Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2016-05-18 16:09Z by Steven

Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
January 2017
295 pages
ISBN13: 978-1-77112-240-5

Michelle La Flamme, Professor of English
University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Canada’s history is bicultural, Indigenous, and multilingual, and these characteristics have given risen to a number of strategies used by our writers to code racially mixed characters. This book examines contemporary Canadian literature and drama in order to tease out some of those strategies and the social and cultural factors that inform them.

Racially hybrid characters in literature have served a matrix of needs. They are used as shorthand for interracial desire, signifiers of taboo love, images of impurity, symbols of degeneration, and examples of beauty and genetic perfection. Their fates have been used to suggest the futility of marrying across racial lines, or the revelation of their “one drop” signals a climactic downfall. Other narratives suggest mixed-race bodies are foundational to colonization and signify contact between colonial and Indigenous bodies.

Author Michelle LaFlamme approaches racial hybridity with a cross-generic and cross-racial approach, unusual in the field of hybridity studies, by analyzing characters with different racial mixes in autobiographies, fiction, and drama. Her analysis privileges literary texts and the voices of artists rather than sociological explanations of the mixed-race experience. The book suggests that the hyper-visualization of mixed-race bodies in mono-racial contexts creates a scopophilic interest in how those bodies look and perform race.

La Flamme’s term “soma text” draws attention to the constructed, performative aspects of this form of embodiment. The writers she examines witness that living in a racially hybrid and ambiguous body is a complex engagement that involves reading and decoding the body in sophisticated ways, involving both the multiracial body and the racialized gaze of the onlooker.

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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 2016-05-18 15:51Z 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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In Due Season

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Native Americans/First Nation, Novels on 2016-05-18 15:50Z by Steven

In Due Season

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
May 2016
375 pages
ISBN13: 978-1-77112-071-5

Christine van der Mark (1917–1970)

Afterword by:

Carole Gerson, Professor of English Department
Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada

Janice Dowson, Lecturer in English literature and Academic Writing
Simon Fraser University and University of the Fraser Valley

First published in 1947, In Due Season broke new ground with its fictional representation of women and of Indigenous people. Set during the dustbowl 1930s, this tersely narrated prize-winning novel follows Lina Ashley, a determined solo female homesteader who takes her family from drought-ridden southern Alberta to a new life in the Peace River region. Here her daughter Poppy grows up in a community characterized by harmonious interactions between the local Métis and newly arrived European settlers. Still, there is tension between mother and daughter when Poppy becomes involved with a Métis lover. This novel expands the patriarchal canon of Canadian prairie fiction by depicting the agency of a successful female settler and, as noted by Dorothy Livesay, was “one of the first, if not the first Canadian novel wherein the plight of the Native Indian and the Métis is honestly and painfully recorded.” The afterword by Carole Gerson and Janice Dowson provides substantial information about author Christine van der Mark and situates her under-acknowledged book within the contexts of Canadian social, literary, and publishing history.

Christine van der Mark (1917–1970) was born and raised in Calgary. While teaching in rural Alberta schools, she attended the University of Alberta, receiving her B.A. in 1941 and her M.A. in Creative Writing in 1946. Much of her writing expressed sympathetic concern for the Métis of Northern Alberta.

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A Culture of Identity Choice: Assertions of Mixed Race, Transgender, and Other Identities and the Implications for Politics

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, Live Events, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-05-18 15:49Z by Steven

A Culture of Identity Choice: Assertions of Mixed Race, Transgender, and Other Identities and the Implications for Politics

Stanford University
Black Community Services Center
The Brandon Room
Wednesday, 2016-05-18, 12:00 PDT (Local Time)

Natalie Masuoka, Associate Professor of Political Science
Tufts University

While Americans have always connected with different social identities, today we find the assertions of identities such as “biracial,” “swirlies,” “boi,” and “transwomen” to be particularly significant. What is notable about these types of identities is that they communicate a person’s preferred self-identification relating to individual features historically understood as rigid and inherent. Masuoka argues that Americans today increasingly embrace a culture of, what she calls, identity choice in the United States. In today’s post-Civil Rights context, Americans increasingly believe and accept the idea that individuals can choose identities that were once seen as immutable. This presentation will trace the historical developments that have led to this new cultural perspective and offer a discussion about the possible political implications.

