In France, a Baby Switch and a Test of a Mother’s Love

Posted in Articles, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive on 2015-02-24 22:48Z by Steven

In France, a Baby Switch and a Test of a Mother’s Love

The New York Times
2015-02-24

Maïa de la Baume

GRASSE, France — When Sophie Serrano finally held her daughter, Manon, in her arms after the newborn, suffering from jaundice, had been placed under artificial light, she was taken aback by the baby’s thick tufts of hair.

“I hadn’t noticed it before and it surprised me,” Ms. Serrano said in an interview at her home here in southern France, not far from the Côte d’Azur.

Ms. Serrano, now 39, was baffled again a year later, when she noticed that her baby’s hair had grown frizzy and that her skin color was darker than hers or her partner’s.

But her love for the child trumped any doubts. Even as her relationship unraveled, in part, she said, over her partner’s suspicions, she painstakingly looked after the baby until a paternity test more than 10 years later showed that neither she nor her partner were Manon’s biological parents. Ms. Serrano later found out that a nurse had accidentally switched babies and given them to the wrong mothers…

…Ms. Serrano’s love for Manon, she said, grew stronger after she learned that the girl was not her biological daughter. She also said that, after meeting the girl she had given birth to, she felt no particular connection with her.

“It is not the blood that makes a family,” Ms. Serrano said. “What makes a family is what we build together, what we tell each other. And I have created a wonderful bond with my nonbiological daughter.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Rhineland Children

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2015-02-02 21:34Z by Steven

Rhineland Children

Arriving In The Future: Stories of Home and Exile
2015-01-20

Asoka Esuruoso & Philipp Khabo Koepsell

Germany’s brief colonial period saw an increase in the community of Africans and Afro Germans in Germany. Many Black Germans were also descendants of Black Askari troops recruited from Germany’s former colonies. Thousands of these men had fought and died for Kaiser Wilhelm during the First World War in Germany’s East African campaign.[i]

Living within a self proclaimed “white” society with a history of misunderstanding, mistreating, and misrepresenting “People of Color,” life was never easy. This was especially so since much of the Colonial German literature at that time depicted Africa and its people in a negative light. The sexuality of African women and men was often described in white colonial literature in base, animalistic ways. In the 1800’s there were even exotic exhibitions of live human zoos[1] where African individuals[2] were displayed in recreated African villages within regular zoos and toured through major European metropolises including Hamburg and Berlin.[ii]

The end of the First World War and the occupation of the Rhineland by French soldiers, including many Afro French soldiers, resulted in the birth of another generation Afro German children that were often referred to within German society by degrading terms such as Besatzungskinder “War Babies” or RheinlandbastardRhineland Bastard.”[iii] For white German nationalists the occupation and policing of the former German colonizer by Black African solders was the final humiliation…

Read the entire article here.

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Black Germans and the Holocaust

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2015-02-02 01:04Z by Steven

Black Germans and the Holocaust

International Slavery Museum
Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
2015-01-14

The International Slavery Museum will be marking Holocaust Memorial Day on Tuesday 27 January with a special free guest lecture by Professor Eve Rosenhaft from the University of Liverpool, who will be talking about the experiences of the Black German community during the Holocaust.

Eve tells us more:

“When Hitler came to power in 1933, there were a several thousand people of African descent in Germany. They included African Americans, African-Caribbean and Africans passing through, working or recently settled, but the core of Germany’s Black community was made up of men from Germany’s former colonies – East Africa, Togo, and especially Cameroon – with their German-born wives and ‘mixed-race’ children.

This talk focuses on those families. While Hitler was still hoping to recover colonies in Africa, the Nazis hoped to make use of them for political propaganda. But ‘mixed’ families represented a particular challenge to Nazi racial policies, and in the long run they suffered exclusion, harassment, internment, and compulsory sterilisation. At the same time people’s experiences were varied and sometimes adventurous. Most individuals survived in Germany or as emigrants, thanks to support from other members of the community and from their families, though the community itself came out of World War II largely broken and scattered…

Read the entire article here.

