The Importance of Being Turbaned

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2022-05-21 22:25Z by Steven

The Importance of Being Turbaned

The Antioch Review
Volume 69, Number 2, Spring 2011
pages 208-221

Paul A. Kramer, Associate Professor of History
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

This narrative piece, selected by The Best American Essays 2012 as a “notable essay,” tells the story of Rev. Jesse Routté, an African American Lutheran minister in New York who, in response to racist abuse during a 1943 trip to Mobile, Alabama, returned four years later disguised as a turbaned, Swedish-accented “foreigner.” When he reported positive treatment, it flaunted contradictions in Jim Crow’s racial definitions.

Read the entire article here.

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

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Mexico, Monographs, Religion on 2022-05-16 22:13Z by Steven

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

Cambridge University Press
August 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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Impact of the forgotten black Europeans

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery on 2022-05-13 15:39Z by Steven

Impact of the forgotten black Europeans

Islington Tribune
London, United Kingdom
2022-05-12

Angela Cobbinah

The Chevalier de St George

Scholars, poets, writers, composers… a new book focuses on the wide influence of Africa abroad, writes Angela Cobbinah

ALESSANDRO de Medici, Duke of Florence, virtuoso 18th-century French violinist and composer Joseph Bologne and 1922 world light heavyweight boxing champion Battling Siki from France via Senegal are probably people we know little about, if at all.

They are part of a forgotten European past explored by Olivette Otele in her scholarly book, African Europeans, which travels through time to reveal how trade, war, slavery and colonialism resulted in a black presence in Europe from as far back as the third century.

This is where Otele, professor of the history and memory of slavery at Bristol University, kicks off, telling the story of St Maurice, Egyptian leader of a Roman legion who was famously executed for refusing to crush a Christian revolt in Gaul.

Celebrated as a martyr across Germany, he is clearly represented as an African in a statue at Magdeburg Cathedral and other church iconography.

Black saints and Madonnas appeared across Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries, perhaps Otele speculates, to symbolise the transformative power of the Catholic Church in converting those it considered heathen…

Read the entire review here.

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African Europeans: An Untold History

Posted in Biography, Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, Slavery on 2022-05-13 14:57Z by Steven

African Europeans: An Untold History

Basic Books
2021-05-04
304 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781541619678
eBook ISBN-13: 9781541619937
Audiobook Downloadable ISBN-13: 9781549136627

Olivette Otele, Professor of History of Slavery and Memory of Enslavement
University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom

Conventional wisdom holds that Africans are only a recent presence in Europe. But in African Europeans, renowned historian Olivette Otele debunks this and uncovers a long history of Europeans of African descent. From the third century, when the Egyptian Saint Maurice became the leader of a Roman legion, all the way up to the present, Otele explores encounters between those defined as “Africans” and those called “Europeans.” She gives equal attention to the most prominent figures—like Alessandro de Medici, the first duke of Florence thought to have been born to a free African woman in a Roman village—and the untold stories—like the lives of dual-heritage families in Europe’s coastal trading towns.

African Europeans is a landmark celebration of this integral, vibrantly complex slice of European history, and will redefine the field for years to come.

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New History Finally Recognizes Afro-Creole Spiritualists

Posted in Articles, History, Interviews, Louisiana, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2022-05-13 01:23Z by Steven

New History Finally Recognizes Afro-Creole Spiritualists

Religion Dispatches
2016-09-20

Paul Harvey, Distinguished Professor of History
University of Colorado

“Ladder of Progress,” a drawing added to the archive of the Cercle Harmonique by René Grandjean, the circle’s first archivist.

Emily Clark’s new work, A Luminous Brotherhood, is an extensive study of a subject that has weirdly been neglected in scholarship: the career of the Afro-Creole Spiritualist Cercle Harmonique from 1858 to 1877. Religious studies scholar Clark has thoroughly mined the records of the Cercle, kept at the University of New Orleans, and produced one of the most important recent works I have seen in race and religion in American history.

By focusing on Afro-Creole Spiritualism in New Orleans, we get an extended, as well as intimate, look at how one very particular group, mostly men and free people of color, envisioned their ideal society through the voices of spirit mediums.

In doing so, they drew from French thinkers and historical experiences (including everyone from Rousseau, Robespierre, and Lamennais to the French and Haitian Revolutions), and applied those to the construction of what they referred to as “the Idea”—a republican society that would achieve liberty, equality and fraternity even in an American society burdened by slavery and racism since its birth.

