Constructing Dialogue, Constructing Identites: Mixed Heritage Identity Construction in “Half and Half”

Posted in Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2012-07-25 20:15Z by Steven

Constructing Dialogue, Constructing Identites: Mixed Heritage Identity Construction in “Half and Half”

Georgetown University
55 pages

Anissa Jane Sorokin

A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Georgetown University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Language and Communication

This paper examines how mixed heritage authors featured in the book Half and Half use constructed dialogue, also known as reported speech, to construct their identities as bi-ethnic, bi-racial, and bi-cultural individuals. Constructed dialogue, which is often representative of previous social interactions, functions frequently as a tool for identity construction in a literary form, strongly suggesting that mixed heritage identity is in many ways formed through talk. Through constructed dialogue, narrators can explain how what was said has contributed to who they feel they are, and often allows them to portray themselves as agents who take an active role in forming identities. Authors use constructed dialogue to convey stances that signal distance from a group, alignment with a group, or a sense of living a dual-culture identity. The analysis of constructed dialogue in Half and Half adds to an understanding of how mixed heritage narrators see themselves in relation to the world around them, and vividly highlights the role words may play in the constructions of their identities.

Table of Contents

    • 2.1 Defining Reported Speech
    • 2.2 Reported Speech as a Misnomer
    • 2.3 Layers of Voices in Constructed Dialogue
    • 2.4 Reported Speech and Identity Construction
    • 2.5 The Importance of Context
    • 2.6 What is Autobiography?
    • 2.7 Some Notes on Ethnicity, Race, and Mixed Heritage People
    • 3.1 What Kind of a Book is Half and Half?
    • 3.2 Data Collection and Analysis
    • 4.1 What Are You? Where Are You From?
    • 4.2 Questioning Authenticity
    • 4.3 Identifying as the Other: Early Experiences with Racial Name-Calling
    • 4.4 Constructing Mixed Heritage Identity Through Linguistic Features

Read the entire thesis here.

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HIST 387 004: Inventing the Nation in Latin America

Posted in Caribbean/Latin America, Course Offerings, History, Media Archive, United States on 2012-07-25 02:15Z by Steven

HIST 387 004: Inventing the Nation in Latin America

George Mason University
Spring 2012

Matt Karush, Associate Professor of History

Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Latin Americans have struggled to define themselves and their nations. This quest for identity has involved governments, intellectuals, and artists, but also ordinary men and women. And the results have been extremely varied: whereas many nineteenth-century liberals dreamed of whitening or Europeanizing their populations, some revolutionaries and nationalists argued that the future lay in a glorious mixing of the European and indigenous or African races. This course will trace this history of identity formation and ask a series of key questions: Why did some formulations of race and nation gain acceptance in some places but not in others? What impact did these identities have on people’s lives? How have ideas about race and nation been expressed in popular culture? In addition to work by historians, we will be examining many primary sources: novels, essays, films, and music. We will focus particular attention on the cases of Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, and Brazil.

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Blackness in Argentina: Jazz, Tango and Race Before Perón*

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2012-07-25 02:05Z by Steven

Blackness in Argentina: Jazz, Tango and Race Before Perón*

Past and Present
Volume 216, Issue 1 (August 2012)
pages 215-245
DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gts008

Matthew B. Karush, Associate Professor of History
George Mason University

On the question of race and nation, the dominant Latin American paradigm has never applied to Argentina. In Mexico, Brazil and elsewhere, twentieth-century nationalists crafted ideologies of mestizaje that broke with European and North American models by celebrating the indigenous or African as crucial elements in a new racial mixture. Yet most Argentine intellectuals rejected this sort of hybridity and instead constructed national identities that were at least as exclusionary as those produced by their North American counterparts. The only mixtures they countenanced were those that followed from European immigration. Just as the United States was a ‘melting pot’, Argentina was a crisol de razas (crucible of races), in which Spaniards, Italians and other immigrant groups were fused into a new nation. This ideology, visible in the well-known aphorism that ‘Argentines descend from ships’, marginalized Argentines of indigenous and African descent and eventually erased them from national consciousness. As George Reid Andrews showed over thirty years ago, the alleged disappearance of the once-substantial Afro-Argentine population of Buenos Aires was at least as much the product of this ideological manoeuvre as it was the result of miscegenation, war and disease. Only recently has Argentina’s status as a white nation begun to be openly contested.

