selfhood and solidarity.

Jennifer Goett’s ethnography examines the race and gender politics of activism for autonomous rights in an Afrodescedant Creole community in Nicaragua. Weaving together fifteen years of research, Black Autonomy follows this community-based movement from its inception in the late 1990s to its realization as an autonomous territory in 2009 and beyond. Goett argues that despite significant gains in multicultural recognition, Afro-Nicaraguan Creoles continue to grapple with the day-to-day violence of capitalist intensification, racialized policing, and drug war militarization in their territories. Activists have responded by adopting a politics of autonomy based on race pride, territoriality, self-determination, and self-defense. Black Autonomy shows how this political radicalism is rooted in African diasporic identification and gendered cultural practices that women and men use to assert control over their bodies, labor, and spaces in an atmosphere of violence.

Tags: , , ,

Patrick Wolfe: Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race

Posted in Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Oceania, United States on 2016-12-01 02:24Z by Steven

Patrick Wolfe: Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race

New Books Network
2016-11-07

Lynette Russell, Professor
Monash University, Australia

Aziz Rana, Professor of Law
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Widely known for his pioneering work in the field of settler colonial studies, Patrick Wolfe advanced the theory that settler colonialism was, “a structure, not an event.” In early 2016, Wolfe deepened this analysis through his most recent book, Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race (Verso Books, 2016) which takes a comparative approach to five cases in: Australia, Brazil, Europe, North America, and Palestine/Israel. Just as settler colonialism grew through institutionalized structures of Indigenous elimination, categorical notions of race grew through purpose-driven (and context-specific) exploitation, classification and separation. In Traces of History, the machinery and genealogy of race are as present in land relations as they are in legal precedents.

Wolfe ties together a transnational pattern of labor substitution and slavery, Indigenous land dispossession, and the inception of racial categories which continue to normalize these historical processes into the present. While the Indigenous/settler relationship is binary across societies, Wolfe posits, the seemingly fixed concepts of race it produces are, actually, widely varied. Bearing strong threads of influence by Said, DuBois, Marx, and countless Indigenous and Aboriginal scholars, Wolfe lays down a model for drawing connections across these cases, while simultaneously acknowledging that as with any ongoing process, there remain pathways for optimism and change.

Patrick Wolfe passed away in February 2016 shortly after the publication of Traces of History. The following interview is with Dr. Lynette Russell and Dr. Aziz Rana, two of Wolfe’s many colleagues and thought partners both impacted by and familiar with his work. Prompted by the release of Traces of History and Wolfe’s untimely passing soon after, the interview recorded here engages the book as a platform for broader discussion about the substance of Wolfe’s intellectual pursuits, integrity, commitments and the creativity and challenges borne of them…

Listen to the interview (00:48:39) here. Download the interview here.

Tags: , , ,

Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Oceania, United States on 2016-12-01 00:12Z by Steven

Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race

Verso Books
January 2016
306 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781781689172
Hardback ISBN: 9781781689165
Ebook ISBN: 9781781689196

Patrick Wolfe

Traces of History presents a new approach to race and to comparative colonial studies. Bringing a historical perspective to bear on the regimes of race that colonizers have sought to impose on Aboriginal people in Australia, on Blacks and Native Americans in the United States, on Ashkenazi Jews in Western Europe, on Arab Jews in Israel/Palestine, and on people of African descent in Brazil, this book shows how race marks and reproduces the different relationships of inequality into which Europeans have coopted subaltern populations: territorial dispossession, enslavement, confinement, assimilation, and removal.

Charting the different modes of domination that engender specific regimes of race and the strategies of anti-colonial resistance they entail, the book powerfully argues for cross-racial solidarities that respect these historical differences.

Tags: , , , ,

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

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Mexico, Monographs on 2016-11-27 15:29Z 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.

Tags: , ,

Blackness, Science, and Circulation of Knowledge in the Eighteenth-Century Luso-Brazilian World and the United States

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-11-26 21:54Z by Steven

Blackness, Science, and Circulation of Knowledge in the Eighteenth-Century Luso-Brazilian World and the United States

The Eighteenth Century
Volume 57, Number 3, Fall 2016
pages 303-324
DOI: 10.1353/ecy.2016.0020

Bruno Carvalho, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese
Princeton University

It has become increasingly common for scholars to locate the eighteenth century as a turning point in what Nell Irvin Painter calls the “now familiar equation that converts race to black and black to slave.” Recent studies explore how scientific racism, which flourished in the nineteenth century, emerges in debates involving Enlightenment savants like Voltaire, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and several less prominent authors. European anatomists, natural historians, and philosophers devised racial classification schemata, frequently relying on erroneous travel narratives as their main source of knowledge. The voices of “non-whites” are predictably muted in debates that took place almost exclusively among Europeans, but that also included well-connected North Americans, chief among them Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826). Although “race”—by no means a stable concept in the eighteenth century—included myriad categories besides “blackness,” this article will discuss how intellectuals in the Americas wrote about black Africans and their descendants in the context of Enlightenment-era science.