This talk is part of the 2015-16 RICSRE Seminar Series Spotlight on Race and Politics, co-sponsored by the Institute on the Politics of Inequality, Race, and Ethnicity at Stanford (InsPIRES). The event is also co-sponsored by the American Politics Workshop, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and the Clayman Institute for Gender Research.

For more information, click here.

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Black Man, White House: An Oral History of the Obama Administration

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-05-17 02:08Z by Steven

Black Man, White House: An Oral History of the Obama Administration

William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins)
2016-06-07
336 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780062399793
Ebook ISBN: 9780062399816
6 in (w) x 9 in (h) x 1.09 in (d)

D. L. Hughley

From legendary comedian D.L. Hughley comes a bitingly funny send-up of the Obama years, as “told” by the key political players on both sides of the aisle.

What do the Clintons, Republicans, fellow Democrats, and Obama’s own family really think of President Barack Obama? Finally, the truth is revealed in this raucously funny “oral history” parody.

There is no more astute—and hilarious—critic of politics, entertainment, and race in America than D. L. Hughley, famed comedian, radio star, and original member of the “Kings of Comedy.” In the vein of Jon Stewart’s America: The Book, Black Man, White House is an acerbic and witty take on Obama’s two terms, looking at the president’s accomplishments and foibles through the imagined eyes of those who saw history unfold.

Hughley draws upon satirical interviews with the most notorious public figures of our day: Mitt Romney (“What’s ‘poverty’? Is that some sort of rap jargon?”); Nancy Pelosi (“I play F**k/Marry/Kill, and there’s a lot more kills than fu**ks in Congress, believe me.”); Rod Blagojevich (“You can’t sell political offices on eBay; I discovered that personally.”); Joe Biden (“I like wrestling.”); and other politicians, media pundits, and buffoons. It is sure to be the most irreverent—and perhaps the most honest—look at American politics today.

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Black Lotus: A Woman’s Search for Racial Identity

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, United States on 2016-05-16 01:40Z by Steven

Black Lotus: A Woman’s Search for Racial Identity

Gallery Books (an Imprint of Simon & Schuster)
August 2016
368 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9781451688467
eBook ISBN: 9781451688481

Sil Lai Abrams

The unique and beautifully written story of one multiracial woman’s journey of acceptance and identity that tackles the fraught topic of race in America.

Sil Lai Abrams always knew she was different, with darker skin and curlier hair than her siblings. But when the man who she thought was her dad told her the truth—that her father was actually black—her whole world was turned upside down.

Raised primarily in the Caucasian community of Winter Park, Florida, Abrams was forced to re-examine who she really was and struggle with her Caucasian, African American, and Chinese identities. In her remarkable memoir, she shares this journey and how it speaks to a larger question: Why does race matter?

Black Lotus is a story of acceptance and identity but it is also a dialogue on the complex topic of race in this country by an award-winning writer and inspirational speaker.

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Indian Blood: HIV and Colonial Trauma in San Francisco’s Two-Spirit Community

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-05-14 22:27Z by Steven

Indian Blood: HIV and Colonial Trauma in San Francisco’s Two-Spirit Community

University of Washington Press
June 2016
176 pages
1 bandw illus, 2 tables
6 x 9 in
Paperback ISBN: 9780295998503
Hardcover ISBN: 9780295998077

Andrew J. Jolivette, Professor and chair of American Indian studies
San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California

The first book to examine the correlation between mixed-race identity and HIV/AIDS among Native American gay men and transgendered people, Indian Blood provides an analysis of the emerging and often contested LGBTQtwo-spirit” identification as it relates to public health and mixed-race identity.

Prior to contact with European settlers, most Native American tribes held their two-spirit members in high esteem, even considering them spiritually advanced. However, after contact – and religious conversion – attitudes changed and social and cultural support networks were ruptured. This discrimination led to a breakdown in traditional values, beliefs, and practices, which in turn pushed many two-spirit members to participate in high-risk behaviors. The result is a disproportionate number of two-spirit members who currently test positive for HIV.

Using surveys, focus groups, and community discussions to examine the experiences of HIV-positive members of San Francisco’s two-spirit community, Indian Blood provides an innovative approach to understanding how colonization continues to affect American Indian communities and opens a series of crucial dialogues in the fields of Native American studies, public health, queer studies, and critical mixed-race studies.

