Daniel McNeil to be Featured Guest on Mixed Chicks Chat

Posted in Audio, History, Interviews, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2011-08-03 04:15Z by Steven

Daniel McNeil to be Featured Guest on Mixed Chicks Chat

Mixed Chicks Chat (The only live weekly show about being racially and culturally mixed. Also, founders of the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival) Hosted by Fanshen Cox and Heidi W. Durrow
Website: TalkShoe™ (Keywords: Mixed Chicks)
Episode: #219-Daniel McNeil
When: Wednesday, 2011-08-03, 22:00Z (18:00 EDT, 17:00 CDT, 15:00 PDT)

Daniel McNeil, Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies
Newcastle University, United Kingdom

Daniel McNeil teaches Media and Cultural studies at Newcastle University, and is a Visiting Fellow of the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation. His most recent book, Sex and Race in the Black Atlantic: Mulatto Devils and Multiracial Messiahs, documented the freedom dreams and self-fashioning of mixed-race individuals in the Black Atlantic, and he is currently writing a book about ‘Slimy Subjects’: White Liberals, Black freedom and the ethics of racial identity.

Listen to the episode here or download it here.

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More than a ‘tragic mulatto’

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Book/Video Reviews, Canada, United Kingdom, United States on 2011-07-06 21:38Z by Steven

More than a ‘tragic mulatto’

Runnymede Bulletin
Spring 2011, Issue 365
pages 26

Zaki Nahaboo
Department of Politics & International Studies
The Open University, UK

Daniel R. McNeil. Sex and Race in the Black Atlantic: Mulatto Devils and Multiracial Messiahs. London: Routledge, 2009, 186 pp. Hardback ISBN 978-0-415-87226-3, Paperback ISBN 978-0-415-89391-6, eBook ISBN 978-0-203-85736-6.

Daniel McNeil illuminates harrowing accounts and insidious perceptions of mixed-race that exist across Canada, America and Britain. His monograph charts the transgression of the ‘colour-line’, exploring the subjectivity of those compelled to negotiate a mixed-race heritage while providing a critical intervention into the discourse of mixed-race as the contemporary cosmopolitan signifier of a post-racial future. These issues leap from the pages as he draws upon influential figures and popular culture ranging from Philippa Schuyler to Barack Obama.

As the title suggests, these issues cannot be analysed without considering the gendered forms of violence and the masculine structuring of desire, which snare the mixed race woman, particularly, between a rock and a hard place.

This is best exemplified in the second chapter of the book, in which McNeil seeks to uncover the linkages between the likes of W. E. B Du Bois, Frantz Fanon and Otto Rank. McNeil does not undermine recent poststructuralist readings of these theorists, instead choosing to delve into their perceptions about the mulatto. Here he finds that within their masculinist framework the mixed-race woman, in particular, is perceived as a hindrance, a problem, a neurotic and an object of pity. McNeil has provided a novel contribution, subtly showing that mixed-race is not simply a position of the petty bourgeoisie, but rather is seen as a shameful reminder of colonialism and ‘dilution’.

McNeil’s account of renowned American child prodigy Philippa Schuyler is a strategically deployed case study for elucidating a far more complex identity than the ‘tragic mulatto‘: i.e. “a feminised and neurotic figure who desires a white lover and either dies or returns to the black community”. Schuyler’s life is deployed to expose how the black/white binary is paradoxically and simultaneously transcended, escaped, denied and repudiated, while also remaining a continuous weight upon her life…

Read the entire review here.

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BBC Two explores what it means to be mixed-race in Britain

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom, Videos, Women on 2011-03-16 04:27Z by Steven

BBC Two explores what it means to be mixed-race in Britain

British Broadcasting Corporaton

Mixed-Race Britain is put under the spotlight this autumn on BBC Two in a collection of revealing and compelling new programmes.

Britain in 2011 has proportionately the largest mixed population in the Western world, but 100 years ago people of mixed race lived on the fringes of British society, an invisible community unacknowledged by the wider world.