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U.Va. Poetry Professor Rita Dove’s ‘Sonata Mulattica’ to be Adapted for Film

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Europe, Media Archive on 2015-01-25 02:44Z by Steven

U.Va. Poetry Professor Rita Dove’s ‘Sonata Mulattica’ to be Adapted for Film

UVA Today
Charlottesville, Virginia
2013-05-07

Anne E. Bromley, Associate

Little did poet Rita Dove know when she published her book, “Sonata Mulattica,” that it would go beyond rescuing from obscurity a 19th-century, Afro-European violin virtuoso named George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower.

Now that book of poems and a play-in-verse penned by Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English in the University of Virginia’s College of Arts & Sciences, is becoming the subject of a documentary not only about Dove writing about Bridgetower, but also featuring the contemporary story of African-American violin virtuoso and composer Joshua Coyne.

The National Endowment for the Arts recently awarded nonprofit Stone Soup Productions an Art Works grant to help the film company, Spark Media, produce the feature-length documentary, also to be named “Sonata Mulattica.”…

Read the entire article here.

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A True History Full of Romance: Mixed marriages and ethnic identity in Dutch art, news media, and popular culture (1883–1955) by Marga Altena (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, History on 2015-01-14 20:46Z by Steven

A True History Full of Romance: Mixed marriages and ethnic identity in Dutch art, news media, and popular culture (1883–1955) by Marga Altena (review)

Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History
Volume 15, Number 3, Winter 2014
DOI: 10.1353/cch.2014.0039

Eveline Buchheim, Researcher
NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Altena, Marga, A True History Full of Romance: Mixed Marriages and Ethnic Identity in Dutch Art, News Media, and Popular Culture (1883-1955) (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2012).

Even before the Second World War, cases of interracial unions had been recorded in the Netherlands, but the greater part of the Dutch public in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries still considered these bonds extraordinary. If the possibility of such unions crossed the minds of common Dutch citizens at all, they were mainly associated with colonial life in the Dutch East Indies. Although certainly not unambiguous aspects of colonial life, mixed unions were part and parcel of the Dutch colonial experience. Even in this colonial context, however, unions of White women with Indigenous men were extremely unusual. A European woman who entered such a marriage excluded herself from the community of Europeans. In the Netherlands itself, the term “mixed marriages” was used during this period primarily to refer to unions either outside the individual’s social class or with spouses of a different religious background, an important distinguishing feature in strongly “pillarized” Dutch society. In her book, Altena presents three cases of Dutch White women who, against all odds, married men of color. They did so in a period when it was still quite unusual and—perhaps as a result of this uniqueness—all three of the analyzed marriages figured prominently in the news. The unions were also represented in other cultural media expressions such as fiction. This gives Altena the opportunity to analyze how ethnic identity was constructed in Dutch media from various angles.

Altena’s first case concerns the marriage of Frederick Taen, the son of a Chinese father and an English mother, to the Dutch woman Mia Cuypers. It is interesting to note that Taen’s partial European roots were apparently completely lost in the public representation. Was this something Taen did on purpose? He might have deemed Chinese roots favorable for his business trade. Cuypers was the daughter of a famous Dutch architect, P.J.H. Cuypers, known among other works for building the Rijksmuseum. The artistic background of the bride and the affluence of the groom made the union interesting enough to be represented in several instances of cultural expression. Mia Cuypers was a special woman in other respects as well; she went against the grain multiple times, first by marrying Frederick Taen, then by divorcing him, and, later, by not totally denying the misalliance.

The second case is the marriage of Johanna van Dommelen and Angus Montour (Twanietanekan), also known as American Horse, in 1906, the bride an unmarried mother from The Hague, the groom a Mohawk widower from eastern Canada. Altena analyzes the press coverage in both countries. She makes it very clear that for both the bride and the groom their union had several advantages, and shows how they used the media attention to improve their lives.

The last case that Altena describes is that of the marriage between Marie Borchert and Joseph Sylvester in 1928, in the town of Hengelo. Borchert was the daughter of a well-to-do local family, Sylvester a salesman and entertainer. This couple clearly orchestrated their public performance. This is understandable partly because of how Sylvester earned a living. The case gets really interesting when Altena recalls how the couple used press coverage to raise awareness among their fellow citizens about the use of Black stereotypes.

