Film Screening with Director in Attendance: “Becoming Black”(2019)

Posted in Africa, Autobiography, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Videos on 2021-10-08 21:42Z by Steven

Film Screening with Director in Attendance: “Becoming Black”(2019)

Black German Heritage & Research Association
Online Event
Wednesday, 2021-11-17, 17:30-19:30Z (12:30-14:30 EST)

As the next segment of our ongoing All Black Lives Matter event series, and in cooperation with the Waterloo Centre for German Studies, The University of Toronto, and Africana Studies at Rutgers University-Camden, the Black German Heritage and Research Association (BGHRA) is pleased to invite you to a film screening of Ines Johnson-Spain’s autobiographical documentary “Becoming Black“(2019).

SYNOPSIS: Becoming Black (dir. Ines Johnson-Spain, 2019, 91 min.):

In the 1960s, the East German Sigrid falls in love with Lucien from Togo, one of several African students studying at a trade school on the outskirts of East Berlin. She becomes pregnant, but is already married to Armin. Sigrid and Armin raise their daughter as their own, withholding from her knowledge of her African paternal heritage. That child grows up to become the filmmaker Ines Johnson-Spain. In filmed encounters with her aging stepfather Armin and others from her youth, Johnson-Spain tracks the strategies of denial developed by her parents and the surrounding community. Her intimate but also critical exploration comprising both painful and confusing childhood memories and matter-of-fact accounts testifies to a culture of repression. When blended with movingly warm encounters with her Togolese family, Becoming Black becomes a thought-provoking reflection on identity, social norms and family ties.

The link to view the film will be posted on Eventbrite for registrants to stream from November 15-18, 2021.

For more information and to register, click here.

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Racial Masks and Stereotypes in Imitation of Life and Bamboozled

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-09-29 15:36Z by Steven

Racial Masks and Stereotypes in Imitation of Life and Bamboozled

Caméra Stylo: The Cinema Studies Undergraduate Student Journal
University of Toronto
Volume 13 (2013)
2013-04-01
pages 62-74

Nicole Wong

Visible signs of difference mark the racialized body only in com-bination with nonvisible social preconceptions and expectations. A racial stereotype is the link, the image, which ties the visible with the nonvisible imagined meanings and values specific to the culture in which they are produced and shared. The process of racial stereotyping therefore requires three components: the marked body, the collective society of meaning and image-makers, and the racial mask through which the latter views and defines the former. My concern in this article is how American1 popular culture and mass media entertainment has become the foremost platform for racial meaning production, perpetuating false racial stereotypes, yet at the same time attempting to expose its own role as image-maker.

As forms of popular mass media entertainment, Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life (1959) and Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (2000) depict such an exposition of the racial stereotyping process, but with significant differences that come with forty years’ distance. These two films function as tragic allegories of the racial stereotype production process as popular entertainment, wherein central characters mask their marked bodies, their self-identity and essential personhood. Racial stereotypes literally are enacted on stage to entertain an audience, a downsized representation both American media makers and receivers. Through the optic of Sander Gilman’s conceptions of the Other and the Self, I will explore the motives behind, and subsequent futility of, attempts to mask racial self-identities with media-defined projected identities that ultimately turn performers into the slaves of spectators. I will also position the ideologies of both films as reflections of the racial performer/audience relationship of their respective time periods…

Read the entire article here.

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Transnational Perspectives on Black Germany

Posted in Canada, Europe, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Women on 2018-04-20 02:55Z by Steven

Transnational Perspectives on Black Germany

University of Toronto
Innis Town Hall
2 Sussex Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1J5 Canada
2018-05-23 through 2018-05-25

Sponsors: Germanic Languages & Literatures, Cinema Studies Institute, Gender & Women’s Studies Institute, Centre for Transnational & Diaspora Studies, Comparative Literature, SSHRC, Centre for the United States, TIFF, DAAD, and Heinrich Böll Stiftung

The Black German Heritage and Research Association (BGHRA) is collaborating with the Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures and the Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto in hosting the 3-day SSHRC-funded conference, “Transnational Perspectives on Black Germany” in Toronto, Ontario, on May 23-25, 2018. The event will feature keynote addresses by Fatima El-Tayeb and Noah Sow, a screening of “On Second Glance” (dir. Sheri Hagen, 2012) at TIFF’s Bell Lightbox with filmmaker in attendance, and a dance-music-word tribute to Afro-German poet and activist May Ayim by guest artists Layla Zami and Oxana Chi.

