[PODCAST] In Konversation: Unpacking the myth of the “racial democracy” in Brazil – Part 1

Posted in Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Science on 2015-10-08 20:36Z by Steven

[PODCAST] In Konversation: Unpacking the myth of the “racial democracy” in Brazil – Part 1


Brian Kamanzi, Host
Cape Town, South Africa

Marcelo Rosa, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Brasília, Brasília, Brazil

In Konversation: Unpacking the myth of the “racial democracy” in Brazil – Part 1 by Inkonversation on Mixcloud

Konversation meets with Marcelo Rosa, from the University of Brasilia.

We went on to engage on his perspectives on “race” in Brazilian society.

Listen to the interview (00:34:21) here.

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Illicit Labor: MacArthur’s Mistress and Imperial Intimacies

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-10-06 18:04Z by Steven

Illicit Labor: MacArthur’s Mistress and Imperial Intimacies

Radical History Review
Volume 2015, Number 123 (October 2015)
pages 87-114
DOI: 10.1215/01636545-3088168

Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez, Associate Professor of American Studies
University of Hawaii, Mānoa

This essay examines a brief affair between General Douglas MacArthur and a mixed-race Filipina vaudeville actress named Isabel Rosario Cooper. It focuses on Cooper’s little-documented and underexamined life as a way to understand how the intimate politics of the bedroom overlapped with the libidinal economies of the cosmopolitan Philippine entertainment industry, American military occupation, and broader geopolitical relations of imperial desire. Cooper and MacArthur’s liaison was constitutive of as well as constituted by the larger international “romance” between the United States and the Philippines that MacArthur himself oversaw in the early and middle part of the twentieth century. Going beyond the salacious details of an illicit love affair, this study seeks to illuminate how intimacy made up a type of imperial labor writ small, which served to underpin the project of US imperialism as crucially as colonial administration or military occupation.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Something Old, Something New

Posted in Arts, Audio, Autobiography, Biography, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, United Kingdom, United States on 2015-10-06 15:20Z by Steven

Something Old, Something New

BBC Radio 4

Johny Pitts, Host

Peter Meanwell, Producer

Recorded & mixed! Finished @BBCRadio4 (Engineer Steve Hellier with Johny Pitts) Source: Peter Meanwell

From Sheffield to South Carolina, Johny Pitts explores alternative Black British identity.

What happens when your Dad’s an African-American soul star [Richie Pitts] and your Mum’s a music-loving girl from working class Sheffield? Are your roots on the terraces at a Sheffield United match, or in the stylings of a Spike Lee film? For writer and photographer Johny Pitts, whose parents met in the heyday of Northern Soul, on the dance floor of the legendary King Mojo club, how he navigates his black roots has always been an issue. Not being directly connected to the Caribbean or West African diaspora culture, all he was told at school was that his ancestors were slaves, so for BBC Radio 4, he heads off to the USA, to trace his father’s musical migration, and tell an alternative story of Black British identity.

From Pitsmore in Sheffield, to Bedford Stuyvesant in New York, and all the way down to South Carolina, where his grandmother picked cotton, Johny Pitts heads off on a journey of self-discovery. On the way he meets author Caryl Phillips, Kadija, a half sister he never knew, and historian Bernard Powers. He visits the Concorde Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York, and the Bush River Missionary Baptist Church, in Newberry, South Carolina. He tracks down a whole host of long-lost cousins, and talks to Pulitzer winning writer Isabel Wilkerson. On the way he shines a light on the shadows of his ancestry, and finds stories and culture that deliver him to a new understanding of his own mixed race identity and history.

Listen to the story here.

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The Story of French New Orleans: History of a Creole City

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Louisiana, Monographs, United States on 2015-10-05 19:41Z by Steven

The Story of French New Orleans: History of a Creole City

University Press of Mississippi
January 2016
208 pages (approx.)
1 map, bibliography, index
6 x 9 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496804860

Dianne Guenin-Lelle, Professor of French
Albion College, Albion, Michigan

Why New Orleans is considered America’s distinctly French city

What is it about the city of New Orleans History, location, and culture, continue to link it to France while distancing it culturally and symbolically from the United States. This book explores the traces of French language, history, and artistic expression that have been present there over the last three hundred years. This volume focuses on the French, Spanish, and American colonial periods to understand the imprint that French socio-cultural dynamic left on the Crescent City.

The migration of Acadians to New Orleans at the time the city became a Spanish dominion and the arrival of Haitian refugees when the city became an American territory oddly reinforced its Francophone identity. However, in the process of establishing itself as an urban space in the antebellum south, the culture of New Orleans became a liability for New Orleans elite after the Louisiana Purchase.

New Orleans and the Caribbean share numerous historical, cultural, and linguistic connections. The book analyzes these connections and the shared process of creolization occurring in New Orleans and throughout the Caribbean Basin. It suggests “French” New Orleans might be understood as a trope for unscripted “original” Creole social and cultural elements. Since being Creole came to connote African descent, the study suggests that an association with France in the minds of whites allowed for a less racially-bound and contested social order within the United States.

