Book Release of Prof. Lundy Braun’s Breathing Race into the Machine

Posted in Africa, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Slavery, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States on 2014-04-15 19:20Z by Steven

Book Release of Prof. Lundy Braun’s Breathing Race into the Machine

Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Program in Science and Technology Studies
2014-03-26

This February, Royce Family Professor in Teaching Excellence, professor of medical science and Africana studies, and a member of the Science and Technology Studies Program, Lundy Braun released her new book Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics.

In her book, Lundy Braun traces the little-known history of the spirometer to reveal the ways medical instruments have worked to naturalize racial and ethnic differences, from Victorian Britain to today. An unsettling account of the pernicious effects of racial thinking that divides people along genetic lines, this book helps us understand how race enters into science and shapes medical research and practice.

In the antebellum South, plantation physicians used a new medical device—the spirometer—to show that lung volume and therefore vital capacity were supposedly less in black slaves than in white citizens. At the end of the Civil War, a large study of racial difference employing the spirometer appeared to confirm the finding, which was then applied to argue that slaves were unfit for freedom. What is astonishing is that this example of racial thinking is anything but a historical relic…

Read the entire article here.

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5 Nations That Imported Europeans to Whiten The Population

Posted in Africa, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, South Africa on 2014-04-11 21:10Z by Steven

5 Nations That Imported Europeans to Whiten The Population

Atlanta Black Star
2014-03-10

Andre Moore

After the trans-Atlantic slave trade was officially abolished toward the end of the 19th century, many whites felt threatened and feared free Blacks would become a menacing element in society. The elites spent a great dealing of time mulling over how best to solve the so-called Negro problem. A popular solution that emerged during this period was the ideology of racial whitening or “whitening.”

Supporters of the “whitening” ideology believed that if a “superior” white population was encouraged to mix with an “inferior” Black population, Blacks would advance culturally, genetically or even disappear totally, within several generations. Some also believed that an influx of immigrants from Europe would be necessary to successfully carry out the process.

Although both ideologies were driven by racism and White supremacy, whitening was in contrast to some countries that opted for segregation rather than miscegenation, ultimately outlawing the mixing of the races. This, however, was just a different means to the same end as these nations also imported more Europeans while slaughtering and oppressing the Black population.

Here are 5 of the several counties that adopted a whitening policy and what happened as a result…

Read the entire article here.

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GalleryDAAS: Photographs by Ed West

Posted in Africa, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Live Events, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2014-03-11 19:08Z by Steven

GalleryDAAS: Photographs by Ed West

University of Michigan
G648 Haven Hall
505 S State Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
2014-03-13 through 2014-05-02
Opening Reception: 2014-03-14, 17:30-20:00 CDT (Local Time)

Hosted by the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS)

GalleryDAAS presents So Called, a photography series by award-winning artist and U-M professor Edward West. Curated by Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo, So Called is a transnational project about multi-ethnic identities in three locations: Honolulu, Hawaii, Havana, Cuba and Cape Town, South Africa. The series includes photographic portraits of individuals drawn from these communities and focuses on the issue of race, specifically the mixing of races and its social complexities. While the mixing of races has long been a consequence of diasporic/nomadic history, we have only recently found a place in our cultural imaginary for a fuller representation of these collective and individual identities and destinies. The introduction of a mixed race category on the U.S. census, literary and filmic treatments of racialized lives, the emergence of postcolonial studies, all suggest an expanded space for the reception of ideas and issues concerning creolization. See GalleryDAAS here.

A practicing artist for more than 30 years, Edward West’s creative work includes photography, collage, and installation. His exhibitions include installations at the Smithsonian Institution, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Rose Art Museum in Boston, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Corcoran Gallery of American Art, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

For more information, click here.

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Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics

Posted in Africa, Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States on 2014-02-10 08:03Z by Steven

Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics

University of Minnesota Press
February 2014
304 pages
29 b&w photos
6 x 9
Cloth/jacket ISBN: 978-0-8166-8357-4

Lundy Braun, Royce Family Professor in Teaching Excellence and Professor of Medical Science and Africana Studies
Brown University

In the antebellum South, plantation physicians used a new medical device—the spirometer—to show that lung volume and therefore vital capacity were supposedly less in black slaves than in white citizens. At the end of the Civil War, a large study of racial difference employing the spirometer appeared to confirm the finding, which was then applied to argue that slaves were unfit for freedom. What is astonishing is that this example of racial thinking is anything but a historical relic.

In Breathing Race into the Machine, science studies scholar Lundy Braun traces the little-known history of the spirometer to reveal the social and scientific processes by which medical instruments have worked to naturalize racial and ethnic differences, from Victorian Britain to today. Routinely a factor in in clinical diagnoses, preemployment physicals, and disability estimates, spirometers are often “race corrected,” typically reducing normal values for African Americans by 15 percent.