With an exciting mix of drama and documentaries, the programmes provide a window into the varied and surprising lives of mixed-race people in the UK and help us understand what the increasing rise in mixed-race people means for the way we live now in Britain.

…Leading the programming is Shirley Bassey—A Very British Diva (working title), an intimate and revealing drama that tells the extraordinary life story of Dame Shirley Bassey—one of Britain’s national treasures and one of the world’s most enduring and successful divas. But her rise from poverty to international stardom is no ordinary rags-to-riches story…

In a three-part series, journalist and TV presenter George Alagiah leads viewers through the remarkable and untold story of how Britain’s mixed-race community has become part of everyone’s lives today. With previously unseen footage and unheard testimony, Mixed Britannia (working title) uncovers a tale of illicit love, marriage, children, tragedy and triumph.

Charting events from the turn of the 20th century to the present day, George explores the social factors that have influenced the shape of the mixed-race Britain we see today.

He’ll find out about the flourishing love between merchant seamen and liberated female workers during the First World War; how the British eugenics movement physically examined mixed-race children in the name of science; how pioneering white couples—including English aristocrats—adopted mixed-race babies; and how Britain’s mixed-race population exploded with the arrival of people from all over the globe—making them the fastest-growing ethnic group in the UK.

Mixed—Sex, Race And Empire is a one-off documentary exploring the social, sexual, economic and political issues that led to the race mixing of people across the world. From India to West Africa via South America and the USA, this programme reflects upon the stories and consequences of racial mixing across the world…

Read the entire press release here.

Notes from Steven F. Riley.

For some early 20th century background material on the topics covered in Mixed Britannia, see:

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Sex and Race in the Black Atlantic Mulatto Devils and Multiracial Messiah [Amaye Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, United Kingdom, United States on 2011-02-19 21:11Z by Steven

Sex and Race in the Black Atlantic Mulatto Devils and Multiracial Messiah [Amaye Review]

New Black Arts Alliance

Muli Amaye, Part 1 Tutor, Creative Writing
Lancaster University

Daniel R. McNeil. Sex and Race in the Black Atlantic: Mulatto Devils and Multiracial Messiahs. London: Routledge, 2009, 186 pp. Hardback ISBN 978-0-415-87226-3, Paperback ISBN 978-0-415-89391-6, eBook ISBN 978-0-203-85736-6.

As a part of the Routledge Studies on African and Black Diaspora this book is a necessary and useful addition. The fact that it brings a lot of research and theory together makes it a good starting point for information on an important part of the Diaspora that is often overlooked, other than with curiosity or somewhat derogatory terms.

Overall the book is informative and provides the reader with extensive notes at the end broken down by chapters and a thorough bibliography. McNeil has linked theories and philosophies to literature and contemporary TV/film in a way that provides the reader with understandable examples and brings the text to life. The writing is accessible and readable using language in a way that opens the book up from pure academia and puts it into the public sphere.

The book is split into 6 main chapters plus a preface and a conclusion. The headings for the chapters do not give a lot on information for the reader looking for specific information, however, the short preface deals with this. Each chapter draws on what has been written previously i.e. Schulyer, Rank and Du Bois are used comparatively throughout, which gives the book coherence.

Overall this book is a comprehensive look at the mixed race population bringing the debate right up to date and offering a fresh look at theories and philosophies by introducing creative expression into the forum. By challenging what has been written and debated before McNeil encourages the reader to think beyond what has always been on offer by leading theorists and to question whether it is time for a fresh look.

The following is a very brief overview of each chapter.


The preface introduces the book immediately by offering opening literary credits followed by a personal anecdote. This promises a fresh look at theory and literature offering grounded in reality. It gives a brief outline of each chapter, which is a useful for research purposes, although the length and accessibility of the text makes reading the whole book easy.

McNeil begins his acknowledgement outlining his reasons for writing this book, which once more added a personal touch for the reader particularly when he explains that the text was born from anger. The reading belies this emotion because it is offered as a scholarly text and fits well within that remit.

Chapter 1 – New People?

