In “The Alexander Litany,” intersectionality collides with campus

Posted in Articles, Arts, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-02-06 02:38Z by Steven

In “The Alexander Litany,” intersectionality collides with campus

North by Northwestern

Lauren Sonnenberg

Roger Mason as Clarence, Eliott Sagay as Joseph, Grant Lewis as Jackson, Jeff Paschal as Max. Photo by Alexandria Woodson

“Look into my eyes and you’ll see that fear ain’t only skin deep, at least not for me,” implored Max Alexander, protagonist of The Alexander Litany, at an open mic reading on an unnamed college campus in Southern California.

Kori Alston, 20-year-old playwright and Communication sophomore, first spoke these words at a 2014 slam poetry competition. To follow, he wrote them into his new play, creating Max Alexander, a young man who contemplates his racial and sexual identity, as a means to express his frustration. The final product was performed as a staged reading in Shanley Pavilion January 15-16, 2016.

“In every good slam poem there is universal truth, there is personal truth, and then there is a kind of truth for the audience,” Alston said…

…Like Alston, Alexander grew up with a white mother and an absentee Black father. Both struggled with their relationship to a Black world. Both are college students far from home, angry with the racism they face every day. But the boys are different in how they confront their dissatisfaction.

“My relationship with Blackness was with my father. He was such a negative part of my life, and it was easy to associate Blackness with the bad parts of my father. I wanted to be white,” Alston said.

As someone with a white mother and Black father, Alston used to refuse to racially identify, partially because he began to dislike the Black parts of himself, he said. As he got older, Alston said he began to confront racism by a “Fuck you; I’m Black” attitude and growing his hair out to emphasize his Black identity.

He vacillates between wanting to disrupt spaces and make noise every time he hears a Black person was killed, to trying to find a safe space to challenge white audience members’ way of thinking…

Read the entire article here.

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Infiltrating the colonial city through the imaginaries of Metissage: Saint-Louis (Senegal), Saint-Pierre (Martinique) and Jeremie (Haiti)

Posted in Africa, Caribbean/Latin America, Dissertations, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2016-02-06 00:46Z by Steven

Infiltrating the colonial city through the imaginaries of Metissage: Saint-Louis (Senegal), Saint-Pierre (Martinique) and Jeremie (Haiti)

University of Iowa
August 2015
281 pages

Avonelle Pauline Remy, Assistant Professor of French
Hope College, Holland, Michigan

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in French and Francophone World Studies in the Graduate College of The University of Iowa

In this dissertation, I investigate the ways in which the phenomenon of racial and cultural hybridity inform and alter the social, political and cultural fabric of three creole cities of significant colonial influence, namely Saint-Louis of Senegal, Saint-Pierre of Martinique and Jérémie of Haiti during and after the colonial era. In particular, I examine the relevance of the French colonial city not only as a nexus of relational complexity but also as an ambiguous center of attraction and exclusion where multiple identities are created and recreated according to the agendas that influence these constructions. In order to articulate the main hypotheses of my thesis, I explore the key historical and social catalysts that have led to the emergence of Saint-Louis, Saint-Pierre and Jérémie as original creole cities.

Through the critical analyses of contemporary literatures from Senegal, Martinique and Haiti by Fanon, Sadji, Boilat, Mandeleau, Confiant, Chamoiseau, Salavina, Bonneville, Moreau de Saint-Méry, Desquiron, and Chauvet and films by Deslauriers and Palcy, I illustrate the dynamics of creolization within the context of the French colonial city. I argue that the city engenders new narratives and interpretations of métissage that scholars have often associated with the enclosed space of the plantation.

My dissertation intends to prove that the three French colonial cities of Saint-Louis, Saint-Pierre and Jérémie offer distinct interpretations and practices of processes of cultural and ethnic métissage. I propose that a correlation albeit a dialectical one, exists between the development of the French colonial city and the emergence of the mulattoes as a distinct class, conscious of its economic, sexual and political agency. I suggest that the French colonial city, represents both a starting point and a space of continuity that permits new forms of ethnic and cultural admixture. The articulation of such mixtures is made evident by the strategic positioning and creative agency of the mulatto class within the colonial city.