REGISTRATION OPEN UNTIL 4/21/2018

For more information, click here.

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The Discourse of Konketsuji: Racialized Representations of Biracial Japanese Children in the 1950s

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Dissertations, History, Media Archive on 2017-07-11 00:23Z by Steven

The Discourse of Konketsuji: Racialized Representations of Biracial Japanese Children in the 1950s

University of Toronto
March 2017
79 pages

Zachery Anthony Nelson

A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, Department of East Asian Studies University of Toronto

This study examines textual representations of biracial Japanese children as featured in the print media of 1950s Japan. Attention is paid to the complex discursive process of racialization that produced knowledge of biracial Japanese under the label konketsuji or “mixed-blood child.” This “discourse of konketsuji” is deconstructed and analyzed towards the aim of illustrating how it functioned to disassociate the figure of the konketsuji from the category of “Japanese.” This study situates konketsuji and Japanese racial identity discourse into their proper historical contexts before transitioning to an analysis of primary source material. The discourse of konketsuji is revealed as having racialized konketsuji in a plural and complex manner. Racializing statements about konketsuji referenced difference in phenotype, social origin, political potential, birth circumstances, mentality, intellect, and cultural proclivities so as to position biracial children as a group outside a normative construction of Japanese raciality.

Read the entire thesis here.

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Who Needs Hybridity? The Political Limits of Mixed Race Identity

Posted in Canada, Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2017-03-07 21:12Z by Steven

Who Needs Hybridity? The Political Limits of Mixed Race Identity

University of Toronto
November 2016
153 pages

Emily Alanna Moorhouse

A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts Department of Social Justice Education Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

This thesis examines how non-white, mixed race women with Asian heritage understand, participate in, and resist colonialism, anti-blackness and anti-Indigeneity. The study finds that mixed race identification is contextual and shifts according to the racial make-up of spaces. Participants performed their identities in white spaces differently than in communities of colour. Although all participants could name whiteness, their awareness of the racial and colonial basis of citizenship was situated on a spectrum. The thesis explores how race is understood through multiple axes of identity such as disability, gender, and sexuality. Although the family is often a good space to learn about race, multiracial families sometimes reproduced ableism, queer-phobia, anti-blackness and shadism. Lastly, I focus on how hybridity is a sexualized discourse that contributes to the fetishization of multiraciality. I highlight the sexualized forms of violence that multiracial women encounter.

Read the entire thesis here.

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Setting Assumptions Aside: Exploring Identity Development in Interracial Intercultural Individuals Growing up in Japan

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2012-05-04 01:47Z by Steven

Setting Assumptions Aside: Exploring Identity Development in Interracial Intercultural Individuals Growing up in Japan

University of Toronto
2001
280 pages

Penny Sue Kinnear

A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

This research attempts to understand the experience of interracial/intercultural individuals growing up in Japan. Their experiences do not fit current minority identity development models. Much of the tension in their experience appears to be between the individual’s own experience and the stereotypica1 experience he or she is supposed to undergo as a mixed individual. Identity was not a question of either/or, but took shape from dialogues that reflected a complex relationship between community, individual, language, and culture. One factor determining the tenor of the dialogue is its grounding in commonalities or in differences. The experience was profoundly different for individuals who attended international schools or Japanese schools. The difficulty that the international school attendees articulated, in contrast to those attending Japanese schools, appears as a clash of boundaries, not values. This is reflected particularly where “Japaneseness” fits in the hierarchy and the degree of rigidity or permeability of those boundaries.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Mahtani wins prestigious geography award

Posted in Articles, Canada, Media Archive, Social Science, Women on 2012-04-12 14:01Z by Steven

Mahtani wins prestigious geography award

Inside UTSC
University of Toronto, Scarborough
2012-03-29

Minelle Mahtani won the Glenda Laws Award for geography, which is given to early and mid-career scholars for outstanding contributions to geographical research on social issues.
 
It is administered by the Association of American Geographers, and endorsed by the Institute of Australian Geographers, the Canadian Association of Geographers, and the Institute of British Geographers.
 