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The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de’ Medici

Posted in Biography, Books, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Monographs on 2016-05-14 22:26Z by Steven

The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de’ Medici

Oxford University Press
2016-09-01
336 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780190612726

Catherine Fletcher, Historian, Author, AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker 2015

  • The first-ever biography of Alessandro de’ Medici, arguably the first black head of state
  • Draws on extensive archival research of first-hand sources
  • An accessible and dramatic retelling of Renaissance politics and rivalry

Ruler of Florence for seven bloody years, 1531 to 1537, Alessandro de’ Medici was arguably the first person of color to serve as a head of state in the Western world. Born out of wedlock to a dark-skinned maid and Lorenzo de’ Medici, he was the last legitimate heir to the line of Lorenzo the Magnificent. When Alessandro’s noble father died of syphilis, the family looked to him. Groomed for power, he carved a path through the backstabbing world of Italian politics in a time when cardinals, popes, and princes vied for wealth and advantage. By the age of nineteen, he was prince of Florence, inheritor of the legacy of the grandest dynasty of the Italian Renaissance.

Alessandro faced down family rivalry and enormous resistance from Florence’s oligarchs, who called him a womanizer-which he undoubtedly was—and a tyrant. Yet this real-life counterpart to Machiavelli’s Prince kept his grip on power until he was assassinated at the age of 26 during a late-night tryst arranged by his scheming cousins. After his death, his brief but colorful reign was criticized by those who had murdered him in a failed attempt to restore the Florentine republic. For the first time, the true story is told in The Black Prince of Florence.

Catherine Fletcher tells the riveting tale of Alessandro’s unexpected rise and spectacular fall, unraveling centuries-old mysteries, exposing forgeries, and bringing to life the epic personalities of the Medicis, Borgias, and others as they waged sordid campaigns to rise to the top. Drawing on new research and first-hand sources, this biography of a most intriguing Renaissance figure combines archival scholarship with discussions of race and class that are still relevant today.

Table of Contents

  • Family tree
  • Glossary of names
  • Timeline
  • Maps
  • A note on money
  • Prologue
  • Book One: The Bastard Son
  • Book Two: The Obedient Nephew
  • Book Three: The Prince Alone
  • Afterword: Alessandro’s Ethnicity
  • Acknowledgements
  • Bibliography
  • Notes
  • Index
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The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

Posted in Biography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Mexico, Monographs, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2016-05-14 01:40Z by Steven

The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

W. W. Norton & Company
June 2016
368 pages
6.1 × 9.3 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-23925-6

Karl Jacoby, Professor of History
Columbia University, New York, New York

A prize-winning historian tells a new story of the black experience in America through the life of a mysterious entrepreneur.

A black child born in the twilight of slavery, William Henry Ellis inhabited a world of fraught, ambiguous racial categories on the anarchic border between the United States and Mexico. He adopted the name Guillermo Enrique Eliseo and passed as a Mexican: traveling as Hispanic in first-class train berths, staying in the finest hotels, and eating in leading restaurants. A shrewd businessman, he became fabulously wealthy and found himself involved in scandalous trials, unexpected disappearances, and diplomatic controversies. Constantly switching identities, Eliseo was a genius at identifying and exploiting the porousness of the color line and the border line.

Through Ellis’s picaresque biography, Karl Jacoby presents an intriguing narrative set in a secret and ever-changing world. The Strange Career of William Ellis reinterprets the borderlands, showing how U.S. and Mexican histories intertwined during Reconstruction, and he offers new insight into the arbitrary and evolving definitions of race in America.

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Chan

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Poetry, United Kingdom on 2016-05-13 01:50Z by Steven

Chan

Bloodaxe Books
2016-06-23
72 pages
234 x 156 mm
Paperback ISBN: 9781780372839
E-book ISBN: 9781780372846

Hannah Lowe

Chan is a mercurial name, representing the travellers and shape-shifters of the poems in this collection. It is one of the many nicknames of Hannah Lowe’s Chinese-Jamaican father, borrowed from the Polish émigré card magician Chan Canasta. It is also a name from China, where her grandfather’s story begins. Alongside these figures, there’s Joe Harriott, the Jamaican alto saxophonist, shaking up 1960s London; a cast of other long-lost family; and a ship full of dreamers sailing from Kingston to Liverpool in 1947 on the SS Ormonde.

Hannah Lowe’s second collection follows her widely acclaimed debut, Chick, which took readers on a journey round her father, a gambler who disappeared at night to play cards or dice in London’s old East End to support his family.

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