Call for papers: Mana Tangatarua: Mixed heritages and biculturalism in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Posted in Anthropology, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Oceania, Social Science, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2015-11-23 03:09Z by Steven

Call for papers: Mana Tangatarua: Mixed heritages and biculturalism in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Dr Zarine L. Rocha

Deadline: 29 February 2016

This volume seeks to explore the diversity of research on “mixed race”/mixed ethnic identity in Aotearoa/New Zealand. “Mixed race” identities have been the subject of growing scholarly interest over the past two decades, particularly in North America and Britain. In multicultural societies, increasing numbers of people of mixed ancestry are identifying themselves outside of traditional racial categories, challenging systems of racial classification and sociological understandings of “race”.

This volume aims to reorient the field of study to look specifically at New Zealand. New Zealand provides a particularly interesting context, with a diverse population, and an unusual state framework around race and ethnicity: mixedness and “mixed ethnic identity” have been officially recognised for more than 20 years. The proposed book will draw on research across disciplines, seeking to explore both the past and the present by looking at how race relates to ethnicity, and how official and social understandings of these terms have changed. It will focus on the interactions between race, ethnicity, national identity, indigeneity and culture, especially in terms of visibility and self-defined identity. The range of themes covered will include the complexity of the lived mixed race experience, the role of indigenous identity, migration, generational change and identity, and the complexities of a multicultural society within a bicultural national framework.

Book Overview

The proposed book will be edited by Dr Zarine L. Rocha (National University of Singapore) and Dr Melinda Webber (University of Auckland).

It will include an introduction written by the editors surveying the current condition of the field of scholarship in the country, putting this in an international context. This will be followed by up to 15 chapters of original research by a selection of senior, mid and early career researchers across a range of disciplines.

Please send your abstracts (150-200 words) and bio (50-100 words) by 29 February 2016, to: Dr Zarine L. Rocha (

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Race and the Modern Exotic: Three ‘Australian’ Women on Global Display

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania, Passing, Women on 2015-11-11 03:01Z by Steven

Race and the Modern Exotic: Three ‘Australian’ Women on Global Display

Monash University Publishing
October 2011
180 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781921867125
eBook ISBN: 9781921867132

Angela Woollacott, Manning Clark Professor of History
The Australian National University

Annette Kellerman, Rose Quong and Merle Oberon were internationally successful ‘Australian’ performers of the first half of the twentieth century. Kellerman was a swimmer, diver, lecturer, and silent-film star, Quong an actor, lecturer and writer who forged a career in London and New York, and Oberon one of the most celebrated film stars of the 1930s and 1940s, first in London and then Hollywood.

Through her international vaudeville performances and film roles, Kellerman played with the quasi-racial identity of South Sea Islander. Quong built a career based on her own body, through a careful appropriation of Orientalism. Her body was the signifier of her Chinese authenticity, the essentialist foundation for her constructed, diasporic Chinese identity. The official story of Oberon’s origins was that she was Tasmanian. However, this was a publicity story concocted at the beginning of her film career to mask her lower-class, Anglo-Indian birth. Despite anxious undercurrents about her exoticism, Australians were thrilled to claim a true Hollywood star as one of their own.

These three women performers created newly modern, racially ambiguous Australian femininities. Racial thinking was at the core of White Australian culture: far from being oblivious to racial hierarchies and constructions, Australians engaged with them on an everyday basis. Around the world, ‘Australian’ stars represented a white-settler nation, a culture in which white privilege was entrenched, during a period replete with legal forms of discrimination based on race. The complex meanings attached to three successful ‘Australian’ performers in this period of highly articulated racism thus become a popular cultural archive we can investigate to learn more about contemporary connections between race, exoticism and gender on the global stage and screen.

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The legend of Merle

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Media Archive, Oceania, Passing, Women on 2015-11-11 02:33Z by Steven

The legend of Merle

The Age
Docklands, Victoria, Australia

Merle Oberon (1943)

She was one of the most glamorous stars of the 1930s and ’40s. A screen siren with smouldering looks, exotic features and almond-shaped eyes. Merle Oberon was described as graceful and hauntingly beautiful.

On her ascent, in 1939, she captivated the world in the box office Hollywood hit, Wuthering Heights, playing Cathy opposite Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff.

From the other side of the globe, Tasmanians glowed with pride. Oberon, according to a biography that read like a Hollywood film script, had been born in Hobart, the daughter of an upper-class white colonial family. She left Tasmania for India after her distinguished father died in a hunting accident, and was raised there by aristocratic godparents.