“Her contributions to geographic research on social issues build bridges between the academy and other centers of knowledge, like the policy, media and not-for-profit worlds. Her experience as a former national television news producer provides unique insights into critiques about media and minority representation as well as geographies of news consumption. She has also paid scholarly attention to geography’s expertise in an era of specialized knowledge economies, challenging the ivory tower to produce anti-racist geographies in the academy and challenging geographers to teach for inclusion,” the award presentation reads in part…

…Mahtani has also written about issues of race within the academy. She has written about the discrimination faced by women of colour geographers, and suggested that geography’s historical engagement with colonialism and imperialism works to ensure the domination of whiteness among faculty and students of geography.
 
Mahtani is especially interested in documenting the experiences of mixed-race Canadians, and has published a number of papers on mixed-race identities. She is an editor of the forthcoming book entitled Global Mixed Race to be published by New York University Press.
 
Mahtani brought her expertise on multiraciality to aid in the editing of Lawrence Hill’s memoir, Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada. In a recent visit to UTSC, Hill, author of the bestseller, Book of Negroes singled out Mahtani for encouraging him to consider the relationship between geography and identity.
 
Mahtani also designed the first course to be offered in geography and mixed race in Canada, entitled “Spaces of Multiraciality: Critical Mixed Race Theory”, taught in the department of Social Sciences here at UTSC.

Read the entire article here.

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Japanese-Canadian Identity Issues: One Big Hapa Family Screening with Jeff Chiba Stearns

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Social Science, Videos on 2012-03-18 23:35Z by Steven

Japanese-Canadian Identity Issues: One Big Hapa Family Screening with Jeff Chiba Stearns

University of Toronto, St. George
Hart House
2012-03-21, 18:30-20:30 EDT (Local Time)

According to recent statistics, the rate of mixed marriages among Japanese-Canadians is at 70% with intermarriage at 95%. Why? Jeff Chiba Stearns attempts to address this phenomena and more with his award-winning documentary, One Big Hapa Family. The combination live-action/animated film is a joint presentation between Hart House’s Conscious Activism Doc series and the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival. Screening and artist talk followed by Q&A with introductory remarks by Aram Collier, Reel Asian Film Festival Programming Director. Wed., March 21 at 6:30 pm in the Music Room at Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto (St. George Campus). FREE.

Jeff Chiba Stearns is an award-winning Canadian independent filmmaker, writer and illustrator whose work incorporates animation, documentary, and experimental filmmaking. Stearns founded his Kelowna, BC-based company Meditating Bunny Inc. in 2001. He frequently addresses the issues of mixed race identity in his films, and has published articles and spoken around the world on issues of cultural awareness, Hapa and the animation process.

Hart House is a living laboratory of social, artistic, cultural and recreational experiences where all voices, rhythms and traditions converge. As the vibrant home for the education of the mind, body and spirit envisioned by its founders, Hart House encourages and supports activities that provide spaces for awakening the capacity for self-knowledge and self-expression.

For more information, click here.

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Author Hill speaks on race, place, and identity at ‘City of Words’ series

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology on 2012-02-07 03:08Z by Steven

Author Hill speaks on race, place, and identity at ‘City of Words’ series

University of Toronto, Scharborough
2012-02-06

Kurt Kleiner

Writer Lawrence Hill has always felt attachment to people, not places. Nevertheless, the place he grew up – Don Mills in the early 1960s – shaped him as a person and as a writer.
 
Hill is the best-selling and critically acclaimed author of The Book of Negroes and many other works of fiction and non-fiction. He spoke at UTSC on Feb. 1 about the importance of a sense of place to a writer, about the surprise success of The Book of Negroes, and about the new novel he is just completing.
 
Hill, the son of a black father and a white mother, grew up in an all-white neighborhood. He had good friends, did well in school, played hockey, and usually faced no questions about his racial identity – until suddenly someone would fling a racial slur at him.
 
“I was so confused about who I was and how to perceive myself,” he says. “Nine days out of 10 I’d just be sailing along … It would come out of the blue. But that ambiguity was a great crucible in which to become a writer.”
 
The City of Words reading series is intended to give voice to writers who come from or write about Scarborough. More generally it examines the role of geography in shaping a writer, says Karina Vernon, professor of English at UTSC and lead organizer of the reading series. Not only is Don Mills right next door to Scarborough, but many of Hill’s experiences there are similar to those of people growing up in Scarborough now.
 
“Lawrence Hill is one of the most gifted authors in Canada today, and one of the foremost theorists of the black and mixed-race experience in Canada,” Vernon said as she introduced Hill…

Read the entire article 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
2007
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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