Becoming American in Creole New Orleans: family, community, labor and schooling, 1896-1949

Posted in Dissertations, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-18 19:22Z by Steven

Becoming American in Creole New Orleans: family, community, labor and schooling, 1896-1949

University of Sussex
May 2015
371 pages

Darryl G. Barthé, Jr.

Doctorate of Philosophy in History

The Louisiana Creole community in New Orleans went through profound changes in the first half of the 20th-century. This work examines Creole ethnic identity, focusing particularly on the transition from Creole to American. In “becoming American,” Creoles adapted to a binary, racialized caste system prevalent in the Jim Crow American South (and transformed from a primarily Francophone/Creolophone community (where a tripartite although permissive caste system long existed) to a primarily Anglophone community (marked by stricter black-white binaries). These adaptations and transformations were facilitated through Creole participation in fraternal societies, the organized labor movement and public and parochial schools that provided English-only instruction. The “Americanization of Creole New Orleans” has been a common theme in Creole studies since the early 1990’s, but no prior study has seriously examined the cultural and social transformation of Creole New Orleans by addressing the place and role of public and private institutions as instruments and facilitators of Americanization. By understanding the transformation of Creole New Orleans, this thesis demonstrates how an historically mixed-race community was ultimately divided by the segregationist culture of the early-twentieth century U.S. South.

In addition to an extensive body of secondary research, this work draws upon archival research at the University of New Orleans’ Special Collections, Tulane University Special Collections, the Amistad Research Center, The Archdiocese of New Orleans, and Xavier University Special Collections. This thesis makes considerable use of census data, draws upon press reports, and brings to bear a wide assortment of oral histories conducted by the author and others.

Most scholars have viewed New Orleans Creoles simply as Francophone African Americans, but this view is limited. This doctoral thesis engages the Creole community in New Orleans on its own terms, and in its own idioms, to understand what “becoming American” meant for New Orleans Creoles between 1896-1949.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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A Creole melting pot: the politics of language, race, and identity in southwest Louisiana, 1918-45

Posted in Anthropology, Dissertations, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-06-17 18:04Z by Steven

A Creole melting pot: the politics of language, race, and identity in southwest Louisiana, 1918-45

University of Sussex
September 2015
353 pages

Christophe Landry

Doctorate of Philosophy in History

Southwest Louisiana Creoles underwent great change between World Wars I and II as they confronted American culture, people, and norms. This work examines that cultural transformation, paying particular attention to the processes of cultural assimilation and resistance to the introduction and imposition of American social values and its southern racial corollary: Jim Crow. As this work makes clear, the transition to American identity transmuted the cultural foundations of French- and Creole-speaking Creole communities. World War I signalled early transformative changes and over the next three decades, the region saw the introduction of English language, new industries, an increasing number of Protestant denominations, and the forceful imposition of racialized identities and racial segregation. Assimilation and cultural resistance characterized the Creole response, but by 1945, southwest Louisiana more closely resembled much of the American South. Creole leaders in churches, schools, and the tourism industry offered divergent reactions; some elite Creoles began looking to Francophone Canada for whitened ethnic identity support while others turned toward the Catholic establishment in Baltimore, Maryland to bolster their faith. Creoles were not the only distinct community to undergo Americanization, but Louisiana Creoles were singular in their response. As this study makes clear – in ways no historian has previously documented – Louisiana Creoles bifurcated as a result of Americanization. This study also contributes to, and broadens, the literature on Acadian identity. Previously, scholars simply assumed that whitened Latins in Louisiana had always identified with Acadia and their black-racialized brethren with Haiti. This thesis, however, suggests that Cajun and Creole are not opposites. Rather, they derive from the same people and culture, and their perceived and articulated difference emerged in response to Americanization. Through a critical analysis of that bifurcation process, this thesis demonstrates how Acadianized identity and culture emerged in the first half of the 20th century.