If Errol Flynn was the island state’s favourite son, Merle Oberon was its treasured daughter. In 1978, the Hobart Town Hall hosted a function attended by well-known local identities to welcome her back. Decades later, Tasmanians proudly recount stories and anecdotes about the hometown girl who blazed her way to Hollywood. Only Oberon wasn’t born in Tasmania. She was Anglo-Indian

Read the entire article here.

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“Mixed Race” Identities in Asia and the Pacific: Experiences from Singapore and New Zealand

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania, Social Science on 2015-11-04 17:46Z by Steven

“Mixed Race” Identities in Asia and the Pacific: Experiences from Singapore and New Zealand

188 pages
2 B/W Illus.
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-13-893393-4

Zarine L. Rocha, Managing Editor
Current Sociology and The Asian Journal of Social Science

“Mixed race” is becoming an important area for research, and there is a growing body of work in the North American and British contexts. However, understandings and experiences of “mixed race” across different countries and regions are not often explored in significant depth. New Zealand and Singapore provide important contexts for investigation, as two multicultural, yet structurally divergent, societies. Within these two countries, “mixed race” describes a particularly interesting label for individuals of mixed Chinese and European parentage.

This book explores the concept of “mixed race” for people of mixed Chinese and European descent, looking at how being Chinese and/or European can mean many different things in different contexts. By looking at different communities in Singapore and New Zealand, it investigates how individuals of mixed heritage fit into or are excluded from these communities. Increasingly, individuals of mixed ancestry are opting to identify outside of traditionally defined racial categories, posing a challenge to systems of racial classification, and to sociological understandings of “race”. As case studies, Singapore and New Zealand provide key examples of the complex relationship between state categorization and individual identities. The book explores the divergences between identity and classification, and the ways in which identity labels affect experiences of “mixed race” in everyday life. Personal stories reveal the creative and flexible ways in which people cross boundaries, and the everyday negotiations between classification, heritage, experience, and nation in defining identity. The study is based on qualitative research, including in-depth interviews with people of mixed heritage in both countries.

Filling an important gap in the literature by using an Asia/Pacific dimension, this study of race and ethnicity will appeal to students and scholars of mixed race studies, ethnicity, Chinese diaspora and cultural anthropology.


  • 1. Finding the “Mixed” in “Mixed Race”
  • 2. Mixed Histories in New Zealand and Singapore
  • 3. The Personal in the Political
  • 4. Being and Belonging
  • 5. Roots, Routes and Coming Home
  • 6. Conclusion
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Ronnie: Tasmanian Songman

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania on 2015-09-26 22:15Z by Steven

Ronnie: Tasmanian Songman

Magabala Books
January 2009
164 pages
240 x 165
Paperback ISBN: 9781921248108

Helen Gee and Ronnie Summers

Musician, storyteller and craftsman, Ronnie Summers recalls the freedom of growing up on Cape Barren Island and how the island’s music shaped his life. He draws on a childhood working the muttonbird islands, a ‘kangaroo court’ prison term as a bewildered teenager, and then turning to alcohol after the death of his baby son. Born an ‘Islander’—not Aboriginal, not white—Ronnie Summers was without race. This story documents his struggle for a place in his own country and echoes that of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. Includes a CD featuring Cape Barren Island music—a unique blend of Cajun, blues, country and folk.

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Racism as a Determinant of Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Oceania, United States on 2015-09-25 02:37Z by Steven

Racism as a Determinant of Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

48 pages
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138511

Yin Paradies, Professor
Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization, Faculty of Arts and Education
Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Jehonathan Ben
Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization, Faculty of Arts and Education
Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Amanuel Elias
Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization, Faculty of Arts and Education
Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Nida Denson
School of Social Sciences and Psychology
University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Naomi Priest, Senior Research Fellow in child public health and health inequalities
Australian Centre for Applied Social Research Methods
Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Alex Pieterse
Division of Counseling Psychology
University at Albany, State University of New York

Arpana Gupta
Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress, David Geffen School of Medicine
University of California, Los Angeles

Margaret Kelaher
Centre for Health Policy Programs and Economics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Gilbert Gee
Department of Community Health Sciences
University of California, Los Angeles, Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, California

Despite a growing body of epidemiological evidence in recent years documenting the health impacts of racism, the cumulative evidence base has yet to be synthesized in a comprehensive meta-analysis focused specifically on racism as a determinant of health. This meta-analysis reviewed the literature focusing on the relationship between reported racism and mental and physical health outcomes. Data from 293 studies reported in 333 articles published between 1983 and 2013, and conducted predominately in the U.S., were analysed using random effects models and mean weighted effect sizes. Racism was associated with poorer mental health (negative mental health: r = -.23, 95% CI [-.24,-.21], k = 227; positive mental health: r = -.13, 95% CI [-.16,-.10], k = 113), including depression, anxiety, psychological stress and various other outcomes. Racism was also associated with poorer general health (r = -.13 (95% CI [-.18,-.09], k = 30), and poorer physical health (r = -.09, 95% CI [-.12,-.06], k = 50). Moderation effects were found for some outcomes with regard to study and exposure characteristics. Effect sizes of racism on mental health were stronger in cross-sectional compared with longitudinal data and in non-representative samples compared with representative samples. Age, sex, birthplace and education level did not moderate the effects of racism on health. Ethnicity significantly moderated the effect of racism on negative mental health and physical health: the association between racism and negative mental health was significantly stronger for Asian American and Latino(a) American participants compared with African American participants, and the association between racism and physical health was significantly stronger for Latino(a) American participants compared with African American participants. Protocol PROSPERO registration number: CRD42013005464.