The phenomenon of métissage is certainly not a novel subject as evidenced by the plethora of theories and studies advanced by scholars and intellectuals. My research is thus part of an existing critical literary corpus in Postcolonial and Francophone Studies and is inscribed within the theoretical framework of Creolization. My research observes from a historical, comparative and literary perspective, metis presence and consciousness in three specific spaces where colonial authority has been imposed, challenged, resisted and even overpowered (in the case of Haiti). My study therefore analyses the creative agency articulated by the metis ethnoclass in the colonial city and counters the claim of a passive assimilated group.

As an in-between group, mulatto’s access to social, economic and political upward mobility are impeded by their ambiguous positioning within the larger community. Consequently, they resort to unconventional means that I refer to rather as creative ingeniousness in order to survive. Scholars usually focus on these “unconventional” practices as immoral rather than as strategies of self-reinvention and revalorization. As a result, representations of cultural and ethnic interconnections and hybridity are often projected in fragmentary ways. The figure of the metis women for example is overly represented in studies on métissage while metis men receive very little attention. My thesis thus intends to decenter narratives on métissage from the women and implicate equally the creative agency of metis males.

My thesis expands on the complexities that inform processes of métissage during pre-colonial Saint-Louis in the early seventeenth century, Saint-Pierre from the period 1870-1902 and Jérémie during the dictatorship of Francois Duvalier. It examines further the city as a space that engenders new narratives and interpretations of the processes of creolization. Processes of métissage or creolization have often been described as the results of violent encounters that were colonial and imperial. Moreover, these clashes were inscribed within the enclosed space of the plantation.

The city, representation of European pride and greed is an ambiguous space that attracts even as it excludes. Projected as an active commercial, economic and cultural hub, the city is soon engulfed by mass emigration. That site where the European image and culture is imposed, quickly evolves into a complex and chaotic web of human and material interaction giving rise to a complex creolized atmosphere. I propose that practices of métissage in the city are distinct from those generated in the belly of the slave ships, in the trading houses of Sub-Saharan Africa and on the sugar plantations of the French Antilles.

I conclude with a look at the present context of métissage, I rethink the significance of racial and cultural hybridity in relation to contemporary cultural and social theories such as creolization, creoleness, and transculturation in articulating, interpreting and decoding a world in constant transformation.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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What Matters to Me & Why – Allyson Hobbs

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Live Events, United States on 2016-02-05 20:55Z by Steven

What Matters to Me & Why – Allyson Hobbs

Stanford University
Common Room
Center for Inter-Religious Community Learning and Experiences (CIRCLE) at Old Union, 3rd Floor
Stanford, California
Wednesday, 2016-02-17, 12:00 PST (Local Time)

Allyson Hobbs

Sponsored by: Office for Religious Life

The purpose of What Matters to Me and Why is to encourage reflection within the Stanford community on matters of personal values, beliefs, and motivations in order to better understand the lives and inspirations of those who shape the University.

Allyson Hobbs, Assistant Professor of History

Allyson Hobbs is an Assistant Professor in the History Department at Stanford. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and she received a Ph.D. with distinction from the University of Chicago. She has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Clayman Institute for Gender Research, and the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Stanford.

Allyson’s first book, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life, published by Harvard University Press in 2014, examines the phenomenon of racial passing in the United States from the late eighteenth century to the present. A Chosen Exile won two prizes from the Organization of American Historians: the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for best first book in American history and the Lawrence Levine Prize for best book in American cultural history.

A Chosen Exile has been reviewed in the New York Times Book Review, the San Francisco Chronicle, Harper’s, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Boston Globe. The book was selected as a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, a “Best Book of 2014” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and a “Book of the Week” by the Times Higher Education in London. The Root named A Chosen Exile as one of the “Best 15 Nonfiction Books by Black Authors in 2014.”

Allyson teaches courses on American identity, African American history, African American women’s history, and twentieth century American history and culture. She has won numerous teaching awards including the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize, the Graves Award in the Humanities, and the St. Clair Drake Teaching Award.

