We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories about Passing in America

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, History, Judaism, Latino Studies, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Religion on 2017-07-21 19:06Z by Steven

We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories about Passing in America

Beacon Press
2017-10-10
224 Pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-080707898-3
Ebook ISBN 978-080707899-0
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 Inches

Edited by:

Brando Skyhorse, Associate Professor of English
Indiana University, Bloomington

Lisa Page, Acting Director of Creative Writing
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Fifteen writers reveal their diverse experiences with passing, including racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, and economic.

American history is filled with innumerable examples of “passing.” Why do people pass? The reasons are manifold: opportunity, access, safety, adventure, agency, fear, trauma, shame. Some pass to advance themselves or their loved ones to what they perceive is a better quality of life.

Edited by authors Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page, We Wear the Mask is a groundbreaking anthology featuring fifteen essays—fourteen of them original—that examine passing in multifaceted ways. Skyhorse, a Mexican American, writes about how his mother passed him as an American Indian before he gradually learned and accepted who—and what—he really is. Page writes about her mother passing as a white woman without a black ex-husband or biracial children. The anthology also includes essays by Marc Fitten, whose grandfather, a Chinese Jamaican, wanted to hide his name and ethnicity and for his children to pass as “colored” in the Caribbean; Achy Obejas, a queer Jewish Cuban woman who discovers that in Hawaii she is considered white. There’s M. G. Lord, who passes for heterosexual after her lesbian lover is killed; Patrick Rosal, who, without meaning to, “passes” as a waiter at the National Book Awards ceremony; and Sergio Troncoso, a Latino man, who passes for white at an internship on Capitol Hill. These and other compelling essays reveal the complex reality of passing in America.

Other contributors include:

  • Teresa Wiltz, who portrays how she navigated racial ambiguity while growing up in Staten Island, NY
  • Trey Ellis, the author of “The New Black Aesthetic,” who recollects his diverse experiences with passing in school settings
  • Margo Jefferson, whose parents invite her uncle, a light-complexioned black man, to dinner after he stops passing as white
  • Dolen Perkins-Valdez, who explores how the glorification of the Confederacy in the United States is an act of “historical passing”
  • Gabrielle Bellot, who feels the disquieting truths of passing as a woman in the world after coming out as trans
  • Clarence Page, who interrogates the phenomenon of “economic passing” in the context of race
  • Susan Golomb, a Jewish woman who reflects on the dilemma of having an identity that is often invisible
  • Rafia Zakaria, a woman who hides her Muslim American identity as a strategy to avoid surveillance at the airport
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Through an Indian’s Looking-Glass: A Cultural Biography of William Apess, Pequot

Posted in Biography, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion, United Kingdom on 2017-07-16 01:50Z by Steven

Through an Indian’s Looking-Glass: A Cultural Biography of William Apess, Pequot

University of Massachusetts Press
January 2017
310 pages
16 b&w illustrations
6.125 x 9.25
Paper ISBN: 978-1-62534-259-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-62534-258-4

Drew Lopenzina, Associate Professor of English
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia

New insights on an important Native American writer

The life of William Apess (1798–1839), a Pequot Indian, Methodist preacher, and widely celebrated writer, provides a lens through which to comprehend the complex dynamics of indigenous survival and resistance in the era of America’s early nationhood. Apess’s life intersects with multiple aspects of indigenous identity and existence in this period, including indentured servitude, slavery, service in the armed forces, syncretic engagements with Christian spirituality, and Native struggles for political and cultural autonomy. Even more, Apess offers a powerful and provocative voice for the persistence of Native presence in a time and place that was long supposed to have settled its “Indian question” in favor of extinction.

Through meticulous archival research, close readings of Apess’s key works, and informed and imaginative speculation about his largely enigmatic life, Drew Lopenzina provides a vivid portrait of this singular Native American figure. This new biography will sit alongside Apess’s own writing as vital reading for those interested in early America and indigeneity.

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Disciples of Christ elect first woman of color to lead a mainline denomination

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Women on 2017-07-12 03:20Z by Steven

Disciples of Christ elect first woman of color to lead a mainline denomination

The Christian Century
2017-07-10

Celeste Kennel-Shank


Teresa Hord Owens after her election as head of the Disciples of Christ on July 9, 2017. Photo by Mary Ann Carter.

Despite all the talk of mainline decline, Teresa Hord Owens, the first woman of color to serve as top executive of a mainline denomination, is not in survival mode.

“The life that we will find is continuing to be relevant to a society that deeply needs to see hope,” she said.

The Indianapolis-based Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) elected Owens, a descendant of one of Indiana’s oldest free settlements of African Americans, as its general minister and president on Sunday evening. The denomination, which has 600,000 members in the United States and Canada, has been led for 12 years by Sharon Watkins, who at her election in 2005 was the first woman to be top executive of a mainline body…

Read the entire article here.

