The Heart of Whiteness: Interracial Marriage and White Masculinity in American Fiction, 1830-1905

Posted in Dissertations, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-08-16 00:58Z by Steven

The Heart of Whiteness: Interracial Marriage and White Masculinity in American Fiction, 1830-1905

Washington University in St. Louis
August 2015
201 pages

Lauren M. W. Barbeau

A dissertation presented to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences of Washington University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Building on whiteness scholars’ notion that whiteness can be gained, my dissertation argues that a property in whiteness, and its attendant privileges, can be lost. By examining representations of interracial marriage in American literature between 1830 and 1905, I identify marriage across the color line as one of the primary modes through which white men can lose their privilege. Interracial marriage violates what I term the marriage contract, a tri-party agreement between man, woman, and nation that guaranteed democratic rights to white men and privileges to their dependents in return for white-white marriage. Men who violated this contract by marrying exogamously suffered the loss of their property in whiteness. Literary depictions of interracial marriage occur most frequently within a genre of fiction critics have termed “tragic mulatta” plots. While these plots have served as important sites for exploring black femininity in the nineteenth century, I call attention to the presence of the white male characters, or white suitors, who court the mulattas and play key roles in making the narrative tragedy possible. The white suitor faces his own tragedy as his involvement with a black lover leads to his identity crisis and subsequent loss of privilege. Antebellum and postbellum, black and white, egalitarian and racist authors alike shared an interest in how interracial marriage affects white masculinity. I conclude that this topic interested authors during the nineteenth century because the white suitor and his tragedy provided a proxy through which to contemplate the nation’s own identity crisis as it approached, survived, and recovered from a civil war that questioned the United States’ self-identification as “a white man’s country.”

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: The Un-Making of a White Man: The Marriage Contract and Intermarriage
  • Chapter 1: “We are All Intermingled, without Regard to Colour”: Amalgamation Debates, White Privilege, and the Rise of Interracial Marriage Plots in the 1830s and ’40s
  • Chapter 2: “Manhood Rights” and Marriage Rites: Whiteness as Property in Clotel and The Garies and Their Friends
  • Chapter 3: “The Perfection of the Individual is the Sure Way to Regenerate the Mass”: Reconstructing White Masculinity in A Romance of the Republic
  • Chapter 4: Caught in a Bad Romance: Interracial Marriage and the White Male Identity Crisis in The Chamber over the Gate and The Clansman
  • Coda: “An Insurmountable Barrier between Us”: The Decline of Interracial Marriage Plots and the Rise of Passing
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Multiraciality Enters the University: Mixed Race Identity and Knowledge Production in Higher Education

Posted in Campus Life, Dissertations, Media Archive, United States on 2016-07-11 17:07Z by Steven

Multiraciality Enters the University: Mixed Race Identity and Knowledge Production in Higher Education

University of Maryland
2016
DOI: 10.13016/M2QB78

Aaron Allen

“Multiraciality Enters the University: Mixed Race Identity and Knowledge Production in Higher Education,” explores how the category of “mixed race” has underpinned university politics in California, through student organizing, admissions debates, and the development of a new field of study. By treating the concept of privatization as central to both multiraciality and the neoliberal university, this project asks how and in what capacity has the discourses of multiracialism and the growing recognition of mixed race student populations shaped administrative, social, and academic debates at the state’s flagship universities—the University of California at Berkeley and Los Angeles. This project argues that the mixed race population symbolizing so-called “post-racial societies” is fundamentally attached to the concept of self-authorship, which can work to challenge the rights and resources for college students of color. Through a close reading of texts, including archival materials, policy and media debates, and interviews, I assert that the contemporary deployment of mixed race within the US academy represents a particularly post-civil rights development, undergirded by a genealogy of U.S. liberal individualism. This project ultimately reveals the pressing need to rethink ways to disrupt institutionalized racism in the new millennium.

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Picking Sides: An Exploratory Documentary on Multiraciality

Posted in Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-07-08 02:44Z by Steven

Picking Sides: An Exploratory Documentary on Multiraciality

Arizona State University
December 2015

Amanda Catherine Cavazos

Multiracial individuals are the fastest growing demographic group in the United States. In order to explore and gain insight into how mixed-race individuals understand and negotiate their identity, this project includes a documentary of compiled interviews with multiracial individuals. These interviews seek to address both positive and problematic notions associated with identifying as mixed race/multi-ethnic, including issues that these individuals encounter if, and when, the dominant culture rejects their blended racial heritage. The video format allows individuals to convey the complicated nature of belonging to different groups of people that are hierarchically divided in the United States.

For more information, click here.

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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.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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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

Read the entire thesis here.

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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.

Order the dissertation here.

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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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