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Ten black composers whose works deserve to be heard more often

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2015-10-05 19:30Z by Steven

Ten black composers whose works deserve to be heard more often

The Guardian

John Lewis

English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912). Photograph: Unknown/Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

The newly formed Chineke orchestra aims to include a work by a composer of ethnicity in each of its concert programmes. John Lewis looks at some of the neglected writers whose music might finally get an airing

In the past 200 years, dozens of prominent black composers from America and other parts of the African diaspora have fought to be recognised by the western classical tradition. The earliest example is Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-99). Born in Guadeloupe, the son of a wealthy plantation owner and a female slave, Saint-George was brought to France at a young age. As well as being a champion fencer, a violin teacher to Marie Antoinette and a colonel in the republican army, his prodigious musical talents led to him being dubbed “le Mozart noir”. He was a prolific composer (with several operas, 15 violin concertos, symphonies and numerous chamber works to his name) and a rare French exponent of early classical violin composition. (Listen to Chi-chi Nwanoku’s radio documentary about him here.)…

Read the entire article here.

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Rachel/Racial Theory: Reverse Passing in the Curious Case of Rachel Dolezal

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-10-05 17:46Z by Steven

Rachel/Racial Theory: Reverse Passing in the Curious Case of Rachel Dolezal

Transition Magazine

Damon Sajnani (AKA ProfessorD.us), Professor of African Cultural Studies
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Rachel Dolezal has done more than break the internet and fuel Black twitter and emcee cyphers with innumerable punchlines. She has provided the first high-profile contemporary case of racial passing from white to Black.

The vast majority of responses on mainstream and social media, even those claiming attention to nuance, pretty much accept—without justification or interrogation—that her parents’ version of the story is right and that she is wrong. Specifically, both her critics and most of her sympathizers accept the following as a “fact”: Rachel was pretending to be Black when she was really white all along. My aim here is not to defend or to condemn her, but to show that this one simple “fact” is neither simple nor self-evident.

Race is a social construct. It is a social reality, not a biological one. This fact is widely acknowledged by academics but many of them misunderstand it. Often, people who claim to know that race is a social construct make statements exposing that they really do not recognize it as such.

In “The Passing of Anatole Broyard,” Henry Louis Gates Jr. recounts the details of how “Broyard was born black and became white” (181-2). Throughout American history untold numbers of light skinned Blacks assumed white identities. This phenomenon became known as “passing” in the 1920s. Some did so temporarily, as for a job open only to whites. Sometimes they were white during the work day and Black when they returned to their families in the evening. But in many other cases, such as Broyard’s, people cut themselves off from their families completely, marrying white and raising white children oblivious to their Black ancestry. If we think of race as biological, as we have been taught, then these people were living a deception their whole lives and their children were not really white. But when we understand race as a social construct, we understand that they actually became white. There is nothing more to being, or not being, a given race than the social acceptance and societal ascription of a race to a person…

Read the entire article here.

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‘One Drop of Love’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Census/Demographics, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2015-10-02 13:31Z by Steven

‘One Drop of Love’

The Sophian: The Independent Newspaper of Smith College
Northampton, Massachusetts

Eliza Going, Contributing Writer

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni performed her well-known one-woman play challenging the construct of race, “One Drop of Love,” on Sept. 18 and 19 in the Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre. In this show, she not only tells the story of her own experiences with race as a multicultural woman, but she also gives a taste of many different incidents experienced by people of varying ages, backgrounds and cultural identities through the ups and downs of their most intimate relationships.

The play is presented in two formats. In one, DiGiovanni plays a variety of different characters talking conversationally about their experience with race; in the other, she jumps through U.S. history as a census taker. A projector lights up a simple white screen with the year and race section of the corresponding census…

Tying the census into the play introduces a political component that connects the stories of racial injustice to a tangible account of the government’s inattention toward racial or cultural identity. Only in 2010 [2000] did it become possible to check more than one box on the census. “I’m glad she connected the personal and the political in this way because, to me, they’re inextricably linked, and one can’t talk about one without the other,” Elizabeth Haas ’17 said…

Read the entire review here.

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Sexual Relations Between Elite White Women and Enslaved Men in the Antebellum South: A Socio-Historical Analysis

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2015-10-01 01:49Z by Steven

Sexual Relations Between Elite White Women and Enslaved Men in the Antebellum South: A Socio-Historical Analysis

Student Pulse
Volume 5, Number 8 (2013)
pages 1-3
5ISSN: 2153-5760

Jacqueline M. Allain
University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

There is ample evidence of sexual relations, from rapes to what appear to be relatively symbiotic romantic partnerships, between white slave masters and black women in the Antebellum South. Much rarer were sexual relations between white women and black slave men, yet they too occurred. Using an intersectional socio-historical analysis, this paper explores the factors that contributed or may have contributed to the incidence of sexual encounters between elite white women and slave men, the power dynamics embedded in them, and their implications in terms of sexual consent. The paper demonstrates how upper-class white women who engaged in these relationships used sex as an instrument of power, simultaneously perpetuating both white supremacy and patriarchy.

