Afro-Brazilian Jewish Women: Female centaurs transgressing the borderlands

Posted in Anthropology, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Dissertations, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, Women on 2022-09-06 02:04Z by Steven

Afro-Brazilian Jewish Women: Female centaurs transgressing the borderlands

San Diego State University
Spring 2008
148 pages

Abby Suzanne Gondek

A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of San Diego State University In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts in Women’s Studies

Once I began my research in the synagogue in Salvador, Brazil, I met men and women of color who considered themselves Jewish, even when the rabbi and other congregants did not. I was especially interested in the stories of the Jewish women of color I met. Their passion for Judaism, desire to raise their children Jewish, and their insistence on claiming both identities – Black and Jewish – in the face of rejection from “white” Jewish communities and non-Jewish Afro-Brazilian communities, as well as their families, spoke to me deeply and I felt compelled to shift the focus of my thesis. I began to ask the question Aurora Levins Morales poses in “The Historian as Curandera,” “‘If women are assumed to be the most important people in the story, how will that change the questions we ask?’”

Because Brazil has consistently made efforts to make Jews into symbols of otherness and at the same time rhetorically valued the “mulatto” identity as a symbol of brasilidade (“Brazilianness”), Jews are seen as foreign parasites, light-skinned Blacks are portrayed as symbols of “authentic” Brazilian identity, dark-skinned Blacks are invisible, and Jews and Blacks are irreparably separated from each other. In addition, the rhetorical valuation of the “mulata” and the devaluation of the Jew, places the Black Jewish women I interviewed, who fit into the “ mulata” category because they are lighter-skinned black women, in between what is symbolically valued and devalued in Brazil, literally in the border between “us” and “them.”

Moacyr Scliar’s use of the centaur to describe Brazilian Jews’ position in the borderlands and Gloria Anzaldua’s use of the image of women “caught in the crossfire” are both transformed by the inclusion of Misty Anderson’s exploration of the transgressive meanings of the woman centaur. The Afro-Brazilian Jewish women I interviewed are spiritual, religious, sexual, and racial transgressors. They are “caught in the crossfire” between multiple communities and identities, but they assert their agency to break the barriers that surround them, to live how they want to live.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Sovereign Joy: Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens, 1539-1640

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Religion on 2022-08-25 01:01Z by Steven

Sovereign Joy: Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens, 1539-1640

Cambridge University Press
June 2022
Hardback ISBN: 9781316514382
eBook ISBN: 9781009086905

Miguel A. Valerio, Assistant Professor of Spanish
Washington University, St Louis, Missouri

Sovereign Joy explores the performance of festive black kings and queens among Afro-Mexicans between 1539 and 1640. This fascinating study illustrates how the first African and Afro-creole people in colonial Mexico transformed their ancestral culture into a shared identity among Afro-Mexicans, with particular focus on how public festival participation expressed their culture and subjectivities, as well as redefined their colonial condition and social standing. By analyzing this hitherto understudied aspect of Afro-Mexican Catholic confraternities in both literary texts and visual culture, Miguel A. Valerio teases out the deeply ambivalent and contradictory meanings behind these public processions and festivities that often re-inscribed structures of race and hierarchy. Were they markers of Catholic subjecthood, and what sort of corporate structures did they create to project standing and respectability? Sovereign Joy examines many of these possibilities, and in the process highlights the central place occupied by Africans and their descendants in colonial culture. Through performance, Afro-Mexicans affirmed their being: the sovereignty of joy, and the joy of sovereignty.

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction: Sovereign Joy
  • 1. ‘With their king and queen’: Early Colonial Mexico, the Origins of Festive Black Kings and Queens, and the Birth of the Black Atlantic
  • 2. ‘Rebel Black Kings (and Queens)’?: Race, Colonial Psychosis, and Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens
  • 3. ‘Savage Kings’ and Baroque Festival Culture: Afro-Mexicans in the Celebration of the Beatification of Ignatius of Loyola
  • 4. ‘Black and Beautiful’: Afro-Mexican Women Performing Creole Identity
  • Conclusion: Where did the black court go?
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Back to race, not beyond race: multiraciality and racial identity in the United States and Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2022-06-23 14:37Z by Steven

Back to race, not beyond race: multiraciality and racial identity in the United States and Brazil

Comparative Migration Studies
Volume 10, Article Number 22 (2022)
DOI: 10.1186/s40878-022-00294-0

Jasmine Mitchell, Associate Professor of American Studies and Media
State University of New York-Old Westbury, Old Westbury, New York

In contrast to discourses of multiraciality as leading to a future beyond race, this commentary looks at how multiracial discourses and symbols underline race. Taking an overview of multiracial discourses and identities in relation to Blackness in the United States and Brazil, this commentary examines the deployment of multiraciality to maintain white supremacy. Under global capitalism, United States multicultural discourses, and Latin American foundational narratives, multiracial peoples are often propped up as a solution to racism, the eradication of race, or reduced to racial binaries centering whiteness. The section ends with considerations of how fears of racial passing and fraud coincide with multiracial identities. Questions for further consideration on the nexus of political identities and racial identities are proposed in relation to multiraciality.

