“Marrying Out” for Love: Women’s Narratives of Polygyny and Alternative Marriage Choices in Contemporary Senegal

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Media Archive, Women on 2016-04-25 14:50Z by Steven

“Marrying Out” for Love: Women’s Narratives of Polygyny and Alternative Marriage Choices in Contemporary Senegal

African Studies Review
Volume 59, Number 1, April 2016
pages 155-174

Hélène Neveu Kringelbach, Lecturer in African Studies
University College London

This article examines the ways in which childhood and youth experiences of living in polygynous households shape the aspirations of middle-class Muslim Senegalese women to companionate marriage. Increasingly, such aspirations are fulfilled through marriage with European men. In contrast to an enduring popular discourse according to which women live happily with polygyny throughout the Senegambian region, this article shows how some middle-class women’s choice to “marry out” is explicitly linked to family narratives and personal experiences of suffering. In a context in which many of these women face strong familial opposition to marriage with non-Muslim European men, this article suggests that the women’s narratives provide moral legitimacy to their “alternative” choices.

Cet article examine comment et de quelles manières les expériences des enfants et des jeunes qui vivent dans des ménages polygames, façonnent les aspirations des femmes sénégalaises musulmanes de la classe moyenne au mariage de compagnonnage. De plus en plus, de telles aspirations sont satisfaites par le mariage avec des hommes européens. Contrairement à un discours populaire qui perdure selon lequel les femmes vivent heureuses dans la polygynie dans toute la région de Sénégambie, cet article montre comment le choix de certaines femmes de la classe moyenne à «se marier en dehors» est explicitement lié à des récits de famille et des expériences de souffrances personnelles. Cet article suggère que les récits des femmes assurent la légitimité morale à leurs choix “alternatifs” dans un contexte où beaucoup d’entre elles font face à une forte opposition familiale au mariage avec des hommes européens non-musulmans.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Color Lines: Sex, Race, and Body Politics in Pre/Colonial Ghana

Posted in Africa, History, Live Events, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2016-04-25 14:30Z by Steven

Color Lines: Sex, Race, and Body Politics in Pre/Colonial Ghana

Indiana University, Bloomington
Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society
Schuessler Institute for Social Research
1022 E. 3rd Street
Maple Room, IMU
Bloomington, Indiana 47405
Thursday, 2016-04-28, 16:00-17:30 EDT (Local Time)

Carina Ray, Associate Professor of African and Afro- American Studies
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

CRRES Speaker Series, Spring 2016

Drawing on her recently published book about interracial sexual relationships in colonial Ghana and her new research on how indigenous historical actors in this region of West Africa have thought about and constructed blackness as a symbolic, somatic, and political signifier, Ray’s talk explores how race catalyzed social and political change even in areas of Africa without large settler colonial populations. Centering Ghana in her talk Ray argues that race, rather than ethnicity alone, has powerfully shaped the historical landscape of a continent that has for centuries been at the heart of the West’s racializing discourses.

Carina Ray is an associate professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University. A scholar of race and sexuality; comparative colonialisms and nationalisms; migration and maritime history; and the relationship between race, ethnicity, and political power, Carina’s research is primarily focused on Ghana and its diasporas. She is the author of Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana (Ohio University Press, 2015) and co-editor of Navigating African Maritime History (with Jeremy Rich) and Darfur and the Crisis of Governance in Sudan: A Critical Reader (with Salah Hassan). Her articles have appeared in The American Historical Review, Gender and History, and Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques. Carina is currently working on her new book project, Somatic Blackness: A History of the Body and Race-Making in Ghana.

For more information, click here.

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Alumni Interview: Miranda Brawn Esq

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Law, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-04-12 01:58Z by Steven

Alumni Interview: Miranda Brawn Esq

The University of Law
Future Lawyers Network
Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom
2015-04-30

Since qualifying as a Barrister, Miranda Brawn has not looked back. Currently, Director of Legal and Transaction Management at Daiwa Capital Markets and specialising in finance, she has worked with top investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Citigroup. Passionate about promoting diversity within the profession she is patron for Black British Academics and a Board member for various diversity organisations such as the Black Cultural Archives and the City Women Network.