Given how the Portuguese and British Americas received the majority of Africans taken to the New World as slaves, it is not surprising that there is a longstanding tradition of comparative approaches to racial relations in Brazil and the United States. Sparse attention, however, has been paid to how the transatlantic circulation of eighteenth-century scientific discourses, especially in natural history, might have impacted the later development of different forms of racism across the hemisphere. This study brings to the fore texts from the Luso-Brazilian world that have been largely overlooked, and aims to add to the vast literature on Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia (1781). Although the analysis here does not pretend to be comprehensive or exhaustive, by investigating connections between a group of would-be revolutionaries in the Brazilian captaincy of Minas Gerais and the United States independence movement, it attempts to be connective as much as comparative. This hemispheric approach evinces the disparate roles and station of Luso-Brazilian and United States lettered elites in transatlantic circulation of knowledge, while seeking to contribute to an understanding of how they produced divergent texts about blackness in the period preceding the French and Haitian revolutions.

The Luso-Brazilian eighteenth century has generated an outstanding body of scholarship, but it does not often appear prominently in panoramic studies of the period—despite the fact that the Portuguese empire remained one of Europe’s most extensive, and that gold from its Minas Gerais possessions had a significant impact on the global economy. Perhaps it is so because Brazil does not easily fit within the Age of Revolutions paradigm: in 1822, it was the Portuguese monarch’s son, rather than a republican revolutionary, who declared independence. Brazil was an empire through most of the nineteenth century, and became a republic in 1889, later than its Spanish-speaking neighbors. Eighteenth-century movements that might have become comparable to the United States and Haitian Revolutions were thwarted by the Crown. Likewise, although by some estimates mining in the Portuguese Americas alone propelled about ten percent of all slave trade in the eighteenth century, the Luso-Brazilian world remains largely absent from scholarship on the connections between slavery and the “Sciences of Man” during the Enlightenment: one aspect of what Charles Withers calls “geographies of human difference.”

While the historiography on slavery and race relations in the Portuguese empire has for some time been vibrant, studies on Luso-Brazilian scientific representations of race in the eighteenth century are still lacking. This might be attributed to the perception that scientific racism was a phenomenon of the nineteenth century, or that Portugal remained mired in religious obscurantism, its writers therefore not attuned to Enlightenment-era debates. Through a transatlantic lens, Brazil’s place in eighteenth-century geographies of knowledge is usually further diminished by how, unlike the British and Spanish Americas, it had neither universities nor a printing press. Nonetheless, as we well know, central books and ideas of the Enlightenment circulated among lettered elites.

In Brazil and Portugal…

Tags: , ,

Colorism And Privilege: An Afro-Cuban American In Havana

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-11-25 00:30Z by Steven

Colorism And Privilege: An Afro-Cuban American In Havana

FEM: UCLA’s Feminist Newsmagazine Since 1973
2016-04-28

Graciela Barada

My father, born in Cuba at the end of Castro’s Revolution, migrated to the United States in 1980. He was a young, black, Spanish-speaking political refugee who left his wife and months-old daughter behind in hopes of building a better life for himself. A “Marielito,” my father braved the 115-mile stretch of the Caribbean sea to Florida under President Carter’s pardon of Cuban refugees. My mother is a white Spaniard who moved to Washington, D.C. in 1989 for graduate school at Georgetown University. An unlikely couple, my parents met at my father’s Cuban nightclub, a hub for Latino culture, music, and dance. Although my siblings and I were born and raised in the U.S., we have been fortunate enough to travel to our parents’ birth countries in order to familiarize ourselves with their respective cultures…