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A Genetic Fallacy: Monstrous Allegories of Mixed-Race in Gothic and Contemporary Literature

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2016-06-14 20:25Z by Steven

A Genetic Fallacy: Monstrous Allegories of Mixed-Race in Gothic and Contemporary Literature

University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
2016
119 pages

Rylan Spenrath

A Thesis Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies of the University of Lethbridge in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts

My thesis examines the similar intersections of hybridity that are embodied in both representations of monstrosity and the politics surrounding people of mixed-race. Drawing from Robert J.C. Young’s text Colonial Desire, I argue that monstrosity and mixed-race present diachronically parallel embodiments of hybridity. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen views monsters as “disturbing hybrids whose externally incoherent bodies resist attempts to include them in any systematic structuration” (loc 226); however, monsters and multiracial people do not inherently disturb category. Gothic representation of monstrosity in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde confirms that hybridity can be exploited in order to strengthen colonial categories of Self and Other. Postmodern monstrosity in Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and Octavia Butler’s Imago, complicate ostensibly rigid categories of identity only for the Gothic binary to resurface beneath the masks of superheroes and supervillains.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgements
  • List of Figures
  • Introduction: The Intersection of Hybridity, Multiculturalism, and Monstrosity
  • Chapter One: Hybridity Unsettled: Gothic Monstrosity and the Uncanny Valley
  • Chapter Two: Distinctly Ambivalent: Category Crisis and the Postmodern Monster
  • Chapter Three: Monster Masks: Monstrosity in the Superhuman Genre
  • Conclusion
  • References

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Charles Chesnutt Racial Relation Progression Throughout Career

Posted in Biography, Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-24 21:09Z by Steven

Charles Chesnutt Racial Relation Progression Throughout Career

Cleveland State University
May 2011
60 pages

Lindy R. Birney

Submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree Master of English

Charles Chesnutt began his career with an ideology that race should not be a category in which to judge others. He felt that through literature he could help influence society and help create a less racial centric civilization. His career began with positive reviews from short story publications in multiple magazines. However, most critics and readers at the time did not know of Chesnutt’s racial background. It was not until his second collection of short stories that Chesnutt revealed the truth about his heritage. After his success with The Conjure Woman and The Wife of His Youth (both published in 1899), Chesnutt began to assert his political agenda more aggressively into his writing. His second novel The Marrow of Tradition (1901) received very poor reviews; critics were repulsed by Chesnutt’s revolutionary philosophies concerning the racial caste system. The poor reception of Chesnutt’s three novels forced him to retire from a literary career. Years later, during the Harlem Renaissance, a time of prolific African American writers, Chesnutt was disappointed in the baseness of black characters in literature. He scolded Harlem Renaissance writers for their lack of strong black characters, but Chesnutt’s short stories that were published in The Crisis also lacked the racial uplift that he so desperately sought. Chesnutt’s intensity of racial relation literature had dwindled over time and he left it to the next generation of writers to fulfill the social agenda that his literature was never able to achieve.

Read the entire thesis here.

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The Experiences of Mixed-Race Students In An Urban Area

Posted in Campus Life, Dissertations, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-09 13:49Z by Steven

The Experiences of Mixed-Race Students In An Urban Area

University of Nebraska, Lincoln
2012
189 pages
ISBN: 9781267282132

Germaine W. Huber
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Mixed-race children are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, and it is essential that educators are aware of the unique experiences of this student population. The purpose of this phenomenological research study was to examine the experiences of mixed-race students in relation to their racial identity formation, their social emotional development, and their academic experiences within urban public schools Educators who have a better understanding of the life experiences of these students have a greater ability to create positive relationships, a caring environment, and effective teaching strategies for the classroom that can lead to greater academic success for these students. Twenty mixed-race participants between the ages of 19–36 years were interviewed. Themes that emerged from the analysis of the interview transcripts included: Identity Factors; Adversity; Rewards; Family Relationships and Support; School Interactions; Peers, and Suggested Academic Supports. Participants shared childhood and teen experiences with families, peers and in the school environment that influenced their identity and social development. They identified numerous challenges and strengths related to their mixed-race identity and offered strategies educators can use to assist mixed-race students. Their responses provide an inside look of the unique realities experienced by this student population during their elementary and secondary school years.