By analyzing the three marriages on the basis of how they figured in the public domain, Altena wanted to investigate the representation of ethnic identity in Dutch culture between 1883 and 1955. Altena’s period of research seems rather arbitrary, and primarily relates to events in the personal lives of the three couples. Taen and Cuypers met in 1883 at the International Colonial and Export Trade Exhibition in Amsterdam. The year 1955 marks Joseph Sylvester’s death. In her analysis, Altena focuses on the micro-histories and does not pay much attention to the influence of the spirit of the age under investigation. Her paragraph on the historical and sociocultural context provides a broad outline, but does not really elaborate on the appraisal or disapproval of foreigners in relation to larger historical events. There is no special attention paid to the changing colonial relationship between the Dutch East Indies and the Netherlands of the late nineteenth and early…

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CMRS Mixed-Race Irish Film Keynote Links

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Media Archive, Videos on 2015-01-12 20:56Z by Steven

CMRS Mixed-Race Irish Film Keynote Links

Mixed Roots Stories
2015-01-11

Zélie Asava, Lecturer and Joint-Programme Director of Video and Film
Dundalk Institute of Technology, Louth, Ireland

Following my keynote on mixed representations in contemporary Irish cinema and television at the 2014 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, here are some links to the films discussed…

View all of the keynote links here.

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Reflections on Black German History

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2015-01-12 15:30Z by Steven

Reflections on Black German History

Arriving In The Future: Black German Stories of Home and Exile
2015-01-10

Asoka Esuruoso & Philipp Khabo Koepsell

“Unsere Geschichte nicht erst nach 1945 begann. Vor unseren Augen stand unsere Vergangenhait, die eng verknupft ist mit der kolonialien und nationalsozialistischen deutschen Geschichte.” Our history did not begin after 1945. Before our eyes stands our past, closely bound with colonial and national socialist German history.

–Farbe bekennen: Afro-deutsche Fraunen auf den Spuren ihrer Geschichte (Showing Our Colors: Afro German Women Speak Out)

For centuries people of African descent have been born and raised in Germany. The Black experience in Germany has been documented for over 300 years with the first known research on the African experience in Germany presented in Latin by the West African scholar Anton Wilhelm Amo, in his dissertation “The Rights of Moors in Europe” (De jure Mauro in Europa) written in 1729. He was a Ghanaian brought to Germany in 1703 ‘as a present’ form the Dutch West India Company to count Anton Ulrich von Wolfenbuttel. The count despite all expectations would eventually send Amo to the University of Halle to receive and education in Enlightenment philosophy where Amo would later teach before being appointed a member of the State Council of the Prussian crown by Fredrick William I. Amo was not alone. There are records of Black African legions being brought to Germany by Julius Caesar. Many Africans were shipped to Germany as “tokens” by German merchants during the Middle Ages. More would arrive during Germany’s colonial period, many of their own independent agency as the son’s of wealthy and powerful African families. French African solders would be stationed on German soil after the First World War only to be followed by the African American solders who would be stationed there after the Second. Students from the African Diaspora would study at German Universities. Countless refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants, professors, academics, scientists, artists, writers, workers, performers, and more, much more from the African Diaspora would come to live, work, study, and be born upon Germany’s soil. Yet despite their presence Afro German stories are still unnoticed within Germany’s dominant society and literature and stereotypical clichés continue to dominate images of the Black Diaspora within greater German society…

Read the entire article here.

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Section of Creative Media lecturer to speak at Global Mixed Race conference in Chicago

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-01-03 16:25Z by Steven

Section of Creative Media lecturer to speak at Global Mixed Race conference in Chicago

Dundalk Institute of Technology
Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland
2014-11-10

Kathryn Moley
Communications Office

Dundalk Institute of Technology is incredibly proud to announce that Joint Programme Director of Video and Film in the Institute, Zélie Asava, is travelling to Chicago, to participate in a ‘Global Mixed Race’ conference.