..In Cuba, the Communist Revolution is often portrayed as the “great equalizer,” not just economically but also in respect to race relations. In many ways, this has been true: people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds have access to education, jobs, transportation, healthcare, and other social services. Regardless, there are traces of racial hierarchy and a colonialist mentality which are deeply entrenched in Cuban society. As far as I know, all of my Cuban relatives are black. The majority of them are dark-skinned; when asked, two of my male cousins expressed that they do not feel hated because of their African ancestry and darker pigmentation. Still, they are well-aware that their roles within society are informed by Cuba’s history of racial hierarchy and discrimination…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Transatlantic Obligations: Creating the Bonds of Family in Conquest-Era Peru and Spain

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-11-14 20:45Z by Steven

Transatlantic Obligations: Creating the Bonds of Family in Conquest-Era Peru and Spain

Oxford University Press
2015-12-31
264 Pages
9 illus.
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780199768578
Paperback ISBN: 9780199768585

Jane E. Mangan, Professor of History and Latin American Studies
Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina

  • The first systematic study of families in sixteenth century Peru with a transatlantic focus
  • Traces family obligations connecting Peru and Spain through dowries, bequests, legal powers, and letters

The sixteenth-century changes wrought by expansion of Spanish empire into Peru shaped the ways of being a family in colonial Peru. Even as migration, race mixture, and transculturation took place, family members fulfilled obligations to one another by adapting custom to a changing world. Family began to shift when, from the moment of their arrival in 1532, Spaniards were joined with elite indigenous women in political marriage-like alliances. Almost immediately, a generation of mestizos was born that challenged the hierarchies of colonial society. In response, the Spanish Crown began to promote the marriage of these men and the travel of Spanish women to Peru to promote good customs and even serve as surrogate parents. Other reactions came from wives in Spain who, abandoned by husbands, sought assistance to fulfill family duties. For indigenous families, the pressures of colonialism prompted migration to cities. By mid-century, the increase of Spanish migration to Peru changed the social landscape, but did not halt mixed-race marriages. The book posits that late sixteenth-century cities, specifically Lima and Arequipa, were host to indigenous and Spanish families but also to numerous ‘blended’ families borne of a process of mestizaje. In its final chapter, the legacies for the next generation reveal how Spanish fathers sometimes challenged law with custom and sentiment to establish inheritance plans for their children. By tracing family obligations connecting Peru and Spain through dowries, bequests, legal powers, and letters, Transatlantic Obligations presents a powerful call to rethink sixteenth-century definitions of family.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Matchmaking: Law, Language, and the Conquest-Era Family Tree
  • Chapter 2: Removal: For the Love and Labor of Mixed-Race Children
  • Chapter 3: Marriage: Vida Maridable in a Transatlantic Context
  • Chapter 4: Journey: Family Strategies and the Transatlantic Voyage
  • Chapter 5: Adaptation: Creating Custom in the Colonial Family
  • Chapter 6: Legacy: Recognition, Inheritance, and Law on the Transatlantic Family Tree
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Tags: , , , ,

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 2016-11-14 19:49Z by Steven

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

Duke University Press
2017
324 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.

Tags: , ,

Whitening, Mixing, Darkening, and Developing: Everything but Indigenous

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2016-11-10 00:39Z by Steven

Whitening, Mixing, Darkening, and Developing: Everything but Indigenous

Latin American Research Review
Volume 51, Number 3, 2016
pages 142-160
DOI: 10.1353/lar.2016.0038

Juliana Luna Freire, Assistant Professor of Spanish/Portuguese
Framingham State University, Framingham, Massachusetts

This article analyzes the image of Brazilian Indigenous minority groups as a figurehead in media discourse, which is based on racializing logics that celebrate historical performances of Indigeneity but minimize attention to the political activity and grassroots movements of the existing population. Using cultural studies as a starting point, this study draws on Diana Taylor’s understanding of identity and on postcolonial thinker Homi Bhabha’s theorizing on nation to conduct a reading of discourses and performances of Indigeneity as part of cultural memory. I propose an analysis of the limited scenarios allowed in this construction of a nation in Brazilian media outlets, which often claim there is political motivation for identity and are incapable of dealing with contemporary Indigenous groups. Overall, this analysis highlights the need to rethink the way we discuss ethnic identity so as to foster a larger dialogue about identity, heritage, and minority cultures in such a way that we avoid falling into a paradigm of modernization and acculturation when discussing ethnicity, and to promote better understanding of the different ongoing political and cultural movements in contemporary Brazil.

Tags: ,

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

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-11-02 19:27Z by Steven

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

Rutgers University Press
November 2016
200 pages
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
Tags: , ,