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.

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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.

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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…

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Attitudes toward interracial marriages and the role of interracial contacts in Sweden

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Social Science on 2016-11-23 21:29Z by Steven

Attitudes toward interracial marriages and the role of interracial contacts in Sweden

Ethnicities
Volume 16, Number 4, August 2016
pages 568-588
DOI: 10.1177/1468796816638400

Sayaka Osanami Törngren
Malmo University, Sweden; Sophia University, Japan

This paper examines attitudes toward interracial marriages and the relationship between the amount of prior interracial contact and attitudes in Sweden. The analysis is based on an anonymous postal survey conducted in Malmö, Sweden answered by 461 white-European respondents. Several studies in the US address the question of contact and attitudes and find that those who have more interracial contact, especially interracial friendships, have more positive attitudes toward intermarriage. The results show that the majority of the white European respondents can imagine marrying interracially; however, there are clear preferences toward different racial groups. Moreover, as in the US context, respondents who reported interracial friendships, and not general or superficial contacts, are more apt to answer the question about interracial marriage positively.

Read or purchase the article here.

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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
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Black Brits And Afropeans

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Europe, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-11-08 23:22Z by Steven

Black Brits And Afropeans

The Norwich Radical
2016-11-03

Candice Nembhard

The black British existence is inherently unique. It not only samples cultural flavours or practices from Africa and the Caribbean but seemingly blends those influences into standardised British behaviour. For many black children in modern Britain, the divide between our race and nationality somehow leaves a gap for white or even non-black people of colour to make assumptions as to who we are.

Our social identity is affected by colonial academic spaces and texts, and our history is overshadowed by that of the great black American struggle. Every October, our heroes are sourced further and further away from our own history and we are left unsatisfied. That’s not to say there isn’t great merit in the discussion of black Americans, nor is it to rule out the overlap. It is to simply state that ‘African-American’ does not equal ‘Afro-Caribbean’, nor does it pander to the identity of black British people.

In recent years, the discussion of political blackness has risen to the surface. In layman’s terms, the unionising of a struggle. ‘Black’ has become the pigeonhole for uniting a worldwide issue of systemic racism that falls into different structures, depending on one’s heritage and nationality. Although the concept of political blackness is understandable, its practice often eradicates the personal day-to-day hardships of being black and what is central to exhibiting positive displays of blackness. By that stripe, we have allowed the black British moniker to be represented as fighting for a history most individuals were never inaugurated into. Furthermore, these individuals are then vilified for suggesting their allegiance lies with an alternative past…

Read the entire article here.

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‘I had to sneak around trying not to be seen’ – What growing up in Ireland was like for three mixed race Irish people

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Europe, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-10-16 01:07Z by Steven

‘I had to sneak around trying not to be seen’ – What growing up in Ireland was like for three mixed race Irish people

The Irish Post
2016-10-15

Erica Doyle Higgins, Digital Reporter


(Pictures: Tracey Anderson/Getty)

FOR the first time during Black History Month, an exhibition celebrating mixed race Irish has gone on display in the London Irish Centre.

The #IAmIrish Project celebrates diversity, while opening the dialogue on being mixed race and Irish.

As part of the Project and Black History Month, three people told The Irish Post their experiences of growing up mixed race in Ireland

Read the entire article here.

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Black History Month: Lorraine Maher

Posted in Articles, Arts, Europe, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-10-14 19:48Z by Steven

Black History Month: Lorraine Maher

Camden Review: Camden’s take on the London arts scene
2016-10-13

Angela Cobbinah


Lorraine Maher

WHEN she was growing up in County Tipperary in the 1960s, Lorraine Maher (pictured) met no other black people and on the few occasions they came into her midst she would avoid them.

“I didn’t want to draw attention to myself in any way,” she says.

“I grew up in a beautiful town full of beautiful people but there was racism all around me. This was the age of the golliwog and the ‘Black Baby Box’ to collect money for starving African babies.

“I knew I was different but my blackness was never spoken about and I spent my childhood just wanting to hide away and not be noticed.”…

…It is this often painful journey to self-realisation that laid the seeds of the #iamirish exhibition she has curated for the London Irish Centre, tellingly its first ever contribution to Black History Month. Opened last week by Ruaidri Dowling on behalf of the Irish Embassy, it is a display of stunning portraits by photographer Tracey Anderson that aims to question the concept of what it looks like to be Irish…

Read the entire article here.

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‘We were the unspoken story of Ireland’

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Europe, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Videos on 2016-10-13 17:48Z by Steven

‘We were the unspoken story of Ireland’

BBC News
2016-10-13

The #IamIrish exhibition in north London explores what it means to be mixed race and Irish.

Watch the video (00:02:21) here.

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‘I shouldn’t have to defend my Irishness’ – tackling the identity struggles faced by mixed race Irish

Posted in Articles, Arts, Europe, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-10-11 00:28Z by Steven

‘I shouldn’t have to defend my Irishness’ – tackling the identity struggles faced by mixed race Irish

The Irish Post
2016-10-10

Erica Doyle Higgins, Digital Reporter


The above image of Lorraine Maher Faissal as a child is the main image of the #IAmIrish Project. (Picture: Lorraine Maher Faissal)

FOR the first time a photography exhibition celebrating mixed race Irish has gone on display in the London Irish Centre

#IAmIrish is a project founded by Lorraine Maher Faissal is running during Black History Month and features 25 photographs of mixed race Irish people.

Ms Maher Faissal says she hopes this exhibition becomes a way to celebrate diversity, and opening the dialogue on being mixed race and Irish.

“I hope this project is part of the solution in opening up dialogue in understanding and to dispel the idea that if you are from a non-white community, you are automatically an immigrant,” she said.

“ The project is a creative conversation mapping the roots, the lives and experiences of Irish people who happen to be mixed race,” Ms Maher Faissal added.

“October is Black History Month so what better time to celebrate as an Irish woman of colour than here at the London Irish Centre?” creator Lorraine Maher Faissal told The Irish Post…

Read the entire article here.

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