Nevertheless, even if non-whites have been pushed off the historical stage, race remains a pervasive category in Argentine society. The word ‘negro’ is a commonplace in everyday speech, functioning both as a hateful insult and, paradoxically, as a term of endearment. Equally mysteriously, the insult usually alludes to indigenous rather than African ancestry. Typically, these usages are traced to the Peronist era. During his first two terms in office (1946–55), Juan Perón built a powerful working-class movement that challenged the nation’s hierarchies. Perón’s opponents attacked his followers in racial terms, labelling them cabecitas negras (little blackheads)…

Read or purchase the article here.

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Racial Theories (2nd Edition)

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2012-07-25 01:52Z by Steven

Racial Theories (2nd Edition)

Cambridge University Press
April 1998
264 pages
Dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
Paperback ISBN:9780521629454

Michael Banton, Emeritus Professor of Sociology
University of Bristol

This thoroughly revised and updated edition of Michael Banton’s classic book reviews historical theories of racial and ethnic relations and contemporary struggles to supersede them. It shows how eighteenth- and nineteenth-century concepts of race attempted to explain human difference in terms of race as a permanent type and how these were followed by social scientific conceptions of race as a form of status. In a new concluding chapter, “Race as Social Construct,” Michael Banton makes the case for a historically sensitive social scientific understanding of racial and ethnic groupings that operates within a more general theory of collective action and is, therefore, able to replace racial explanations as effectively as they have been replaced in biological science. This book is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand contemporary debates about racial and ethnic conflict. This new edition is thoroughly updated and contains a new chapter on developments in recent years.


  • Reviews history of racial theories and place of race in history of science
  • Proposes new social science of racial and ethnic relations
  • Distinguishes racial and ethnic explanations and puts contemporary ideas in historical perspective

Table of Contents

  1. Race as designation
  2. Race as lineage
  3. Race as type
  4. Race as subspecies
  5. Race as status
  6. Race as class
  7. Race as social construct
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Brazil’s New Racial Politics

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2012-07-25 01:41Z by Steven

Brazil’s New Racial Politics

Lynne Rienner Publishers
251 pages
ISBN: 978-1-58826-666-8

Edited by:

Bernd Reiter, Associate Professor of Political Science
University of South Florida

Gladys L. Mitchell (Gladys Mitchell-Walthour), Assistant Professor of Political Science
Denison University, Granville, Ohio

As the popular myth of racial equality in Brazil crumbles beneath the weight of current grassroots politics, how will the country redefine itself as a multiethnic nation? Brazil’s New Racial Politics captures the myriad questions and problems unleashed by a growing awareness of the ways racism structures Brazilian society.

 The authors bridge the gap between scholarship and activism as they tackle issues ranging from white privilege to black power, from government policy to popular advocacy, and from historical injustices to recent victories. The result is a rich exploration of the conflicting social realities characterizing Brazil today, as well as their far-reaching political implications.


  • Foreword—Michael Mitchell.
  • 1. The New Politics of Race in Brazil—Bernd Reiter and Gladys L. Mitchell.
    • 2. Whiteness as Capital: Constructing Inclusion and Defending Privilege—Bernd  Reiter.
    • 3. Politicizing Blackness: Afro-Brazilian Color Identification and Candidate Preference—Gladys L. Mitchell
    • 4. Out of Place: The Experience of the Black Middle Class—Angela Figueiredo.
    • 5. The Political Shock of the Year: The Press and the Election of a Black Mayor in São Paulo—Cloves Luiz Pereira Oliveira.
    • 6. Affirmative Action and Identity—Seth Racusen.
    • 7. Opportunities and Challenges for the Afro-Brazilian Movement—Mónica Treviño González.
    • 8. Racialized History and Urban Politics: Black Women’s Wisdom in Grassroots Struggles—Keisha-Khan Y. Perry.
    • 9. Black NGOs and “Conscious” Rap: New Agents of the Antiracism Struggle in Brazil—Sales Augusto dos Santos.
    • 10. Power and Black Organizing in Brazil—Fernando Conceição.
    • 11. New Social Activism: University Entry Courses for Black and Poor Students—Renato Emerson dos Santos.
    • After the Racial Democracy—Bernd Reiter and Gladys L. Mitchell.
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