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HERstory: Denomination to elect first Black, female leader

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2017-07-11 01:53Z by Steven

HERstory: Denomination to elect first Black, female leader

Indianapolis Recorder
2017-07-06

Ebony Marie Chappel


Rev. Teresa Hord Owens

Editor’s Note: On July 9, the Disciples of Christ elected Rev. Teresa Hord Owens to lead the denomination. While Rev. Owens is the first Black woman to lead a mainline Protestant organization in a solo capacity, we failed to mention Rev. Denise Anderson. Anderson, a Black woman, was elected co-moderator of the Pentecostal Church (U.S.A.) last year alongside Jan Edmiston. This marked the first time that the P.C. (USA) elected women as moderators and elected two co-moderators of either sex. The P.C.(USA) traditionally elects a moderator and vice-moderator. 

In a matter of days, Rev. Teresa Hord Owens will become the general minister and president of the Disciples of Christ. The appointment, pending an election on July 9 during the Disciples of Christ General Assembly in Indianapolis, will make Owens the first Black woman to lead a mainline Protestant denomination in North America.

“Her nomination represents an opportunity for us to continue the important transformation of the church,” said Chris Dorsey, Disciples of Christ president of higher education and leadership ministries. “We seek to be a church that is more inclusive and more holistic, and she is the right person to help us do that.”

Owens, a native Hoosier, was raised in Terre Haute and is a direct descendant of the free people of color who founded the Lost Creek settlement in Vigo County. She has been an active member of the Disciples denomination since she was a young adult, when she and her mother moved to Indianapolis and attended Second Christian, now known as Light of the World Christian Church…

Read the entire article here.

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Hawaiian by Birth: Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and U.S. Colonialism in the Pacific

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Oceania, Religion, United States on 2017-07-10 03:12Z by Steven

Hawaiian by Birth: Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and U.S. Colonialism in the Pacific

University of Nebraska Press
September 2017
240 pages
21 photographs, 7 illustrations, 1 map, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8032-8589-7

Joy Schulz, Instructor of History
Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, Nebraska

Twelve companies of American missionaries were sent to the Hawaiian Islands between 1819 and 1848 with the goal of spreading American Christianity and New England values. By the 1850s American missionary families in the islands had birthed more than 250 white children, considered Hawaiian subjects by the indigenous monarchy and U.S. citizens by missionary parents. In Hawaiian by Birth Joy Schulz explores the tensions among the competing parental, cultural, and educational interests affecting these children and, in turn, the impact the children had on nineteenth-century U.S. foreign policy.

These children of white missionaries would eventually alienate themselves from the Hawaiian monarchy and indigenous population by securing disproportionate economic and political power. Their childhoods—complicated by both Hawaiian and American influences—led to significant political and international ramifications once the children reached adulthood. Almost none chose to follow their parents into the missionary profession, and many rejected the Christian faith. Almost all supported the annexation of Hawai‘i despite their parents’ hope that the islands would remain independent.

Whether the missionary children moved to the U.S. mainland, stayed in the islands, or traveled the world, they took with them a sense of racial privilege and cultural superiority. Schulz adds children’s voices to the historical record with this first comprehensive study of the white children born in the Hawaiian Islands between 1820 and 1850 and their path toward political revolution.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Imperial Children and Empire Formation in the Nineteenth Century
  • 1. Birthing Empire: Economies of Childrearing and the Establishment of American Colonialism in Hawai‘i
  • 2. Playing with Fire: White Childhood and Environmental Legacies in Nineteenth-Century Hawai‘i
  • 3. Schooling Power: Teaching Anglo–Civic Duty in the Hawaiian Islands, 1841–53
  • 4. Cannibals in America: U.S. Acculturation and the Construction of National Identity in Nineteenth-Century White Immigrants from the Hawaiian Islands
  • 5. Crossing the Pali: White Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and the Racial Divide in Hawai‘i, 1820–98
  • Conclusion: White Hawaiians before the World
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Black Religious Movements and Religio-Racial Identities during the Great Migration

Posted in Audio, History, Interviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2017-07-09 21:17Z by Steven

Black Religious Movements and Religio-Racial Identities during the Great Migration

The Religious Studies Program
2017-06-26

In this podcast, Judith Weisenfeld talks to Brad Stoddard about her new book, New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Depression. In this book, Weisenfeld explores several social groups in the early 1900s who combined religious and racial rhetoric to fashion new identities. These groups include the Nation of Islam, the Moorish Science Temple, and Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement, and various Ethiopian Hebrews. These groups are not new to scholars of American religious history; however, Weisenfeld’s original analysis combined with her use of previously overlooked sources combine to tell a new and compelling story about these familiar groups.

Listen to the podcast (00:33:25) here. Download the podcast here. Read the transcript here.

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Defining Métis: Catholic Missionaries and the Idea of Civilization in Northwestern Saskatchewan, 1845–1898

Posted in Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion on 2017-05-18 01:27Z by Steven

Defining Métis: Catholic Missionaries and the Idea of Civilization in Northwestern Saskatchewan, 1845–1898

University of Manitoba Press
April 2017
240 pages
6 × 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-88755-774-3

Timothy P. Foran, Curator of British North America
Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, Quebec

Defining Métis examines categories used in the latter half of the nineteenth century by Catholic missionaries to describe Indigenous people in what is now northwestern Saskatchewan. It argues that the construction and evolution of these categories reflected missionaries’ changing interests and agendas.