Do you believe there are greater challenges for women and people from ethnic backgrounds to succeed in law?

I think there are challenges for everyone regardless of their gender and race to succeed in law as it is one of the most competitive fields to enter which includes investment banking. I have managed to succeed in both of these fields, which have in the past been considered to be a male dominated industry. That said, being a female and from an ethnic background, I have proven that it is possible to overcome challenges with the right amount of drive, intelligence and determination…

Finally, tell us something about yourself that people might not know

I have a family history of law and politics where I am related to Sir Thomas Bellot, 2nd Bt. 1 (1651-1709), who studied at Oxford University, was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in 1670, succeeded to the title of 2nd Baronet Bellot in 1674 and was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Newcastle-under-Lyme from 1679 until 1681…

Read the entire interview here.

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Mystery still surrounds ‘Yellow Rose of Texas’

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Texas, United States, Women on 2016-04-11 17:19Z by Steven

Mystery still surrounds ‘Yellow Rose of Texas’

The Houston Chronicle
Houston, Texas
2016-04-01

Joe Holley, Native Texan


A statue of “Emily Morgan” by Veryl Goodnight stands amidst a garden of yellow roses in an office complex across the street from Memorial City Mall in Houston.
Photo: Joe Holley, Joe Holley/Houston Chronicle

So, what was happening in that red-and-white striped tent at about 4:30 on the afternoon of April 21, 1836? Santa Anna’s field tent at San Jacinto, that is.

Was the exhausted Mexican general in a deep daytime slumber, even as Gen. Sam Houston and his Texian army were massing for an attack just three-quarters of a mile away? That’s what Santa Anna said he was doing in a long report he presented to the Mexican government about that fateful spring day. (Actually, he said he was sleeping under a shade tree.)

Or, as Texas myth and the movies have it, was he entwined in the arms of a beautiful, young “mulatto” woman named Emily Morgan, the fabled “Yellow Rose of Texas,” and thus oblivious to the looming danger?

Of course, the latter is the spicy tale most of us would like to believe, although the intricate swirl of legend, lore and shrouded history makes it very difficult to tease out the truth. As Dallas attorney Jeff Dunn reminded me earlier this week, the Emily tale isn’t totally implausible, but with the evidence that’s been uncovered to date, there’s no way to prove it one way or the other. (Neither party took a selfie.)

Dunn, an amateur historian long interested in the Battle of San Jacinto, has researched the Emily story for 25 years. He’s as interested in how the story evolved and how it got entangled more than a century later with a popular minstrel song as he is in establishing the truth of the matter. He’ll be exploring both those issues at the annual San Jacinto Symposium next weekend here in Houston. The symposium topic is “African-Americans in Texas History from Spanish-Colonial Times to Annexation.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The ‘Human Computer’ Behind the Moon Landing Was a Black Woman

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-04-11 01:50Z by Steven

The ‘Human Computer’ Behind the Moon Landing Was a Black Woman

The Daily Beast
2016-04-07

Nathan Place


Image of Katherine Johnson at NASA Langley Research Center in 1971.

In an age of racism and sexism, Katherine Johnson broke both barriers at NASA.

She calculated the trajectory of man’s first trip to the moon, and was such an accurate mathematician that John Glenn asked her to double-check NASA’s computers. To top it off, she did it all as a black woman in the 1950s and ’60s, when women at NASA were not even invited to meetings.

And you’ve probably never heard of her.

Meet Katherine Johnson, the African-American woman who earned the nickname “the human computer” at NASA during its space race golden age…

Read the entire article here.