I had a conversation with Clark, reflecting both on the book as well as on broader questions of race, religion and politics…

Read the entire interview here.

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A New Book for Those Who Cling to a “Post-Racial” Christianity

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2022-05-12 20:10Z by Steven

A New Book for Those Who Cling to a “Post-Racial” Christianity

Religion Dispatches
2017-02-17

In The Death of Race, Brian Bantum explores the theological underpinnings of cultural understandings of race and gender.

What inspired you to write The Death of Race?

Truthfully, this wasn’t the book I had wanted to write right now. There is a tendency for theologians who write about race to become penned in. My first book, Redeeming Mulatto: A Theology of Race and Christian Hybridity, is certainly a book about race. But even more, it is a Christology. For my second book, I wanted to write something that would be read apart from the primary lens of race. But then Ferguson happened, then Baltimore, and every successive summer seemed to press the reality of race and the church. There are so many good books that have come from folks in or associated with the Black Lives Matter movement that I wasn’t sure what I could add to the conversation.

But as I taught and read and listened, I began to see how various Christian responses to police brutality—and racism and sexism more broadly—were grounded in various theological stories that shaped American Christians and how they saw the world. At the same time, I was thinking about my three sons, who were 17, 15, and 11 when I started writing. We had been talking about everything that was happening in the world, and I wondered how I could help them understand the Christian story in the midst of this. Why was the world like this, and why does Jesus matter?..

Read the entire interview here.

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Choosing Us: Marriage and Mutual Flourishing in a World of Difference

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2022-05-12 19:52Z by Steven

Choosing Us: Marriage and Mutual Flourishing in a World of Difference

Brazos Press (an imprint of Baker Publishing Group)
March 2022
160 pages
5.5 x 8.5
Hardcover ISBN: 9781587435379
e-Book ISBN: 9781493435227

Gail Song Bantum, Lead Pastor
Quest Church, Seattle, Washington

Brian Bantum, Neil F. and Ila A. Professor of Theology
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois

For years, people have asked Gail Song Bantum and Brian Bantum to reveal the secret to their marriage as a multiracial Christian couple, each with a high-profile ministry calling. This book reveals the lessons, mistakes, and principles that have helped the Bantums navigate race, family history, and gender dynamics in their twenty-plus years of marriage, while inspiring readers to pursue mutual flourishing in their marriages and relationships.

Marriage is about more than constant bliss or unending sacrifice, say the Bantums. It’s about exploring your own story, seeing the other for who they are (even as they change), and being flexible in discovering how those differences and stories come alive in new ways when joined together. It’s the discovery of life in the gaps and the mysteries that emerge when we live in mutuality, believing that fullness is possible for each.

Choosing Us reflects the realities and demands of modern marriage and respects the callings and ambitions of both partners. It shows that marriage is about choosing the other’s flourishing on a daily basis, amid differences and even systemic obstacles, to build a relationship that thrives and reflects the kingdom of God.

Contents

  • Prologue: Our Why
  • 1. The Plan
  • 2. Learning the Other
  • 3. Race and Belonging
  • 4. It’s a Man’s World? Gender and Marriage from a Man’s Perspective
  • 5. Glass Bulbs and Rubber Balls: Gender and Marriage from a Woman’s Perspective
  • 6. Our Golden Rule
  • 7. Covenant for Community
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Changing from Visibility to Invisibility—An Intersectional Perspective on Mixedness in Switzerland and Morocco

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Religion, Social Science on 2022-04-20 20:37Z by Steven

Changing from Visibility to Invisibility—An Intersectional Perspective on Mixedness in Switzerland and Morocco

Genealogy
Volume 6, Issue 2 (2022) (Special Issue: Beyond the Frontiers of Mixedness: New Approaches to Intermarriage, Multiethnicity, and Multiracialism)
DOI: 10.3390/genealogy6020030
17 pages

Gwendolyn Gilliéron, Associate Research Fellow
University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, Grand Est, France