Defining Métis sheds light on the earliest phases of Catholic missionary work among Indigenous peoples in western and northern Canada. It examines various interrelated aspects of this work, including the beginnings of residential schooling, transportation and communications, and relations between the Church, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and the federal government.

While focusing on the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and their central mission at Île-à-la-Crosse, this study illuminates broad processes that informed Catholic missionary perceptions and impelled their evolution over a fifty-three-year period. In particular, this study illuminates processes that shaped Oblate conceptions of sauvage and métis. It does this through a qualitative analysis of documents that were produced within the Oblates’ institutional apparatus—official correspondence, mission journals, registers, and published reports.

Foran challenges the orthodox notion that Oblate commentators simply discovered and described a singular, empirically existing, and readily identifiable Métis population. Rather, he contends that Oblates played an important role in the conceptual production of les métis.

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The Death of Race: Building a New Christianity in a Racial World

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Philosophy, Religion on 2017-05-04 20:42Z by Steven

The Death of Race: Building a New Christianity in a Racial World

Fortress Press
2016-11-01
182 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781506408880
Ebook ISBN: 9781506408897
5.50 x 8.50

Brian Bantum, Associate Professor of Theology
Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, Washington

Brian Bantum says that race is not merely an intellectual category or a biological fact. Much like the incarnation, it is a “word made flesh,” the confluence of various powers that allow some to organize and dominate the lives of others. In this way, racism is a deeply theological problem, one that is central to the Christian story and one that plays out daily in the United States and throughout the world.

In The Death of Race, Bantum argues that our attempts to heal racism will not succeed until we address what gives rise to racism in the first place: a fallen understanding of our bodies that sees difference as something to resist, defeat, or subdue. Therefore, he examines the question of race, but through the lens of our bodies and what our bodies mean in the midst of a complicated, racialized world, one that perpetually dehumanizes dark bodies, thereby rendering all of us less than God’s intention.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Race Is a Story Written on My Body
  • 2. Bodies Matter
  • 3. Naked and Ashamed
  • 4. This Is My Body, Born for You
  • 5. Jesus Walks
  • 6. Jesus Makes Us Free to Become Like Mary
  • 7. Race Must Die
  • 8. There Is Life in the Tomb
  • Epilogue
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The first real New Orleans saint? Henriette Delille’s path to canonization

Posted in Articles, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Women on 2017-04-30 00:56Z by Steven

The first real New Orleans saint? Henriette Delille’s path to canonization

The Times-Picayune
2017-03-02

Kim Chatelain


Portrait of Henriette Delille. This “carte de visite” albumen photo was taken by New Orleans photographer A. Constant at his studio on Hospital Street (now Governor Nichols). It’s the only known portrait of Delille.

It was 2011, and Archbishop Gregory Aymond was seeking a sacred antidote to the violence, murder and racism infesting his hometown. He turned to a venerable figure in New Orleans history, but a person only vaguely known to even the most ardent Roman Catholics, and composed a prayer that is now recited at every local Mass. It ends with the plea: “Mother Henriette Delille, pray for us that we may be a holy family.”

Unknown to many Catholics, the object of their prayers was a French-speaking woman of African descent. She was born in 1812 and grew up in the 500 block of Burgundy Street, and she lived a part of her life as a mistress in a social system known as placage, whereby wealthy white European men entered relationships with free women of color to circumvent laws against interracial marriage.

After the deaths of her two young children born through a concubine relationship, however, Delille at age 24 formally rejected the societal norms and experienced a religious transformation that eventually led to the formation of the Sisters of the Holy Family order. The community of Creole nuns provided care for those on the bottom rung of antebellum society, administering to the elderly, nursing the sick and teaching people of color who at the time had limited education opportunities. To this day, Holy Family nuns continue to serve out the mission launched in the mid-1800s by doing good works around the globe.

Now, 175 years after she founded the order, Delille stands at the doorstep of sainthood. If canonized, she will become the first New Orleanian, and the first U.S.-born black person, to be recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church…

Read the entire article here.

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Belgian church apologizes for role in mistreating mixed-race people

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Religion on 2017-04-29 01:38Z by Steven

Belgian church apologizes for role in mistreating mixed-race people

National Catholic Reporter
2017-04-28

Jonathan Luxmoore, Catholic News Service

Oxford, EnglandBelgium’s Catholic Church has apologized for its role in mistreating mixed-race people, who were born in colonial times to European fathers and African mothers and later taken away for adoption.

“The history of many metis, born of a Congolese, Rwandan or Burundian mother and a white father (serving) in one of these countries, is an obscure episode of Belgian colonization,” the bishops’ conference said in an April 26 statement.

“These children were long designated pejoratively as ‘mulattoes,’ while the colonial authorities, both civil and ecclesiastical, considered them a real problem. … We express regret for the part played in this by the Catholic Church.”

The statement was published after an official church apology was delivered by Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp during an April 25 symposium in the Belgian Senate

Read the entire article here.

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