An unsettling account of the pernicious effects of racial thinking that divides people along genetic lines, Breathing Race into the Machine helps us understand how race enters into science and shapes medical research and practice.

Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Measuring Vital Capacity
  • 1. “Inventing” the Spirometer: Working-Class Bodies in Victorian England
  • 2. Black Lungs and White Lungs: The Science of White Supremacy in the Nineteenth-Century United States
  • 3. Filling the Lungs with Air: The Rise of Physical Culture in America
  • 4. Progress and Race: Vitality in Turn-of-the-Century Britain
  • 5. Globalizing Spirometry: The “Racial Factor” in Scientific Medicine
  • 6. Adjudicating Disability in the Industrial Worker
  • 7. Diagnosing Silicosis: Physiological Testing in South African Gold Mines
  • Epilogue: How Race Takes Root
  • Notes
  • Index
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Obama’s Path Was Shaped by Mandela’s Story

Posted in Africa, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, South Africa, United States on 2013-12-06 16:36Z by Steven

Obama’s Path Was Shaped by Mandela’s Story

The New York Times
2013-12-05

Michael D. Shear

WASHINGTON — Without Nelson Mandela, there might never have been a President Obama.

That is the strong impression conveyed from Mr. Obama, whose political and personal bonds to Mr. Mandela, the former South African president, transcended their single face-to-face meeting, which took place at a hotel here in 2005.

It was the fight for racial justice in South Africa by Mr. Mandela that first inspired a young Barack Obama to public service, the American president recalled on Thursday evening after hearing that Mr. Mandela, the 95-year-old world icon, had died. Mr. Obama delivered his first public speech, in 1979, at an anti-apartheid rally.

Mr. Obama’s first moment on the public stage was the start of a life and political career imbued with the kind of hope that Mr. Mandela personified. “The day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears,” Mr. Obama said on Thursday.

“Hope” would eventually become the mantra for his ascension to the White House.

On two continents separated by thousands of miles and vastly different political cultures, the lives of the two men rarely intersected. Weeks before their only meeting, Mr. Obama wrote Mr. Mandela a letter that Oprah Winfrey carried to South Africa. As Mr. Obama later emerged as a national political leader, he and Mr. Mandela occasionally traded phone calls or letters.

But the trajectories of the two leaders, who broke political and social barriers in their own countries, were destined to be connected, even if mostly from afar. Mr. Obama wrote about Mr. Mandela as a distant but inspirational figure in the forward to Mr. Mandela’s 2010 book, “Conversations With Myself.”

“His sacrifice was so great that it called upon people everywhere to do what they could on behalf of human progress,” Mr. Obama wrote. “In the most modest of ways, I was one of those people who tried to answer his call.”

Mr. Mandela and Mr. Obama served as the first black leaders of their nations and both were looked to by some as the vehicles for reconciliation between polarized electorates. Both won the Nobel Peace Prize, in part for their charisma and their ability to inspire and communicate…

Read the entire article here.

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‘Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature’: A Reading

Posted in Africa, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2013-12-04 19:03Z by Steven

‘Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature’: A Reading

Denison University
A. Blair Knapp Hall
Room 201
300 Ridge Road
Granville, Ohio 43023

Thursday, 2013-12-05, 16:30 EST (Local Time)

The Women’s Studies Program welcomes Diana Mafe.

The Women’s Studies Program welcomes Diana Mafe reading from her new book, Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature: Coloring Outside the (Black and White) Lines. In this work, she examines the popular literary stereotype, the tragic mulatto, from a comparative perspective and considers the ways in which specific South African and American writers have used this controversial literary character to challenge the logic of racial categorization.

For more information, click here.

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Diana Mafe Publishes Book

Posted in Africa, Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2013-11-19 23:18Z by Steven

Diana Mafe Publishes Book

What’s Happening
Denison University, Department of English
2013-11-18

Diana Mafe, assistant professor of English, publishes her first book.

Diana Mafe, Assistant Professor of English, has published her first book, Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature: Coloring Outside the (Black and White) Lines (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). In this work, she argues that the recent celebration of the mixed race figure as an avatar of positive change for multiracial nations like South Africa and the United States overlooks the complex global trajectories that resulted in this watershed moment. She examines the popular literary stereotype of the tragic mulatto from a comparative perspective and considers the ways in which specific South African and American writers have used this controversial literary character to challenge the logic of racial categorization. The result is a transnational dialogue between these respective national literatures, both of which use tragic mulatto fiction as a locus for broader questions about race and belonging.