In the context of intermarriage, mixedness can take different forms. Most often, it refers to a mix of class, religion, nationality, ethnicity or race in a couple. In this article, I go beyond a separate analysis of categories, analyzing the interrelation of these factors. The article discusses how and under which circumstances mixed children become visible in Switzerland and Morocco using a comparative and intersectional approach to mixedness. Based on 23 biographical narrative interviews, I analyze three situations of stigmatization: racialization, language practices and othering due to religious affiliation. Stigmatization processes due to mixedness, it is argued, are a relational phenomenon depending not only on markers such as ‘race’, ethnicity and religion but also on their interplay with gender, class, language and biographical experiences. The results suggest that mixed individuals have found creative ways to navigate their visibility: they normalize their binational origin, look for alternative spaces of belonging, emphasize their ‘Swiss-ness’ or ‘Moroccan-ness’, use languages to influence their social positioning or acquire knowledge about their binational origin in order to confront stigmatizations. The study reveals further that processes of othering due to mixedness are not only an issue in ‘Western’ societies that look back on a long history of immigration and have pronounced migration discourses. Even in Morocco, a country where immigration has so far been a marginal phenomenon, the importance of social hierarchies for the positioning of people of binational origin is evident.

Read the entire article in HTML or PDF format.

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Blood and Boundaries: The Limits of Religious and Racial Exclusion in Early Modern Latin America

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion on 2022-03-21 19:51Z by Steven

Blood and Boundaries: The Limits of Religious and Racial Exclusion in Early Modern Latin America

Brandeis University Press
2020-11-01
212 pages
5.5 x 8.5 in.
Cloth ISBN: 9781684580194

Stuart B. Schwartz, George Burton Adams Professor of History
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

In Blood and Boundaries, Stuart B. Schwartz takes us to late medieval Latin America to show how Spain and Portugal’s policies of exclusion and discrimination based on religious origins and genealogy were transferred to their colonies in Latin America. Rather than concentrating on the three principal divisions of colonial society—Indians, Europeans, and people of African origins—as is common in studies of these colonial societies, Schwartz examines the three minority groups of moriscos, conversos, and mestizos. Muslim and Jewish converts and their descendants, he shows, posed a special problem for colonial society: they were feared and distrusted as peoples considered ethnically distinct, but at the same time their conversion to Christianity seemed to violate stable social categories and identities. This led to the creation of “cleanliness of blood” regulations that explicitly discriminated against converts. Eventually, Schwartz shows, those regulations were extended to control the subject indigenous and enslaved African populations, and over time, applied to the growing numbers of mestizos, peoples of mixed ethnic origins. Despite the efforts of civil and church and state institutions to regulate, denigrate, and exclude, members of these affected groups often found legal and practical means to ignore, circumvent, or challenge the efforts to categorize and exclude them, creating in the process the dynamic societies of Latin America that emerged in the nineteenth century.

Contents

  • Contents
  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Moriscos: Real, Occasional, and Imaginary Muslims
  • Conversos: The Mestizos of Faith
  • Mestizos: “A Monster of . . . Many Species”
  • Notes
  • Index
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Growing up, as a mixed race child, with survivor grandparents

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Europe, History, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2022-03-15 22:27Z by Steven

Growing up, as a mixed race child, with survivor grandparents

Forward
2022-03-08

Kyla Kupferstein
Oakland, California

Courtesy of Kyla Kupferstein
Kyla with her grandmother Fela and grandfather Hershl

As a child growing up in the 1970s and 80s, my younger brother David and I did everything in Manhattan: it was where we lived, went to school and played with our friends.

Except for the weekends when my parents would take us to visit my grandparents in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. Buba Fela and Zayda Hershl lived in the Amalgamated Houses on Sedgwick Avenue – a cooperative apartment complex that functioned like a reassembled shtetl, a Yiddish-speaking community of Jews from Eastern Europe who had somehow escaped or survived the Nazi genocide and lived to tell the tale.

As my brother and I (known at our grandparents’ home as Kylashi and Davittle) sat at our grandparents’ kitchen table, we were fed a steady diet of Holocaust talk. “The war,” they called it, when they spoke English, which they did only for us. Hitler, Stalin, the camps – all these were a part of their normal vocabulary. And their neighbors, some who had been my grandparents’ friends back in Warsaw, most of them Bundists ranging from agnostic to atheist, were the closest thing to an extended family that we had.

Unlike many other survivors who kept silent because they couldn’t bear to revisit the atrocities, everyone in this community told their stories openly; we waited for those stories, just as we waited for Buba’s misshapen cookies and trips to the sprinklers in Van Cortlandt Park. Countless times we heard the story of how they left: when young men were urged to leave Warsaw because of Hitler’s imminent arrival, my Zayda, Herschel, decided he couldn’t leave without his love, Fela. Her grandfather quickly married them, and they fled to Russia, innocently believing it would be safe for them as socialists. But they were arrested at the Russian border, and then jailed separately in Stalin’s prisons in Siberia

Read the entire article here.

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