Allyson is a contributing writer to the New and her work has also been featured on,, and in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The National Review, and the Christian Science Monitor.

For more information, click here.

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One Drop of Love: Presented by Mesa Arts Center as part of the Performing Live Series

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Census/Demographics, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, United States on 2016-02-05 19:39Z by Steven

One Drop of Love: Presented by Mesa Arts Center as part of the Performing Live Series

Mesa Arts Center
Nesbitt/Elliott Playhouse
One East Main Street
Mesa, Arizona 85201
Telephone: 480.644.6500
Friday, 2016-02-05, 19:30 MST (Local Time)

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni

How does our belief in ‘race’ affect our most intimate relationships? One Drop of Love travels near and far, in the past and present to explore family, race, love and pain – and a path towards reconciliation. It is produced by Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

For more information, click here.

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Students propose multiracial peer liaison program

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2016-02-04 23:08Z by Steven

Students propose multiracial peer liaison program

Yale Daily News
New Haven, Connecticut

Monica Wang, Staff Reporter

When Chandler Gregoire ’17 stepped onto Yale’s campus as a freshman more than three years ago, she was assigned two peer liaisons: one from the Afro-American Cultural Center and the other from the Asian American Cultural Center. Ethnically, Gregoire explained, she is half white, one-quarter Black and one-quarter Asian, and Yale felt compelled to match her multiple identities with the appropriate cultural resources.

A well-established initiative under the Yale College Dean’s Office, the peer liaison program has functioned to connect freshmen of color with the University’s four cultural centers — the AACC, the Af-Am House, La Casa Cultural and the Native American Cultural Center — since 2008. And while multiracial students have served as peer liaisons for these houses in the past, there is currently no formal multiracial peer liaison program to which members of Yale’s growing community of multiracial students can turn for support. Faced with difficulties in navigating her own multiracial identity, especially within the spaces of the existing cultural centers, Gregoire founded the Racial and Ethnic Openness Club with other multiracial friends in the spring of 2014.

Now, REO has proposed the idea of a multiracial peer liaison program. Discussions between students and administrators are ongoing, with several other options for supporting multiracial students also being discussed…

Read the entire article here.

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A Ballerina’s Tale

Posted in Arts, Forthcoming Media, United States, Videos on 2016-02-04 02:59Z by Steven

A Ballerina’s Tale

By Nelson George | in Dance
Independent Lens
Public Broadcasting Service
Premieres 2016-02-08

Few dancers reach the highest levels of classical ballet; of that few only a fraction are black women. Against the odds, Misty Copeland has made history by becoming the first African American principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, considered the pinnacle of ballet in the United States. A Ballerina’s Tale is an intimate look at this groundbreaking artist as she breaks through barriers and transcends her art.

For more information, click here.

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2015 IMPACT25 Influencer: Misty Copeland

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Women on 2016-02-04 02:58Z by Steven

2015 IMPACT25 Influencer: Misty Copeland


Dimity McDowell Davis, Special to

From line sketches to pencils and final color, Marvel captured the essences of our IMPACT25 nominees and turned them into super versions of themselves. Behind Marvel’s IMPACT25 heroes »

“Every time I dance, I’m trying to prove myself to myself.” —Misty Copeland

Ballerina Misty Copeland’s year was, in all aspects, a grand jeté: the powerful ballet leap in which the dancer flies high above the stage in an impressive splits pose. Before this year, Copeland had already disrupted the classical world of ballet — she was the first African American to play the lead role in “Swan Lake” — and challenged millions to rethink their definition of an athlete through her Under Armour campaign. (Tutus and tiaras deserve as much respect as shoulder pads.)

In 2015, she continued to turn heads. Her muscular body landed on the cover of Time, and months later, she landed her biggest role to date. On June 30, the American Ballet Theatre promoted her to the role of principal dancer, making her the first African-American woman in the company’s 75-year history to hold that title…

Read the entire article here.