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An inquiry on racial, ethnic, and national identity among ‘mixed race’ persons of Indian and Fijian descent

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Dissertations, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science on 2016-02-17 19:48Z by Steven

An inquiry on racial, ethnic, and national identity among ‘mixed race’ persons of Indian and Fijian descent

University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji
February 2015
149 pages
DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.5141.7360

Rolando Alonzo Cocom

A thesis submitted in fulfillment of the partial requirements for the completion of Master of Arts in Sociology

This explorative research provides an interpretive understanding of racial, ethnic, and national identity among ‘mixed race’ persons of Indian and Fijian descent in Suva, Fiji. This study was motivated by three research questions: (1) How do ‘mixed race’ Indian-Fijians identify themselves with an ethnic label or labels? (2) How do they identify with the term ‘Fijian’, given its recent institutionalization as a national identity construct? and (3) What do such experiences and views tell us about the racialization and politicization of identity in Fiji? Answers to these questions were interpreted from information generated during multiple individual and group interviews with ten ‘mixed race’ participants in Suva, who were accessed through the snowballing sampling method.

The study contributes to the discourse of identity in Fiji by presenting for the first time the experiences and opinions of being a ‘mixed race’ Indian-Fijian in a social context where political events and social structures have demarcated a set of dichotomized in-group and out-group relations and practices. It also contributes to the field of Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS) and to contemporary political debates in light of the underrepresentation of literature from the South Pacific region; the limited literature on ‘mixed race’ in Fiji; and the recent state policy to classify all citizens with the term ‘Fijian’. Based on the interviews conducted, this research demonstrates how the participants reinforced, resisted, and accommodated the social structures and discursive practices of identity in Fiji.

Read the entire thesis here.

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Infiltrating the colonial city through the imaginaries of Metissage: Saint-Louis (Senegal), Saint-Pierre (Martinique) and Jeremie (Haiti)

Posted in Africa, Caribbean/Latin America, Dissertations, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2016-02-06 00:46Z by Steven

Infiltrating the colonial city through the imaginaries of Metissage: Saint-Louis (Senegal), Saint-Pierre (Martinique) and Jeremie (Haiti)

University of Iowa
August 2015
281 pages

Avonelle Pauline Remy, Assistant Professor of French
Hope College, Holland, Michigan

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in French and Francophone World Studies in the Graduate College of The University of Iowa

In this dissertation, I investigate the ways in which the phenomenon of racial and cultural hybridity inform and alter the social, political and cultural fabric of three creole cities of significant colonial influence, namely Saint-Louis of Senegal, Saint-Pierre of Martinique and Jérémie of Haiti during and after the colonial era. In particular, I examine the relevance of the French colonial city not only as a nexus of relational complexity but also as an ambiguous center of attraction and exclusion where multiple identities are created and recreated according to the agendas that influence these constructions. In order to articulate the main hypotheses of my thesis, I explore the key historical and social catalysts that have led to the emergence of Saint-Louis, Saint-Pierre and Jérémie as original creole cities.

Through the critical analyses of contemporary literatures from Senegal, Martinique and Haiti by Fanon, Sadji, Boilat, Mandeleau, Confiant, Chamoiseau, Salavina, Bonneville, Moreau de Saint-Méry, Desquiron, and Chauvet and films by Deslauriers and Palcy, I illustrate the dynamics of creolization within the context of the French colonial city. I argue that the city engenders new narratives and interpretations of métissage that scholars have often associated with the enclosed space of the plantation.