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The SRB Interview: Jackie Kay

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-04-11 01:33Z by Steven

The SRB Interview: Jackie Kay

Scottish Review of Books
Volume 11, Issue 3 (2016)

Opening one of Jackie Kay’s books is like walking into a busy metropolitan bar that has accommodated within its walls the deep past, character and charm of a country pub. You know you will encounter stories comic and sad, that you will never leave thirsty, and that the mind will feel renewed with the spirit, musicality and colour of life. Kay was born in Edinburgh in 1961 to a Nigerian father and a Scottish mother. She was adopted at birth by Helen and John Kay, who lived, and still live, in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow. Helen was a primary school teacher who was also secretary of the Scottish peace movement and John worked full time for The Communist Party. When Kay was pregnant with her son Matthew she started a search for her birth parents, and this long experience, along with her Scottish upbringing, is recounted in her memoir Red Dust Road (2010). Kay’s writing style is as varied and vivid as her life, and her ability to inhabit voices and capture them on the page was demonstrated in her first poetry collection, The Adoption Papers (1991). It incorporated themes still prevalent in her work today: ‘what is identity? Is identity a shifting, fluid thing? How much are we made up by genes, and how much by stories? How much is it possible to escape the constraints of our own DNA and invent ourselves? How much does love define us, and make things possible? Does being loved change the shape of your face, or change the look in your eyes, or change your voice, or your body?’

Kay’s output is too prolific to give but a précis. Her second poetry book, Other Lovers (1993), explored the impact of colonialism and slavery on black culture, and it was a topic she returned to in her play The Lamplighter (2008). She has a written a sequence of poems about Bessie Smith, and she also wrote a biographical portrait of the great blues singer, which was published in 1997. Jazz and blues have been a lifelong love, and her novel Trumpet (1998), republished this year as a Picador classic, is about a jazz musician called Joss Moody. Upon his death, the trumpet player is found to have been a woman, and the novel refracts Moody’s life through the lens of those who knew him and the media eye. Kay’s short story collections include Why Don’t You Stop Talking (2002) and Reality, Reality (2012). Her most recent poetry collections are Fiere (2011) and the pamphlet The Empathetic Store, published in 2015 by Mariscat Press. In progress is a new novel, Bystander.

Kay has lived in Manchester for the last twenty years, although she has said ‘in my mind I also live in Scotland’, and frequently is at home in Glasgow seeing her parents. Nick Major met Kay in HOME, a new arts centre and theatre space near Manchester’s old industrial centre. They sat in the upstairs restaurant beside tall glass windows that afforded a view of the sun. The room was baked in a heat that defied the cold winter’s day outside. They had a long afternoon lunch, punctuated with coffee to keep the mind fresh. The clatter of other lives, other lunches, was all around them. Small in stature, large in mind, she was wearing a red jumper that matched the city’s prevailing colour, and two silver discs hung from her ears, shimmering in the light. Kay is a fast talker, and often spoke in long looping sentences that circled every subject, always prodding and poking at it in a search for a newer, clearer understanding. As this edition of the Scottish Review of Books went to press she was appointed our new Makar.

The Scottish Review of Books: You’ve lived in Manchester for many years now, but do you still think of Glasgow as home?

Jackie Kay: I think of Glasgow as my home in the many ways that a person can think of a home. My parents live in exactly the same house I grew up in. Nobody’s been in that house except our family. It’s a Lawrence house. But Glasgow as a city is a spiritual home, and I love the robust energy of the place and all the contradictions. It’s a city of doubles and amazing contrasts. It often gets less attention because Edinburgh is like a beautiful twin sister, but Glasgow is beautiful in its own different way. It is a city that can still surprise you; you can keep getting to know it because it keeps on changing…

Read the entire interview here.

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Misty Copeland Opens Up About ‘Lack of Diversity’ in Ballet World

Posted in Arts, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Women on 2016-04-11 01:08Z by Steven

Misty Copeland Opens Up About ‘Lack of Diversity’ in Ballet World

Variety
2016-04-09

Misty Copeland spoke from the heart at Variety’s third annual Power of Women New York event about her journey “from living in a motel to dancing on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House.”

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Sanctioning Matrimony: Interethnic Marriage in the Arizona Borderlands

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, United States, Women on 2016-04-05 02:48Z by Steven

Sanctioning Matrimony: Interethnic Marriage in the Arizona Borderlands

University of Arizona Press
2016-03-31
256 pages
6.00 x 9.00
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8165-3237-7

Sal Acosta, Assistant Professor of History
Fordham University

A new look at race and ethnicity in the borderlands

Marriage, divorce, birth, baptism, and census records are the essential records of a community. Through them we see who marries, who divorces, and how many children are born. Sal Acosdta has studied a broad base of these vital records to produce the largest quantitative study of intermarriage of any group in the West. Sanctioning Matrimony examines intermarriage in the Tucson area between 1860 and 1930. Unlike previous studies on intermarriage, this book examines not only intermarriages of Mexicans with whites but also their unions with blacks and Chinese.