According to former slave Harriet Jacobs, author of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), “The slave girl is raised in an atmosphere of licentiousness and fear. The lash and the foul talk of her master and his sons are her teachers. When she is fourteen or fifteen, her owner, or his sons, or the overseer, or perhaps all of them, begin to bribe her with presents. If these fail to accomplish their purpose, she is whipped and starved into submission to their will.” Jacobs’ account of the sexual violence endured by slave women is merely one of many. Although it is impossible to know exactly how many black women were sexually assaulted under slavery, such abuse was widespread.

Not all sexual encounters between masters and female slaves would be considered rape according to most definitions of the term. Concubinage-type arrangements and even long-term romantic partnerships, perhaps most famously that of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings, were known to exist. Yet, many scholars would agree that “even presumably affectionate and long-term relationships must be reconsidered given the context of slavery” (Foster, 2011, p. 459). The enormous imbalance of gender and racial power between the two parties problematizes the notion of a truly consensual romantic relationship between a slave master and his female slave. These so-called consensual sexual partnerships can be seen, like rape, as an exercise in white patriarchal authority.

But what of sexual relations between planter-class white women and slave men?…

Read the entire article here.

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Emmanuelle Saada. Empire’s Children: Race, Filiation, and Citizenship in the French Colonies

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive on 2015-09-28 19:26Z by Steven

Emmanuelle Saada. Empire’s Children: Race, Filiation, and Citizenship in the French Colonies

The American Historical Review
Volume 118, Issue 2
pages 468-470
DOI: 10.1093/ahr/118.2.468

Gary Wilder, Associate Professor of Anthropology
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Emmanuelle Saada, Empire’s Children: Race, Filiation, and Citizenship in the French Colonies. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2012. Pp. xv, 339. Cloth $81.00, paper $27.50, e-book $27.50.

In this carefully researched and sharply argued analysis of disputes over the status of abandoned mixed-race children (métis) in the French Empire, Emmanuelle Saada demonstrates how gendered racial logics came to subtend French republican law. Rather than seek to understand a supposed contradiction between metropolitan republicanism and colonial racism, Saada offers a persuasive account of France as an imperial republic organized partly around a form of republican racism that operated through families on embodied subjects. Drawing masterfully on archival history, legal scholarship, and political theory, she provides a welcome critique of works that treat colonial domination as mere violence as well as those that accept republican states’ own discourses about abstract universal legality being incompatible with racial particularity and concrete communities.

Saada begins with a political dilemma that was created for colonial administrators by the 1889 Nationality Law. It held that all children born on national territory to unknown parents were accorded French citizenship. Authorities feared that if this measure were to be applied automatically in the colonies, children whose filiation was uncertain and whose ways of life were more “native” than “French” would automatically become citizens. Alternatively, they worried that if this measure was ignored, biologically and culturally “French” children would be misclassified as natives and pose a potential threat to the colonial order. She argues that the entire system of colonial domination depended on social distance between “French” and “native” and legal distinction between “citizen” and “subject.” (The book provides an indispensable genealogy of these categories in the French Empire.) Administrators believed that immersion in the native milieu could lead métis to acquire dangerous social pathologies. Even worse was the fear that they could become “declassed”—socioculturally French but legally native subjects. This non-alignment of social identity and legal status risked undermining racial “dignity” and French “prestige” in the …

Read or purchase the review here.

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The history of interracial sex: It’s much more than just rape or romance.

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2015-09-28 18:41Z by Steven

The history of interracial sex: It’s much more than just rape or romance.

The Los Angeles Times

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

Carina Ray is associate professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University and the author of “Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana.”

When South African comedian Trevor Noah takes over as host of “The Daily Show” on Monday night, he’ll probably introduce his new audience to his family biography. Born in Johannesburg to a black South African mother and a white Swiss German father in 1984, when apartheid was still firmly in place and interracial marriage was illegal, Noah made his parents’ struggles the subject of his widely acclaimed stand-up routine “Born a Crime.”.

Their story represents an exception to one of apartheid’s harshest realities: White men sexually violated black women with impunity. But neither is it a romantic tale of racial transcendence. Noah has been frank about how his Xhosa mother paid the greater price for her relationship with a white man. Not only did she face social stigma and arrest, she was also left to raise Noah alone when his father exercised his white male privilege and left South Africa.

In my academic research, I grapple with stories like the one Noah tells, of interracial sexual relations that resist neat labels. They’re not uncommon. Yet when power dynamics are so profoundly unequal, there’s a strong incentive to deny the possibility of complexity or murkiness by falling back on binaries like rape or romance…

Read the entire article here.

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