My dissertation intends to prove that the three French colonial cities of Saint-Louis, Saint-Pierre and Jérémie offer distinct interpretations and practices of processes of cultural and ethnic métissage. I propose that a correlation albeit a dialectical one, exists between the development of the French colonial city and the emergence of the mulattoes as a distinct class, conscious of its economic, sexual and political agency. I suggest that the French colonial city, represents both a starting point and a space of continuity that permits new forms of ethnic and cultural admixture. The articulation of such mixtures is made evident by the strategic positioning and creative agency of the mulatto class within the colonial city.

The phenomenon of métissage is certainly not a novel subject as evidenced by the plethora of theories and studies advanced by scholars and intellectuals. My research is thus part of an existing critical literary corpus in Postcolonial and Francophone Studies and is inscribed within the theoretical framework of Creolization. My research observes from a historical, comparative and literary perspective, metis presence and consciousness in three specific spaces where colonial authority has been imposed, challenged, resisted and even overpowered (in the case of Haiti). My study therefore analyses the creative agency articulated by the metis ethnoclass in the colonial city and counters the claim of a passive assimilated group.

As an in-between group, mulatto’s access to social, economic and political upward mobility are impeded by their ambiguous positioning within the larger community. Consequently, they resort to unconventional means that I refer to rather as creative ingeniousness in order to survive. Scholars usually focus on these “unconventional” practices as immoral rather than as strategies of self-reinvention and revalorization. As a result, representations of cultural and ethnic interconnections and hybridity are often projected in fragmentary ways. The figure of the metis women for example is overly represented in studies on métissage while metis men receive very little attention. My thesis thus intends to decenter narratives on métissage from the women and implicate equally the creative agency of metis males.

My thesis expands on the complexities that inform processes of métissage during pre-colonial Saint-Louis in the early seventeenth century, Saint-Pierre from the period 1870-1902 and Jérémie during the dictatorship of Francois Duvalier. It examines further the city as a space that engenders new narratives and interpretations of the processes of creolization. Processes of métissage or creolization have often been described as the results of violent encounters that were colonial and imperial. Moreover, these clashes were inscribed within the enclosed space of the plantation.

The city, representation of European pride and greed is an ambiguous space that attracts even as it excludes. Projected as an active commercial, economic and cultural hub, the city is soon engulfed by mass emigration. That site where the European image and culture is imposed, quickly evolves into a complex and chaotic web of human and material interaction giving rise to a complex creolized atmosphere. I propose that practices of métissage in the city are distinct from those generated in the belly of the slave ships, in the trading houses of Sub-Saharan Africa and on the sugar plantations of the French Antilles.

I conclude with a look at the present context of métissage, I rethink the significance of racial and cultural hybridity in relation to contemporary cultural and social theories such as creolization, creoleness, and transculturation in articulating, interpreting and decoding a world in constant transformation.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Identity and racial ambiguity in Danzy Senna’s Caucasia

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-01-27 03:26Z by Steven

Identity and racial ambiguity in Danzy Senna’s Caucasia

North Carolina Central University
2015
82 pages

Carole Bonita Montgomery

Set in 1970s Boston, Danzy Senna’s novel, Caucasia (1998) centers around biracial Birdie Lee, whose racial identity is complex as she defines and redefines herself from her youth through young adulthood. Birdie and Cole Lee are daughters of Deck, an African American college professor, and Sandy Lee, a radical activist and educator who homeschools their daughters. The younger sister, Birdie, is very light-skinned, and people commonly mistake her for white, while Cole is often perceives as solely black. The girls do not notice this distinction until external forces, people, and institutions bring it to their attention. This thesis discusses Senna’s dramatization of Birdie Lee’s struggles with her own racial identity in 1970s America. As a first-person narrator, Birdie gives voice to Americans of her generation and younger who are able to be black, white, or both. The journey towards identity is a difficult for anyone; however, Senna highlights her convoluted path as this young biracial American detours from the conventional tragic mulatto’s outcome of self-destruction. Ultimately, Birdie embraces her double heritage and her skin tone, becoming a voice for the millennial mulatto.