The conference will be held at DePaul University’s Lincoln Park Campus and will focus on critical mixed race studies with discussions by scholars, filmmakers and performers at this international conference across November 13th-15th. The DkIT lecturer will join nearly two hundred presenters from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan and Australia who will participate in 45 panels during this third biennial conference, which was founded in 2010…

Read the entire article here. Watch the keynote address here.

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Dr. Rebecca King O’Riain gives opening keynote address

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Social Science, Videos on 2015-01-02 21:16Z by Steven

Dr. Rebecca King O’Riain gives opening keynote address

Maynooth University
Maynooth University Department of Sociology
Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland
2014-11-27

Dr. Rebecca King-O’Riain gave the opening keynote address on “mixed race, transconnectivity and the global imagination” at the critical mixed race studies conference on 13 November, 2014 at DePaul, University on Chicago, USA.

Her talk examined two key questions – ‘Is there such a thing as Global Mixed Race? If so, what is it, where did it come from and is it a good thing?’. Below is the abstract for her talk.

If race gains meaning through the process of racialization, this meaning only makes sense within very specific local contexts entwined with complex local histories, which in turn shape local political, economic and social arrangements. Mixed-race studies started primarily in the United States and has been deeply shaped by the politics of race in that context, with strong racial boundaries and the legacy of the ‘one drop rule’. How then do we make sense of mixed race as a global phenomenon across the globe without losing the specificity of local context from which it derives its meaning?

Drawing on our recent edited volume Global Mixed Race, I use empirical research from Kazakhstan, Okinawa, Zambia, Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico, as well as the UK, Germany, and Canada, to ask what happens when we take mixed race on the road? Because as Mahtani (2014) keenly observes, it is not just about asking ‘what are you?’ but also about asking ‘where (in the world) are you?’…

Read the entire article here watch the keynote here. [MixedRaceStuides.org is mentioned from 00:35:41 to 00:36:07 in the video].

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Ming Wong’s Imitations

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing on 2014-12-20 17:59Z by Steven

Ming Wong’s Imitations

Transit: A Journal of Travel, Migration, and Multiculturalism in the German-speaking World
Volume 9, Number 2 (2014) Special Topic: Contemporary Remediations of Race and Ethnicity in German Visual Cultures
32 pages

Barbara Mennel, Associate Professor of English
University of Florida

The article “Ming Wong’s Imitations” analyzes the installation Life of Imitation, created by visual artist Ming Wong for the Singapore Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. Life of Imitation restages a key scene from Douglas Sirk’s 1959 melodrama Imitation of Life, in which the African American character Annie visits her daughter Sarah Jane who is passing as white. In Wong’s restaging three male actors from different ethnic groups in Singapore reenact the scene, but switch roles at every cut. The article traces the shifts from the original literary source, Fannie Hurst’s 1933 Imitation of Life to John M. Stahl’s 1934 film of the same title to Sirk’s version. Emphasizing melodrama’s organizing structure of “too late,” I show how Sirk shifted the melodramatic emphasis from the white mother/daughter pair’s romantic conflict to the African American mother/daughter pair’s racial conflict. Addressing the question whether such a shift implies a progressive politics, I turn to the contentious discussion of Sirk’s earlier film work in Weimar and Nazi Germany, pointing to ideological and formal continuities.

In contrast to these significant shifts in the different instantiations of the text, I propose that the different versions share the subordination and disavowal of ethnic difference in order to construct a racial binary, which then becomes the setting of the passing narrative organized around the ‘tragic mulatta’. I illustrate my argument with the instances of ethnic passing of the writers, directors, and actors involved in the different versions of the text. However, I also show the appeal of racial passing narratives can have for a gay camp imagination, identification, and appropriation. I conclude the article with a discussion of Wong’s double move in Life of Imitation of returning ethnic bodies that have been excised from the original diegesis to their significance and appropriating the gendered melodrama through cross-dressing. After a survey of the term “remediation” as it emerged from the discussion of new media, I show that Wong’s piece belongs to a group of works by visual artists who remake film in digital media in the environment of the art space. I conclude with reading the effect of rotating the actors at each cut, which does not subvert spatial and temporal continuity, but challenges spectators’ perception of ethnicity and gender, and produces unstable identities.

Read the entire article here.

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