Starting with a quote from Rudyard Kipling, The White Man’s Burden (1899) ending with the line ‘Half devil and half child’ McNeill sets up the tone of the chapter and alerts the reader to his critique of what has gone before. The title indicates that McNeill is not making a judgment with what is to come but is questioning and enquiring through the literature that has gone before.

This chapter, as expected, is a literature review and offers the reader an in depth insight into the literature that has gone before and gives a historical account of the ‘half-caste’ and ‘mulatto’ from colonization onwards. This is very informative and gives the reader the opportunity to research further from Du Bois, Schulyer and Rogers to the novel Quicksand by Nella Larsen. McNeill refers to philosophers such as Rank and Freud, Fanon and introduces lesser-known theorists as well as making reference to modern day mixed race celebrities.

This chapter is American-centric although there are a few references to the UK. What stands out immediately is the reference to female writers and actors, which makes a welcome change.

Chapter 2 – An Individualistic Age?

This chapter begins with a quote from Otto Rank making reference to Freud and opens with a reference to both Marx and Freud dreaming about ‘grotesque racial hybrids’. This sets the tone for the chapter, which then goes on to give a brief history of Otto Rank and his ‘psychoanalytic study of the artist’. McNeil covers Du Bois and Fanon in separate headed sections that are informative and turns up some little known information that questions the male orientated view of these well-known philosophers, particularly around light skinned females.

What is interesting is the references McNeil makes throughout to females rather than males, which is a refreshing change.

Chapter 3 – Je suis metisse

This chapter begins with two quotes, one from The Diary of Anais Nin 1934-1939 and one from Nancy Cunard’s Negro (1970) both of which make reference to Harlem.

The chapter focuses on the female and American culture. It gives an insight into the life of concert pianist and composer, Philippa Schuyler and her denial of her racial background in the 1950s.

McNeil explores this fully with referencing and quotes that shows his extensive research. He offers a fully complex character who does not conform to what is expected either of a female or a person of colour and it is this thorough investigation and reference to the philosophies that have gone before that make it interesting and thought provoking.

Chapter 4 – “I. Am. A Light Grey Canadian.”

This chapter begins with quotes by Marx and Rank. As the title suggests it is an exploration of the mixed race Canadian and introduces the work of Lawrence Hill who is also a novelist and is described by McNeil as ‘probably the most famous name in Canadian Studies of mixed race.’

The chapter quickly moves on to Dr Daniel Hill’s studies and after thorough and comparative investigation concludes that the writer does not necessarily agree with other scholars who claim his work updates Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, but as his final sentence in this chapter states it is about adding ‘context and understanding…in the study of mixed-race identities.’

Chapter 5 “I’m Black. Not Mixed. Not Canadian. Not African. Just Black.”

This chapter begins with quotes from Fanon and Rosa Emilia Warder.

The focus is once more on Canada and the ‘Altantic thinkers’ but is informative and explores Fanon and James then moves onto Merseyside, which brings the text to the UK and McNeil’s personal interest. This is once more well researched and is thorough in its approach looking at both male and female perspectives as it moves from Nova Scotia to Merseyside and incorporates Hollywood stars and TV personalities.

Chapter 6 “Yes, We’re All Individuals!” “I’m Not.”

This chapter begins with a long quote from Maria P. Root, “Multiracial Bill of Rights” and a further quote from Siobhan Somerville.

The whole chapter is dedicated to mixed race celebrities and explores and examines through film and books and reference to philosophies and theories. This chapter incorporates sexuality, which the quote from Somerville suggests. McNeil uses contemporary films such as “Walking Tall” (2004) which stars ‘The Rock’ to illustrate his points. He ends the chapter in discussion of footballs Stan Collymore and referring to Rank and bringing the discussion back to Liverpool and the UK.


The short conclusion starts with a quote by SuAndi and a short paragraph outlines her stance with regard to Gilroy’s Black Atlantic.

McNeil does not offer the usual summing up within his conclusion but offers an in-depth look into the British comedy, The Office and makes reference to Star Trek. This does not detract from the book as an excellent source of information but reiterates the fresh eye with which he has surveyed the literature and film that has gone before and offered it to the reader with a new and clear perspective.