Following the Treaty of Mesilla (1853), interethnic relationships played a significant part in the Southwest. Acosta provides previously unseen archival research on the scope and tenor of interracial marriages in Arizona. Contending that scholarship on intermarriage has focused on the upper classes, Acosta takes us into the world of the working and lower classes and illuminates how church and state shaped the behavior of participants in interracial unions.

Marriage practices in Tucson reveal that Mexican women were pivotal in shaping family and social life between 1854 and 1930. Virtually all intermarriages before 1900 were, according to Acosta, between Mexican women and white men, or between Mexican women and blacks or Chinese until the 1920s, illustrating the importance of these women during the transformation of Tucson from a Mexican pueblo to an American town.

Acosta’s deep analysis of vital records, census data, and miscegenation laws in Arizona demonstrates how interethnic relationships benefited from and extended the racial fluidity of the Arizona borderlands.

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Book Review: Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana by Carina Ray

Posted in Africa, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-04-04 00:09Z by Steven

Book Review: Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana by Carina Ray

Africa at LSE
London School of Economics
2016-03-18

Yovanka Perdigao

Yovanka Perdigao praises Crossing the Color Line:Race, Sex and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana for dismantling preconceptions of interracial couples in colonial Ghana.

Carina E Ray’s first book Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana both surprises and delights its readers as it navigates through the lives and politics of interracial couples in Britain and Ghana. It explores how such interracial relationships from precolonial to post-independent Ghana had an enormous impact in the making of modern Britain and Ghana.

The book highlights the evolving attitudes of both British and Ghanaian societies, and how each sought to negotiate these relationships. Despite one being familiar with the topics at hand, one is left surprised as the author explores the micro politics of disciplinary cases against colonial officers who challenged the British Crown by keeping local women; to the making of transatlantic networks in the eve of Ghanaian independence…

Read the entire reveiw here.

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‘The Firebrand and the First Lady,’ by Patricia Bell-Scott

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-04-03 02:40Z by Steven

‘The Firebrand and the First Lady,’ by Patricia Bell-Scott

Sunday Book Review
The New York Times
2016-02-19

Irin Carmon


Pauli Murray, in 1946, and Eleanor Roosevelt, circa 1943. Credit Left, Bettmann/Corbis; right, Stock Montage/Getty Images

Patricia Bell-Scott, The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016)

The February 1953 issue of Ebony included an article entitled “Some of My Best Friends Are Negroes.” The byline was Eleanor Roosevelt’s, though the headline, apparently, was not. “One of my finest young friends is a charming woman lawyer — Pauli Murray, who has been quite a firebrand at times but of whom I am very fond,” Roosevelt wrote. “She is a lovely person who has struggled and come through very well.” Indeed, nothing was ever easy for Murray, a black woman born in 1910, a woman attracted to women and also a poet, memoirist, lawyer, activist and Episcopal priest. But her tender friendship with Roosevelt, sustained over nearly a quarter-century and more than 300 cards and letters, helped. It is the rich earth Patricia Bell-Scott tills for “The Firebrand and the First Lady,” a tremendous book that has been 20 years in the making.

You could say Pauli Murray was born too soon, and saying so captures the essential injustice of her life, but it would also rob her of credit for making her own time the best she could. “I’m really a submerged writer,” Murray once told her friends, “but the exigencies of the period have driven me into social action.” The granddaughter of a woman born into slavery and a mixed-race Union soldier, Murray was arrested for refusing to sit in the colored section of a bus 15 years before the Montgomery bus boycott and for participating in restaurant sit-ins in the early 1940s, long before the 1960 sit-ins at Woolworth’s lunch counter. She led a national campaign on behalf of a black sharecropper on death row…

Read the entire review here.

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