Read the entire article here.

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The Awesome Unordinary: Meet Marawa, The Celebrity Hula-Hooper

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Oceania, Videos on 2015-09-24 00:05Z by Steven

The Awesome Unordinary: Meet Marawa, The Celebrity Hula-Hooper

Chic Rebellion

Jazzi Johnson

As children, we’re told to go after our dreams and not to let anyone deter us from whatever it may be… Well, can you imagine being 18 years old and telling your parents that you dream of hula-hooping for a living? That’s precisely what Marawa Ibrahim did.

Ibrahim, better known as Marawa the Amazing, is a record-breaking hula-hooper! She currently holds the Guinness world record for 160 hoops at once, and is known for roller-skating and hooping in high heels as part of her act. A natural born nomad, she was born to a Somalian father and an Australian mother. Inspired by the art of gymnasium, she took to Olga Korbut, Josephine Baker, and Delores Van Cartier to name a few.

Destined to live a world of her own making, Marawa enrolled in NICA- the National Institute of Circus Arts Australia– and earned her Bachelor of Circus Arts. Although she specialized in swinging trapeze, she always knew that hula-hoops was where her future lie…

Read the entire article here.

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Is Hawaii a Racial Paradise?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science, United States on 2015-09-16 18:13Z by Steven

Is Hawaii a Racial Paradise?

Zócalo Public Square

Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr., Associate Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies
Arizona State University

Nitasha Sharma, Associate Professor of African-American Studies and Asian-American Studies
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

David A. Swanson, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Riverside

Lee A. Tonouchi (“Da Pidgin Guerilla”)

Roderick Labrador, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies
University of Hawaii, Mānoa (also Director of the UCLA Hawaii Travel Study Program)

Maile Arvin, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies
University of California, Riverside

Races, Ethnicities, and Cultures Mix More Freely Than Elsewhere in the U.S., But There Are Limits to the Aloha Spirit

Early in the 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Jason Segal, playing a guy who travels to Hawaii to get over a breakup, drunkenly pours out his feelings to two people in his hotel, a newlywed man and a bartender. The new husband encourages Segal to think there’s still hope for the relationship, but the bartender, Dwayne, has no sympathy for Segal’s sadness.

“You’ve gotta move on,” Dwayne says. “It’s that easy, I promise you it is. I lived in South Central. South Central. And I hated it. So I moved to Oahu. Now I can name you over 200 different kinds of fish!” He starts naming them.

The scene is hilarious, but it also hints at one of America’s fundamental Gordian knots—race—and the various ways we’ve tried to untie it. The story uses Los Angeles’ “South Central” neighborhood as a code word for a place where gangs are divided along color lines, racial tensions can erupt in violence, and residents feel stuck in the cycle. The implication is that Dwayne, who’s black, escaped all that by coming to Hawaii. He puts forth Hawaii as a paradise—a place where the only thing he has to worry about is learning how to pronounce Humuhumunukunukuapua`a.

Hawaii is one of America’s most diverse and happiest states. Some would contend people get along better here than almost anywhere else. But tossing different groups together also means there are frictions—ones that perhaps are too often are obscured by the sunshine and ukuleles in tourist guides.

So what’s the actual nature of racial relations in Hawaii? And what can the rest of us learn from it? In advance of the “What It Means to Be American” event “What Can Hawaii Teach America About Race?,” we asked a variety of experts on and off the islands that same question…

Read the entire article here.

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Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story by Walter Hamilton (review)

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Oceania on 2015-07-30 01:58Z by Steven

Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story by Walter Hamilton (review)

The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth
Volume 7, Number 3, Fall 2014
pages 565-567
DOI: 10.1353/hcy.2014.0047

Owen Griffiths

Hamilton, Walter, Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story (Sydney: NewSouth Books, 2012)

What if you felt like you didn’t belong to the society in which you were born and raised? This is the question Walter Hamilton explores in his powerful book about mixed-race children born during the occupation of Japan. Drawing on his long experience living in Japan as a correspondent for the Australian Broadcast Company (ABC), Hamilton weaves personal testimonials into a broader tale about race discrimination in the modern era. He focuses on cases drawn from Kure in southwestern Honshu (the “Kure kids”), which was the center of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) that included a large contingent of Australian troops. This is not just an Australian story, however. Hamilton reminds us that people from many different societies and cultures recoiled in “horror and pity” at the consequences of race mixing, including the Japanese, whose “racial intolerance was fully matched in the nations it fought against” (3).