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Slimy subjects? Barack Obama, Mixed-Race Metaphors & Neoliberal Multiculturalism

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, Live Events, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2010-11-30 21:06Z by Steven

Slimy subjects? Barack Obama, Mixed-Race Metaphors & Neoliberal Multiculturalism

The Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation
University of Hull
Oriel Chambers
27 High Street, Hull, HU1 1NE [Map]
Thursday, 2010-12-02, 16:30-18:00Z

Daniel McNeil, Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies
University of Newcastle

Public Lecture.  For more information, click here.

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“The devil made the mulatto”: Race, religion and respectability in a Black Atlantic, 1931-2005

Posted in Africa, Biography, Canada, Dissertations, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2010-11-18 23:12Z by Steven

“The devil made the mulatto”: Race, religion and respectability in a Black Atlantic, 1931-2005

University of Toronto
312 pages
Publication Number: AAT NR39517
ISBN: 9780494395172

Daniel R. McNeil, Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies
Newcastle University, United Kingdom

According to The Historical Journal there has only been one scholarly study of mixed- race history. This text—New People: Mulattoes and Miscegenation in the United States—fails to address events after 1930 in any detail, and ends its historical analysis with a discussion of the mixed-race people who committed themselves to a “New Negro” group. In an attempt to cover this gap in the academic literature, my dissertation analyses the creative artistry of individuals who were born after 1930 and were told, by governmental agencies in the US, UK and Canada, that they had a Black father and a white mother. My first case study looks at Philippa Schuyler, the daughter of George Schuyler, the most prominent African American journalist of the early twentieth century. I acknowledge that George Schuyler’s journalistic peers marketed his daughter as a “Negro” child prodigy during the 1930s and 1940s, but I also document how she fashioned herself as a “mulatto” writer or a vaguely aristocratic “off-white” femme fatale during the 1950s and 1960s. My second case study looks at Lawrence Hill, a writer who grew up in the suburbs of Toronto during the 1950s and 1960s and has achieved a degree of prominence in Canada by casting himself as a middle-class Black “race man” like his African American father, the first director of the Ontario Human Rights Agency. Subsequent case studies investigate the legacy of the “Black is beautiful” movements of the 1960s on a wider variety of individuals—from working-class folks in Nova Scotia and Merseyside to American idols—and provide further evidence for my argument that a Black identity has been masculinized in opposition to the stigma attached to a “mulatto” identity associated with young “brown girls”. In doing so, I draw heavily on the work of Otto Rank, W.E.B Du Bois and Frantz Fanon. In particular, I link Rank’s ideas about creative artistry – that it was a masculine attempt to give birth to a new self, community or nation—to the theories of Du Bois and Fanon that defined “honest intellectuals” in a Black Atlantic against mixed-race women and children.

Purchase the dissertation here.

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American demands, African treasures, Mixed possibilities

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2010-06-21 01:08Z by Steven

American demands, African treasures, Mixed possibilities

The African Diaspora Archaeology Network
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
December 2006 Newsletter
ISSN: 1933-8651
16 pages

Daniel R. McNeil, Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies
Newcastle University, United Kingdom

In the 1990s, many Americans sought to cast themselves as heroic defenders of the liberal arts by condemning Afrocentricity. This paper reveals how many such profiteers and schemers were invested in Eurocentricity, but it also critiques Molefi Asante – the man who coined the phrase “Afrocentricity” – and points out his reliance on AfroAmericocentric norms.