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Dangerous Creole Liaisons: Sexuality and Nationalism in French Caribbean Discourses from 1806 to 1897

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Women on 2016-02-04 02:45Z by Steven

Dangerous Creole Liaisons: Sexuality and Nationalism in French Caribbean Discourses from 1806 to 1897

Liverpool University Press
224 Pages
239 x 163mm
Hardback ISBN: 9781781383018

Jacqueline Couti, Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies
University of Kentucky

Dangerous Creole Liaisons explores a French Caribbean context to broaden discussions of sexuality, nation building, and colonialism in the Americas. Couti examines how white Creoles perceived their contributions to French nationalism through the course of the nineteenth century as they portrayed sexualized female bodies and sexual and racial difference to advance their political ideologies. Questioning their exhilarating exoticism and titillating eroticism underscores the ambiguous celebration of the Creole woman as both seductress and an object of lust. She embodies the Caribbean as a space of desire and a political site of contest that reflects colonial, slave and post-slave societies. The under-researched white Creole writers and non-Caribbean authors (such as Lafcadio Hearn) who traveled to and wrote about these islands offer an intriguing gendering and sexualization of colonial and nationalist discourses. Their use of the floating motif of the female body as the nation exposes a cultural cross-pollination, an intense dialogue of political identity between continental France and her Caribbean colonies. Couti suggests that this cross-pollination still persists. Eventually, representations of Creole women’s bodies (white and black) bring two competing conceptions of nationalism into play: a local, bounded, French nationalism against a transatlantic and more fluid nationalism that included the Antilles in a “greater France.”

Table of Contents

  • Introduction Chercher la femme: Traces of an Ever-Present Absence
  • 1. The (White) Female Creole Body: Bearer of Culture and Cultural Signifier
  • 2. Falling from Grace: Creole Gothic, Flawed Femininity, and The Collapse of Civilization Coda I (Re)writing History: Revival of the Declining Creole Nation and Transatlantic Ties
  • 3. Sexualizing and Darkening Black Female Bodies: Whose Imagined Community?
  • 4. Colonial Democracy and Fin de Siècle Martinique: The Third Republic and White Creole Dissent
  • Coda II Heritage and Legacies
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
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The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Census/Demographics, Forthcoming Media, Latino Studies, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2016-02-04 02:30Z by Steven

The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race

Stanford University Press
March 2016
227 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9780804793940
Paper ISBN: 9780804797542
Digital ISBN: 9780804797573

Anthony Christian Ocampo, Assistant Professor of Sociology
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Is race only about the color of your skin? In The Latinos of Asia, Anthony Christian Ocampo shows that what “color” you are depends largely on your social context. Filipino Americans, for example, helped establish the Asian American movement and are classified by the U.S. Census as Asian. But the legacy of Spanish colonialism in the Philippines means that they share many cultural characteristics with Latinos, such as last names, religion, and language. Thus, Filipinos’ “color”—their sense of connection with other racial groups—changes depending on their social context.

The Filipino story demonstrates how immigration is changing the way people negotiate race, particularly in cities like Los Angeles where Latinos and Asians now constitute a collective majority. Amplifying their voices, Ocampo illustrates how second-generation Filipino Americans’ racial identities change depending on the communities they grow up in, the schools they attend, and the people they befriend. Ultimately, The Latinos of Asia offers a window into both the racial consciousness of everyday people and the changing racial landscape of American society.

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Biracial Sons More Likely Than Daughters To Identify As Black

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-02-04 02:18Z by Steven

Biracial Sons More Likely Than Daughters To Identify As Black

NBC News

Aris Folley

Black-white biracial sons of interracial parents, in which one parent is black and the other is white, are more likely than their female counterparts to identify as black, according to a study found in the February issue of the American Sociological Review.

In a sample of more than 37,000 students from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey, data pooled from the 2001, 2002, and 2003 surveys revealed that 76 percent of black-white biracial women identified as multiracial, whereas only 64 percent of black-white biracial men identified as multiracial.

A graph showing surveyed respondents’ self-identification by race. Source: American Sociological Review / American Sociological Review

“I argue that the different ways that biracial people are viewed by others influences how they see themselves,” said Lauren Davenport, an assistant political science professor at Stanford University who produced the study. “Biracial men may be more likely to be perceived as ‘people of color.'”…

Read the entire article here.

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