Read the entire article in HTML or PDF format.

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Podcast Season 2 Episode 8: Centering Garifuna in the African Diaspora

Posted in Anthropology, Audio, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2022-05-16 22:28Z by Steven

Podcast Season 2 Episode 8: Centering Garifuna in the African Diaspora

Dialogues in Afrolatinidad
2022-05-04

Michele Reid-Vazquez, Host and Associate Professor
Department of Africana Studies
University of Pittsburgh

In this episode of Dialogues in Afrolatinidad, Dr. Paul Joseph López Oro, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Smith College talks with our host Dr. Michele Reid-Vazquez about his research on Garifuna migration and different meanings of Black identity. The conversation also touches upon Afro-Latinx communities in the United States, their relations with African-Americans, and issues of queer identity in these communities.

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Blackness in Mestizo America: The Cases of Mexico and Peru

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science on 2022-05-16 18:54Z by Steven

Blackness in Mestizo America: The Cases of Mexico and Peru

Latino(a) Research Review
Volume 7, Number 1 (2008)
pages 30-58

Tanya Golash-Boza, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Merced

Christina A. Sue, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Colorado, Boulder

In the PBS film series, Black in Latin America, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. takes on the ambitious task of depicting blackness in six countries – the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru – to a primarily “American” audience. Given that Latin America and the Caribbean have the largest concentration of persons of African descent outside of Africa, the documentary is an important one. Gates’ coverage of “blackness”1 in these countries is comprehensive, spanning from the time of slavery to the present, with a primary focus on the cultural contributions, social experiences, and identities of individuals of African descent in these regions. However, Gates’ research traditionally has not focused on race in Latin America and, as scholars positioned more centrally in this field, we found some of his characterizations and treatment of the topic to be problematic. In this and the following commentary articles, scholars of race in the featured countries engage in a critical analysis of the documentary.

We begin with an examination of Gates’ presentation of blackness in Mexico and Peru. In contrast to the other countries featured in the series, Mexico and Peru fall within mestizo America; their populations are mainly comprised of mestizos2 and Indigenous peoples and they have relatively small populations of African descent. Moreover, blackness is marginalized in the historical narratives and national ideologies (state-sponsored belief systems) of these countries. Consequently, many people are unaware of the nations’ African heritage. The film endeavors to expose this hidden history…

Read the entire article here.

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Between Brown and Black: Anti-Racist Activism in Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2022-05-13 14:59Z by Steven

Between Brown and Black: Anti-Racist Activism in Brazil

Rutgers University Press
2022-05-13
190 pages
1 b&w iillustration
6 x 9
Paperback ISBN: 9781978808522
Cloth ISBN: 9781978808539
EPUB ISBN: 9781978808546
PDF ISBN: 9781978808560
Kindle ISBN: 9781978808553

Antonio José Bacelar da Silva, Assistant Professor
Center for Latin American Studies
University of Arizona, Tucson

With new momentum, the Brazilian black movement is working to bring attention to and change the situation of structural racism in Brazil. Black consciousness advocates are challenging Afro-Brazilians to define themselves and politically organize around being black, and more Afro-Brazilians are increasingly doing so. Other segments of the Brazilian black movement are working to influence legislation and implement formal mechanisms that aim to promote racial equality, including Affirmative Action Racial Verification Committees. For advocates of these committees, one needs to be phenotypically black enough to be a more likely target of racism to qualify for Affirmative Action programs. Paradoxically, individuals are told to identify as black but only some people are considered black enough to benefit from these policies. Afro-Brazilians are presented with a whole range of identity choices, from how to classify oneself, to whether one votes for political candidates based on shared racial experiences. Between Brown and Black argues that Afro-Brazilian activists’ continued exploration of blackness confronts anti-blackness while complicating understandings of what it means to be black. Blending linguistic and ethnographic accounts, this book raises complex questions about current black struggles in Brazil and beyond, including the black movements’ political initiatives and antiracist agenda.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • 1. Black into Brown, Brown into Black: Afro-Brazilians Grapple with Racial Categorization
  • 2. The Language of Afro-Brazilian Antiracist Socialization
  • 3. Performing Ancestors, Claiming Blackness
  • 4. Becoming an Antiracist or “As Black as We Can Be”
  • 5. Who Can Be Black for Affirmative Action Programs in Brazil?
  • 6. The Complex Calculus of Race and Electoral Politics in Salvador
  • Conclusion: Afro-Brazilians’ Black and Brown Antiracism
  • Acknowledgements
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index
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Latinx Files: When Mexicans became ‘White’-ish

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Mexico, Slavery, Texas, United States on 2022-05-12 16:41Z by Steven

Latinx Files: When Mexicans became ‘White’-ish

The Los Angeles Times
2022-05-12

Fidel Martinez

“We didn’t receive the rights of white people, only the illusion.” (Martina Ibáñez-Baldor / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

Hi folks, Fidel here. Every once in a while, I’ll ask a guest writer to take over the main story. We’ve experimented with formats here and there — we recently ran an illustration — and this week it’s no different. Below is an excerpt from Julissa Arce’s memoir, “You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation.”

