Assimilation and Racialism in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century French Colonial Policy

Posted in Articles, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2009-12-24 22:21Z by Steven

Assimilation and Racialism in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century French Colonial Policy

The American Historical Review
Volume 110, Number 2

Saliha Belmessous, Research Fellow of History
University of Syndey

Although the idea of race is increasingly being historicized, its emergence in the context of French colonization remains shadowy. This is despite the fact that colonization was central to the emergence of race in French culture. The French are either credited with a generous vision and treatment of Amerindians or they are kept in limbo. The publication of Richard White’s Middle Ground in 1991 shook up these conventional ideas by showing that French conciliation toward indigenous peoples had to be explained by particular political and economic factors rather than by national character. Yet the issue of race has remained almost untouched, and French America has still not taken its place in the current debate about race, color, and civility.

The present essay is an empirical contribution to the discussion on the origins of European racialism as applied to colonial situations. It argues that racial prejudice in colonial Canada emerged only after an assimilationist approach had been tried for almost a century and had failed. In the seventeenth century, French policy toward the indigenous peoples of New France relied on the assimilation of the natives to French religion and culture. The aim was to mix colonial and native peoples in order to strengthen the nascent New France. This policy of francisation (sometimes translated as “Frenchification”) was based on a paternalistic vision of cultural difference: the French officials viewed the Amerindians as “savages,” socially, economically, and culturally inferior to the Europeans. As such, they had to be educated and brought to civility. This policy remained the official “native policy” employed throughout the period of the French regime in Canada despite the internal tensions and contradictions displayed by French officials. Historians have traditionally emphasized the implementation of this policy by missionaries and, consequently, have neglected or, at best, diminished the significance of francisation for civil authorities. The conversion of Amerindians to Christianity was undoubtedly an important part of the policy of francisation, but that importance has been overstated: francisation was more a political program than a religious one. An understanding of the central role played by the state in the promotion of the policy of assimilation has profound consequences for our comprehension of the relations between the French and Amerindians…

Read the entire article here.

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Bi-racial U.S.A. vs. Multi-racial Brazil: Is the Contrast Still Valid?

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2009-12-24 16:49Z by Steven

Bi-racial U.S.A. vs. Multi-racial Brazil: Is the Contrast Still Valid?

Journal of Latin American Studies
Volume 25, Issue 2 (May 1993)
pages 373-386
DOI: 10.1017/S0022216X00004703

Thomas E. Skidmore, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Professor of History Emeritus
Brown University

In the last two decades the comparative analysis of race relations in the U.S.A. and Brazil has been based on a conventional wisdom. It is the corollary of a larger conventional wisdom in the study of comparative race relations. The thesis is that systems of race relations in the Western Hemisphere are primarily of two types: bi-racial and multi-racial. The distinction is normally spelled out as follows. The U.S.A. is a prime example of a bi-racial system. In the prevailing logic of the US legal and social structure, individuals have historically been either black or white. In Brazil, on the other hand, there has been a spectrum of racial distinctions. At a minimum, Brazilian social practice has recognised white, black and mulatto. At a maximum, the phenotypical distinctions have become so refined as to defy analysis, or effective application for those who would discriminate.


Mestizo Modernism

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2009-12-24 16:12Z by Steven

Mestizo Modernism

Rutgers University Press
280 pages
21 b&w illus.
Paper ISBN 0-8135-3217-5
Cloth ISBN 0-8135-3216-7

Tace Hedrick, Associate Professor and Women’s Studies
University of Florida, Gainesville

We use the term “modernism” almost exclusively to characterize the work of European and American writers and artists who struggled to portray a new kind of fractured urban life typified by mechanization and speed. Between the 1880s and 1930s, Latin American artists were similarly engaged-but with a difference. While other modernists drew from “primitive” cultures for an alternative sense of creativity, Latin American modernists were taking a cue from local sources-primarily indigenous and black populations in their own countries. In Mestizo Modernism Tace Hedrick focuses on four key artists who represent Latin American modernism-Peruvian poet César Vallejo, Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, and Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Hedrick interrogates what being “modern” and “American” meant for them and illuminates the cultural contexts within which they worked, as well as the formal methods they shared, including the connection they drew between ancient cultures and modern technologies. This look at Latin American artists will force the reconceptualization of what modernism has meant in academic study and what it might mean for future research.

Table of Contents

Works Cited

Read an excerpt here.

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Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Social Science, United States on 2009-12-24 02:45Z by Steven

Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation

University of North Carolina Press
April 2010
368 pages
6.125 x 9.25
12 illus., 3 tables, 5 genealogical charts, 3 maps, appends., notes, index
Cloth ISBN:  978-0-8078-3368-1
Paper ISBN:  978-0-8078-7111-9

Malinda Maynor Lowery, Assistant Professor of History
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Awards & Distinctions

  • 2010 Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award
  • 2010 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

With more than 50,000 enrolled members, North Carolina‘s Lumbee Indians are the largest Native American tribe east of the Mississippi River. Malinda Maynor Lowery, a Lumbee herself, describes how, between Reconstruction and the 1950s, the Lumbee crafted and maintained a distinct identity in an era defined by racial segregation in the South and paternalistic policies for Indians throughout the nation. They did so against the backdrop of some of the central issues in American history, including race, class, politics, and citizenship.

Lowery argues that “Indian” is a dynamic identity that, for outsiders, sometimes hinged on the presence of “Indian blood” (for federal New Deal policy makers) and sometimes on the absence of “black blood” (for southern white segregationists). Lumbee people themselves have constructed their identity in layers that tie together kin and place, race and class, tribe and nation; however, Indians have not always agreed on how to weave this fabric into a whole. Using photographs, letters, genealogy, federal and state records, and first-person family history, Lowery narrates this compelling conversation between insiders and outsiders, demonstrating how the Lumbee People challenged the boundaries of Indian, southern, and American identities

Table of Contents

  • Preface: Telling Our Own Stories
  • Acknowledgments
  • A Note on Terms
  • Introduction: Coming Together
  • 5 Pembroke Farms: Gaining Economic Autonomy
  • Conclusion: Creating a Lumbee and Tuscarora Future
  • Appendix
  • Notes
  • Index
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