…Television history, employed by Gates in his PBS documentary, Wonders of the Ancient World, “while unquestionably powerful . . . is of necessity superficial . . . programmes have to be fast-moving if they are to retain their viewers” (Kershaw 16). Producers often assume that their history programs require a respected narrator and perhaps a charismatic interviewer, as “problems of interpretation tend to muddy the waters, and to leave the viewer confused, baffled or at least unable to decide which of variant interpretations is the most valid” (ibid.). According to cultural critic John Fiske, lumpers (broad synthesizers favoured by lay opinion) are preferred to splitters (narrow specialists favoured by professionals) because television history, like soap opera and sport, should be open and full of contradictions so that it invites “viewer engagement, disagreement, and thus popular productivity” (191). Perhaps ignoring the need to challenge the continuing deference to professors, such as Reisner, who considered Black Africa to be without history, Fiske also thought that televised history “must not preach or teach” (emphasis added; ibid. 196). Yet his comments remain important if curators and “public intellectuals” are to be encouraged to present themselves as possessors of technical competence whose function is to assist subordinate groups to use elite resources in order to make authored statements within the public sphere (Bennett 104). In this fashion, one can applaud Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s attempts to use his position as director of the Du Bois institute at Harvard to encourage to African Americans to enter Ivy League universities, even if one doesn’t support his desire to question Blacks of mixed parentage and/or Caribbean descent that “beat out” Black indigenous middle-class kids on the front page of The New York Times (Rimer and Anderson)…

Read the entire article here.

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Ushering children away from a “light grey world”: Dr. Daniel Hill III and his pursuit of a respectable Black Canadian community.

Posted in Articles, Canada, Media Archive, Social Science on 2010-06-06 02:59Z by Steven

Ushering children away from a “light grey world”: Dr. Daniel Hill III and his pursuit of a respectable Black Canadian community.

Ontario History

Daniel R. McNeil, Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies
Newcastle University, United Kingdom

This paper is about Dr. Daniel Hill III, the first director of the Ontario Human Rights Agency. Paying particular attention to Dr Hill’s work with the Committee for the Adoption of Coloured Youngsters and the Ontario Black History Society, I argue that he fashioned himself as “Negro race man”, a masculinist term assigned to people who sought to lead a Black community in North America and lay to rest the infantilised and feminized image of the “tragic mulatto” trapped in a “light grey world”.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Race 2008: Critical Reflections on an Historic Campaign

Posted in Anthologies, Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2010-06-01 20:49Z by Steven

Race 2008: Critical Reflections on an Historic Campaign

BrownWalker Press
229 pages
ISBN-10: 1599425378
ISBN-13: 9781599425375

Edited by

Myra Mendible, Professor of English and Department Chair for Language and Literature
Florida Gulf Coast University

Race 2008: Critical Reflections on an Historic Campaign brings together a diverse group of scholars and activists to examine the gendered politics, images, rhetorical practices, and racial/ethnic conflicts that served as a backdrop to this momentous election. It features perspectives marginalized or ignored by mainstream media and political pundits, thus providing alternative, critical insights on the social dynamics fueling campaign rhetoric, grassroots activism, and intergroup conflicts in 2008 and beyond.

Table of Contents

  • Contributors
  • Introduction: Post-Election Blues; Myra Mendible
  • Cracks in the Ceiling: Gender and Sexuality
    • 1. Making Space: Articulating an Inclusive Framework of Reproductive and Sexual Health Politics; Tanya Bakhru
    • 2. What Kind of Feminist is a ‘Feminist for Life’? The Case of Sarah Palin; Françoise Coste
  • What’s in a Name? The Politics of Identity
    • 3. The Election’s Imagined Identities: The Ghettoization of Muslims in the Race for the White House; Cyra Akila Chodhury
    • 4. From Rev. Wright to “Joe the Plumber”: Racial and Class Anxieties in the 2008 Elections; John M. Cox
    • 5. Black with ‘White Blood’? To Advertise, or Not Advertise, the Race of Obama’s Mother; Daniel McNeil
  • Visual Media and Representation
    • 6. Out of the Wilderness into the Spotlight: Celebrity and Radical Prophecy in the Obama Presidential Campaign; Margaret Cavin Hambrick
    • 7. Obama, McCain, and Alfred E. Smith: Putting the “Comic” Back in “Comic Frame”; Katherine Hale
  • Ethnic Constituencies on the Front Lines
    • 8. “Why is Barack Obama a Filipino?” Race, Immigrant Identities, and Community Organizing among Filipino Americans; Estella Habal
    • 9. Baiting Red, Turning Blue: The Dynamics of Change in Cuban Miami; Myra Mendible
    • 10. Did Obama Have an “Asian Problem”? Oiyan A. Poon
  • Index

Read the first 25 pages here.

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