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Contested Identities: Racial Indeterminacy and Law in the American Novel, 1900-1942

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-01-27 03:14Z by Steven

Contested Identities: Racial Indeterminacy and Law in the American Novel, 1900-1942

University of Connecticut
2014-05-08

Rebecca S. Nisetich

In Contested Identities, I chart the path of the legal and literary discourses on racial identity, codified by the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision and culturally ascendant in the early decades of the twentieth century. In this period, a group of American writers produced fiction that implicitly challenged this legal and cultural discourse. My project explores the literary productions of Charles W. Chesnutt, Nella Larsen, and William Faulkner—three writers who undermine, question, and critique the legal and social practices that seek to define and contain individual identities in binary terms. Specifically, in Contested Identities I explore why Chesnutt, Larsen, and Faulkner create characters whose identities are not clearly articulated, defined, or knowable, and why they intentionally position these figures in relation to the law.

At the center of each of these texts there remains a void where racial information might be clearly articulated, defined, or corroborated, but isn’t. This enables Chesnutt, Larsen, and Faulkner to underscore an unresolved tension between what must be true and what cannot be known, a dynamic which throws into relief the maddening complexity of human experience in opposition to cut-and-dry legal and popular definitions of “race,” which operate under the assumption that blood proportions are easily known, and that specific blood proportions determine identity. I argue that it is racial indeterminacy that animates these writers’ explorations of identity, and that it is the fundamental theme that binds these characters and texts together. The law treats race as a matter of identity; my dissertation argues that the law is instead a crucial factor in the formation of the racial identity of individual characters.

Available for download here on or after 2024-05-01.

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Minorities’ Perceptions of Minority-White Biracials: The Role of Identification for Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Responses

Posted in Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-01-23 21:21Z by Steven

Minorities’ Perceptions of Minority-White Biracials: The Role of Identification for Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Responses

City University of New York
2014-06-03
134 pages

Sabrica Barnett

A dissertation submitted to the Graduate Faculty in Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, the City University of New York

Research on intergroup relations has a rich history in social psychology, with scholars devoting a considerable effort investigating factors that influence stereotyping, prejudice and discriminatory behavior. The results of these studies suggest that individuals’ cognitions, affect, and behaviors are affected by their own group memberships as well as the groups to which others belong. People generally view the groups that they belong to (their ingroup) positively, and view the groups that others belong to (outgroups) stereotypically (Tajfel & Turner, 1986). However, much of the research on social identification and subsequent perceptions has focused on socially distinct groups rather than groups that blur categorical boundaries. As such, there is a dearth of research on how individuals identify with and perceive people who belong to multiple racial groups.

To address this gap in the literature, I investigated minorities’ identification with minority-White biracials, as well as the downstream cognitive (warmth and competence stereotypes), affective (pride, shame), and behavioral (facilitation, distancing) consequences of identification across three studies. Results demonstrated that Black (Study 1) and Hispanic (Study 2) participants were equally identified with biracials and other ingroup members (Blacks, Hispanics), and were less identified with outgroup members (Whites). In contrast, White participants (Study 1) were most identified with other White people, least identified with Black people, and moderately identified with Black-White biracial people.

Moreover, Black participants stereotyped Blacks and Black-White biracials as equally warm and competent (Study 1); Hispanic participants felt equally proud of and were equally willing to help Hispanics and Hispanic-White biracials (Study 2); and both Black and Hispanic participants felt equally ashamed when a Black or Hispanic and Black-White or Hispanic-White biracial person acted in a stereotypically negative manner, and wanted to distance themselves from the wrongdoer (Study 3). In contrast, minorities perceived Whites less positively across measures of stereotypes, emotions and behaviors. Finally, consistent with self-categorization theory (Turner et al., 1987), minorities’ identification with minority-White biracials predicted their group-based stereotypes, emotions and behaviors. These results make an important contribution to the limited work on perceptions of biracial people, and extend previous research regarding the role of identification for intergroup perceptions.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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