This story is a tragedy on multiple levels, punctuated by poignant moments of survival, perseverance, and, occasionally, triumph. Japan’s defeat and subsequent seven-year occupation brought the impoverished Japanese, especially women, face to face with thousands of foreign troops, all bigger, healthier, and richer than most Japanese could have dreamed of at the time. The interactions that followed took many forms from rape and prostitution to workplace relationships and chance romance. The offspring of these encounters were the konketsuji (mixed-race children) or ainoko (half-caste or hybrid), boys and girls struggling to survive at the margins of a society already fractured by war, defeat, and occupation. These children were rejected by their communities and often their own families because they looked different, because they were impure. They also suffered the “sins” of their mothers, whom society often ostracized as prostitutes regardless of the true nature of their relationships with foreigners. Abandonment by both mothers and fathers was not uncommon, with reluctant relatives often stepping into the breach to care for them.

Karumi and Joji, the first two Kure kids we meet, exemplified this marginalization. Never knowing their fathers and abandoned by their mothers, the cousins were raised in poverty first by their aged great-grandmother and then separated when Joji was sent to Hawaii for adoption. After a time with her uncle and abusive aunt, Karumi was reunited with her great-grandmother, under whose care she thrived. At school she was a constant target for abuse. An Australian couple adopted her when she was eleven, but she never spoke of her adoption experience. Karumi nonetheless made a career for herself in nursing, married, and raised three children. Tragedy was close by, however. Her husband’s death in an accident left her a widow in her early forties with three kids to feed. She did remarry and continued to develop her career skills. Her comments, when looking back on her first husband’s death, exemplify the hardships of the mixed-race kid. “Remember what you went through as a child,” she said to herself. “Just try to think: ‘This [her husband’s death] ain’t nothing’” (246).

The mixed-race stigma forced on the Kure kids and their counterparts in Japan and elsewhere is a tragic legacy of our obsession with blood purity and skin color. It seems that everyone who came into contact with the so-called scientific racism of nineteenth-century Europe either adopted the concept wholesale or found at least some of it amenable to their own indigenous ideas. A long war filled with race hate intensified these prejudices, which then carried over into occupation policies like non-fraternization and bans on mixed-race marriage. The attitudes of the governments involved in the occupation, Japan’s included, more than matched those of the occupation authorities. They alternated between non-recognition of the children’s existence to prohibitions against immigration and adoption. Australia was particularly harsh in this regard, banning interracial marriage and immigration until after the peace treaty with Japan was signed in 1951, and then only under limited conditions. Some soldiers left Japan unaware they had fathered children. Others abandoned mother and child to their fate. Still others, however, sought to marry and bring their new families back to their homes but were thwarted by…

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Story of Steain Family by Tim Steains

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, Oceania on 2015-07-22 19:37Z by Steven

Story of Steain Family by Tim Steains

Nikkei Australia: Japanese Diaspora in Australia

Tim Steains

L to R – Sophie, Satsuki, Chris, Tim

My name is Timothy Kazuo Steains, I am of Okinawan and white Australian descent, and am 26 years old. I was born in Australia and have always lived here. As a child I attended Konomi Yōchien, and the Sydney Japanese School. I speak conversational Japanese, and have a modest repertoire of enka that I like to sing at karaoke.

My parents (Satsuki and Chris Steains) met through Buddhism. My mother has lived in Australia for almost 40 years, she’s from Ginowan in Okinawa. My father grew up in Newcastle.

My PhD work in Cultural Studies at Sydney University focuses on representations of Japan in contemporary Australian literature and cinema (and probably other media as well). I’m interested in Australian perceptions of Japan, Asian-Australian and Japanese-Australian interconnections, as well as Asian Australian and Japanese Australian mixed race. Broadly speaking my work uses postcolonial, multicultural, and transnational approaches.

My work started with an oppositional attitude towards white Australian representations of Japan. I examined Orientalist perceptions of Japan (take for example the feminisation of Hiromitsu in Japanese Story), the persistence of stereotype, and the marginalisation and exclusion of Asian Australian voices. I used critical race approaches that have helped me to understand my place in discussions of race and multiculturalism in Australia. While this attitude still informs my work to a significant extent, I’ve also been trying to broaden my approach in various ways…

Read the entire article here.

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