Historian Broadens Narrative of Slavery in the Americas

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2015-10-17 01:48Z by Steven

Historian Broadens Narrative of Slavery in the Americas

Fordham News: The Latest From Fordham University

Patrick Verel

Photograph by Patrick Verel

In the United States, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Underground Railroad loom so large in the understandings of slavery that most Americans can almost be excused for thinking it’s a phenomenon unique to us.

Yuko Miki, PhD, assistant professor of history, wants to vastly expand that understanding of the system—particularly its role in the South American nation of Brazil, which had the distinction of being the last country in the Americas to outlaw slavery in 1888.

An expert in Iberian Atlantic history, Miki has looked at Brazil’s connection to slave trading firms in the United States, to slave traders in West Central Africa, and to British abolitionists.

The picture of slavery as a national institution has been too small, she said. “It’s very exciting to be able to look at the history of slavery in a more transnational way.”…

…“I began to realize that in fact, the history of indigenous people in Brazil is very much a missing piece of history,” she said. “They were enslaved and lived and worked alongside slaves of African descent until the eve of the 20th century. For too long we had presumed that African slavery had expanded into ‘empty’ lands, which in fact were indigenous territories.” These histories, long separated, are in fact deeply connected.

Bringing these stories to light now is important, she said, because they challenge enduring popular narratives in Brazil. In The Masters and the Slaves (1946), for instance, sociologist/anthropologist Gilberto Freyre argued that the country is a “racial democracy”—composed of the race mixture between black, Portuguese, and indigenous people—and because of that, there is no racial tension in Brazil.

But just because people are of mixed race doesn’t mean there was or is no conflict, Miki said.

“It’s still important to look at the actual history of Brazil’s black and indigenous peoples. You don’t want to just look at the end result of a mixed society and celebrate it; but also look at how such race mixture might have occurred,” she said…

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Sociology Professor Chronicles Rising Latino Culture

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2010-11-17 19:59Z by Steven

Sociology Professor Chronicles Rising Latino Culture

Inside Fordham Online
Fordham University
In Focus: Faculty and Research

Patrick Verel

Already the largest minority group in the United States, Latinos will be an even bigger presence in the years to come, according to demographic studies. Clara Rodriguez, Ph.D., professor of sociology in Fordham College at Lincoln Center, is making sure their stories are told.

Through 10 books, dozens of papers and consulting projects with Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street, Rodriguez has developed a deep knowledge about a group that now accounts for 15 percent of the population.

Her analyses of United States census data have resulted in papers such as “Contestations Over Classifications: Latinos, the Census and Race in the United States” (Journal de la Société des Américanistes, 2009) and “Implications and Impact of Race on the Health of Latinos,” a chapter in Health Issues in Latino Males: A Social and Structural Approach (Rutgers University Press, 2010).

As part of her study of census data, Rodriguez cast a critical eye on racial classifications in the decennial censuses. Examining how respondents who identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino reported their race, she found that 40 percent chose “some other race,” and many of them wrote in what is known as a Latino identifier, such as Dominican, Panamanian or Chicano.

This happened in the last three decennial censuses, despite the fact that the census allowed them to choose more than one racial category in the last census…

…“People who could choose more than one race didn’t choose white and black; they still chose the category ‘some other race.’ This 40 percent has increased—I think this time it was 42 percent—even though the Census Bureau has really tried to discourage this response,” she said.

“This raises the question, ‘What is race?’ Science was raising that question. Children of mixed-race families were raising that question. So are people from all over the world who came here with very different identities and are now being folded into one of our five major groups.”…

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