The first colonizers to arrive in what is now the United States were not the pilgrims in 1620. It was the Spanish, who came to New Mexico in 1598. The oldest capital in the country, Santa Fe, was founded in 1610 by a Spaniard who was born in Mexico. This is not a point of pride but a part of our complicated story. Along with Spanish colonizers looking for riches, priests looking for souls to save, many Indigenous people came as well — some as servants, others forcibly to quench the lust of men, some as wives, and many more for endless other reasons.

After gaining its independence from Spain, Mexican authorities attempted to increase the population in its northern territory — a land that stretched all the way up the west coast of California and across to the Rocky Mountains — and so welcomed Anglo immigrants. By 1834, more than 30,000 of them lived in Texas, heavily outnumbering the Mexican population of 7,800.*

Mexico abolished African slavery in 1829, before the U.S. Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but those Anglo immigrants had brought with them more than 5,000 enslaved people in violation of Mexican law. This is where the story needs some revision. Texas’ independence from Mexico and eventual annexation into the United States is often told as a freedom fight. But Anglo Texans wanted to be “free” in order to keep Black people enslaved. They became legends while stealing Black bodies, stealing Mexican land, and terrorizing native Tejanos. The Mexicans who stayed in Texas were treated as second-class citizens, an attitude that still pollinates along with the bluebonnets, their stories lost to white historians. The horrors that Mexicans suffered in Texas at the hands of Anglos have been buried in forgotten graves, in cemeteries that no longer exist. However, in Texas history classes, Davy Crockett, William B. Travis, and Jim Bowie die heroes at the Alamo, killed by the vicious Mexican army — a story still retold in museums and textbooks. They were visitors, undocumented immigrants even, and by proclaiming self-rule, they forced Mexico into war….

Read the entire article here.

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Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice on 2022-05-07 21:43Z by Steven

Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media

University of Illinois Press
2022-04-26
152 pages
6 x 9 in
12 black & white photographs
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-252-04441-0
Paper ISBN: 978-0-252-08648-9
eBook ISBN: 978-0-252-05340-5

Reighan Gillam, Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of Southern California

A new generation of Afro-Brazilian media producers have emerged to challenge a mainstream that frequently excludes them. Reighan Gillam delves into the dynamic alternative media landscape developed by Afro-Brazilians in the twenty-first century. With works that confront racism and focus on Black characters, these artists and the visual media they create identify, challenge, or break with entrenched racist practices, ideologies, and structures. Gillam looks at a cross-section of media to show the ways Afro-Brazilians assert control over various means of representation in order to present a complex Black humanity. These images–so at odds with the mainstream–contribute to an anti-racist visual politics fighting to change how Brazilian media depicts Black people while highlighting the importance of media in the movement for Black inclusion.

An eye-opening union of analysis and fieldwork, Visualizing Black Lives examines the alternative and activist Black media and the people creating it in today’s Brazil.

Watch IRAAS Conversations | Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro Brazilian Media on YouTube (01:26:36) here.

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The Capital of Free Women: Race, Legitimacy, and Liberty in Colonial Mexico

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Women on 2022-04-21 17:01Z by Steven

The Capital of Free Women: Race, Legitimacy, and Liberty in Colonial Mexico

Yale University Press
2022-04-12
296 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
9 b/w illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 9780300258066

Danielle Terrazas Williams, Lecturer in the School of History
University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

A restoration of the agency and influence of free African-descended women in colonial Mexico through their traces in archives

The Capital of Free Women examines how African-descended women strove for dignity in seventeenth-century Mexico. Free women in central Veracruz, sometimes just one generation removed from slavery, purchased land, ran businesses, managed intergenerational wealth, and owned slaves of African descent. Drawing from archives in Mexico, Spain, and Italy, Danielle Terrazas Williams explores the lives of African-descended women across the economic spectrum, evaluates their elite sensibilities, and challenges notions of race and class in the colonial period.

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The White Indians of Mexican Cinema

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2022-04-21 17:00Z by Steven

The White Indians of Mexican Cinema: Racial Masquerade throughout the Golden Age

State University of New York Press
April 2022
326 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9781438488035

Mónica García Blizzard, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese
Emory University, Atlantic, Georgia

The White Indians of Mexican Cinema theorizes the development of a unique form of racial masquerade—the representation of Whiteness as Indigeneity—during the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, from the 1930s to the 1950s. Adopting a broad decolonial perspective while remaining grounded in the history of local racial categories, Mónica García Blizzard argues that this trope works to reconcile two divergent discourses about race in postrevolutionary Mexico: the government-sponsored celebration of Indigeneity and mestizaje (or the process of interracial and intercultural mixing), on the one hand, and the idealization of Whiteness, on the other. Close readings of twenty films and primary source material illustrate how Mexican cinema has mediated race, especially in relation to gender, in ways that project national specificity, but also reproduce racist tendencies with respect to beauty, desire, and protagonism that survive to this day. This sweeping survey illuminates how Golden Age films produced diverse, even contradictory messages about the place of Indigeneity in the national culture.

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