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English prof. Diana Mafe pens literary analysis of biracial blacks

Posted in Africa, Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, New Media, South Africa, United States on 2013-11-19 23:08Z by Steven

English prof. Diana Mafe pens literary analysis of biracial blacks

The Denisonian: Denison University’s student publication since 1857
Granville, Ohio
2013-11-19

Curtis Edmonds, Forum Editor

The United States is undoubtedly one of the most–if not the most–racially diverse country in the world, and seven percent of American children born in the last decade were bi- or multiracial. Denison English professor Diana Mafe, a Canada native, has a new book out that explores literary representations of biracial blacks in the United States and South Africa titled, “Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature: Coloring outside the (Black and White) Lines.”

Mafe’s book, which was published earlier this month, is a 150-page examination of feminist and queer theory as it applies to the American “mulattos” and the South African “coloureds,” different terms for the same subject: biracial children who are the offspring of black and white parents.

The first 40 pages or so act as both a history lesson and introduction to the topic. She describes how mulattos and coloureds came to be – through consensual and nonconsensual sexual relationships between white men and black or African women as a result of colonialism and slavery…

…Today, the mulatto literary trope continues to be popular. Mafe asserts that this is because the “mulatto embodies infinite binaries.” And, she’s right. What better character type to navigate right and wrong, good and bad, black and white, than a character who literally falls in the middle?…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature: Coloring Outside the (Black and White) Lines

Posted in Africa, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, South Africa, United States on 2013-11-19 22:55Z by Steven

Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature: Coloring Outside the (Black and White) Lines

Palgrave Macmillan
November 2013
208 pages
3 illustrations
5.500 x 8.500 inches
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-137-36492-0, ISBN10: 1-137-36492-0

Diana Adesola Mafe, Assistant Professor of English
Denison University

America’s new millennial interest in multiraciality coincides with South Africa’s post-apartheid push towards greater visibility as the Rainbow Nation. Here, Diana Adesola Mafe argues that the recent celebration of the mulatto as an avatar of positive change for multiracial nations like South Africa and the United States overlooks the complex global trajectories that resulted in this watershed moment. Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature examines the popular literary stereotype, the tragic mulatto, from a comparative perspective. Mafe considers the ways in which specific South African and American writers have used this controversial literary character to challenge the logic of racial categorization. The result is a transnational dialogue between these respective national literatures, both of which use tragic mulatto fiction as a locus for broader questions about race and belonging.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Tainted Blood: The ‘Tragic Mulatto’ Tradition
  • 1. God’s Stepchildren: The ‘Tragedy of Being a Halfbreed’ in South African Literature
  • 2. ‘An Unlovely Woman’: Bessie Head’s Mulatta (re)Vision
  • 3. ‘A Little Yellow Bastard Boy’: Arthur Nortje’s Mulatto Manhood
  • 4. Tragic to Magic?: Achmat Dangor’s Bitter Fruit
  • Conclusion: Playing in the Light
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“Not Tainted by the Past”: Re-Constructions and Negotiations of Coloured Identities Among University Coloured Students in Post- Apartheid South Africa

Posted in Africa, Campus Life, Dissertations, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2013-09-14 15:31Z by Steven

“Not Tainted by the Past”: Re-Constructions and Negotiations of Coloured Identities Among University Coloured Students in Post- Apartheid South Africa

University of Pittsburgh
2013
152 pages

Sardana Nikolaeva

The South African coloured identity is a profoundly complex construction that, on the one hand, is interpreted as an ambiguous and ‘in-between’ identity and, on the other hand, its own ambiguity and complexity provides multiple means and strategies of production and articulation within various contexts. This dissertation seeks to examine a production of multiple discourses by post-apartheid coloured youth in order to re-construct and negotiate their identities moving through various social contexts of everyday experiences within diverse university settings. Similarly to other minority and marginalized youth, coloured students produce various discourses and practices as the medium of counter-hegemonic formation and negotiation of their minoritized and marginalized identities. In this sense, coloured students implement produced discourses and practices as instrumental agency to create resistance and challenge the dominant discourses on their marginalized and minoritized identities, simultaneously determining alternate characteristics for the same identities. Turning to the current conceptualizations of coloured identities as heterogeneous, non-static and highly contextual, I analyze two dominant discourses produced by the coloured students: coloured as an ethnic/hybrid cultural identity and an adoption of an inclusive South African national identity, simultaneously rejecting coloured identity as a product of the apartheid social engineering. Additionally, integrating an ecological approach and ecology model of identity development, created and utilized by Renn (1998, 2004) in her work that explores how multiracial students construct their identities in the context of higher education, I develop an ecology model of coloured students’ identity development and present the data to determine what factors and opportunities, provided by microsystems, mesosystem, exosystems and macrosystem of identity development, are significant and how they influence coloured students’ identities production, development and negotiation in and out of the university environments. The dissertation analysis on coloured identities builds on nine months of ethnographic fieldwork in the Western Cape, South Africa, including limited participant observation and semi-structured interviews with the undergraduate and graduate coloured students of the University of the Western Cape and University of Stellenbosch, the Western Cape, South Africa.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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