Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2017-01-19 02:24Z by Steven

Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
October 2017
295 pages
ISBN13: 978-1-77112-240-5

Michelle La Flamme, Professor of English
University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Canada’s history is bicultural, Indigenous, and multilingual, and these characteristics have given risen to a number of strategies used by our writers to code racially mixed characters. This book examines contemporary Canadian literature and drama in order to tease out some of those strategies and the social and cultural factors that inform them.

Racially hybrid characters in literature have served a matrix of needs. They are used as shorthand for interracial desire, signifiers of taboo love, images of impurity, symbols of degeneration, and examples of beauty and genetic perfection. Their fates have been used to suggest the futility of marrying across racial lines, or the revelation of their “one drop” signals a climactic downfall. Other narratives suggest mixed-race bodies are foundational to colonization and signify contact between colonial and Indigenous bodies.

Author Michelle LaFlamme approaches racial hybridity with a cross-generic and cross-racial approach, unusual in the field of hybridity studies, by analyzing characters with different racial mixes in autobiographies, fiction, and drama. Her analysis privileges literary texts and the voices of artists rather than sociological explanations of the mixed-race experience. The book suggests that the hyper-visualization of mixed-race bodies in mono-racial contexts creates a scopophilic interest in how those bodies look and perform race.

La Flamme’s term “soma text” draws attention to the constructed, performative aspects of this form of embodiment. The writers she examines witness that living in a racially hybrid and ambiguous body is a complex engagement that involves reading and decoding the body in sophisticated ways, involving both the multiracial body and the racialized gaze of the onlooker.

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A Black Female Astrophysicist Explains Why Hidden Figures Isn’t Just About History

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-01-19 01:09Z by Steven

A Black Female Astrophysicist Explains Why Hidden Figures Isn’t Just About History

Gizmodo
2017-01-17

Rae Paoletta


Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson in Hidden FiguresImage: 20th Century Fox/YouTube

First, it beat Star Wars: Rogue One. Now, for the second weekend since its wide-release debut, Hidden Figures—the true story of three black female mathematicians at NASA—is number one at the box office. It’s raked in roughly $6o million so far, and counting.

The inspiring story of Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan has reenergized the ongoing conversation about the importance of inclusivity in STEM. Though we’ve long done away with the Jim Crow laws depicted in Hidden Figures, black women in are still notoriously underrepresented in mathematical sciences, including physics. A quick look at the numbers proves it: between 1973 and 2012, 22,172 white men received PhDs in physics. Only 66 black women did.

Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein was one of those women.


Chanda Prescod-Weinstein Image Credit: GR21 LOC

In 2010, Prescod-Weinstein became the 63rd black American woman to ever earn a PhD in physics, from the Perimeter Institute at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Now, as a theoretical astrophysicist who’s worked at MIT and, more recently, the University of Washington, she is an advocate for black women and non-binary people in STEM…

Read the entire interview here.

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98-Year-Old NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson: ‘If You Like What You’re Doing, You Will Do Well’

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Women on 2017-01-19 00:39Z by Steven

98-Year-Old NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson: ‘If You Like What You’re Doing, You Will Do Well’

People
2016-11-04

Caitlin Keating

Katherine Johnson thinks all of her accomplishments over the 98 years she’s been alive are “ordinary.”

But to the rest of the world, they’re anything but.

Johnson, a physicist, space scientist and mathematician graduated from high school at 14-years-old, attended college the very next year and was the first African-American woman to desegregate the graduate school at West Virginia University…

…In 1953, after years of being a teacher, she began working for NASA where she was nicknamed the “human computer.”

Johnson was able to calculate the trajectory for numerous space missions, including for the space flight of Alan Shepard, the first American in space and the trajectory for the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon…

Read the entire interview here.

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Statement by Joseph Boyden

Posted in Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Statements on 2017-01-19 00:25Z by Steven

Statement by Joseph Boyden

CNW: A Cision Company
2017-01-11

Joseph Boyden

TORONTO, Jan. 11, 2017 /CNW/ – A few weeks ago, I found out that my 85-year-old mom had been contacted by a journalist who prodded her with pointed and personal questions about her heritage. Specifically, he asked her to prove how Indigenous she is.

My family’s heritage is rooted in our stories. I’ve listened to them, both the European and the Indigenous ones, all my life. My older sisters told me since childhood about my white-looking father helping his Indian-looking brother hide their blood in order to survive in the early 1900’s. My mother’s family history is certainly not laid out neatly in the official records, or on ancestry.ca either. From the age of nine or ten, the woman I knew as my grandmother told me stories about my mother that, until recently, my mother preferred not to share with anyone. The details are private and painful, yet my mother has been forced to revisit aspects of her past she believed were closed away forever.

Children don’t go about consciously presenting identities; they just are who they are. And that’s how I was: a white kid from Willowdale with native roots. The Ojibwe family I grew-up with in summers on Christian Island still call me cousin or uncle.  The bad poetry I first scribbled as a troubled teen was about searching for my mother’s clan.  For the last 22 years I’ve been a member of a Moose Cree First Nation family, active in their community and doing everything we can to get youth out onto the land at Camp Onakawana on the Abitibi River. This is my life.  And I’ve always said pretty much the same thing: “a small part of me is Indigenous, but it’s a big part of who I am.”…

Read the entire new release here.

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In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2017-01-19 00:16Z by Steven

In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World

BenBella Books
2017-03-28
256 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1944648169

Rachel Doležal (with Storms Reback)

A lot of people think they know what Rachel Doležal is.

Race faker. Liar. Opportunist. Crazy bitch.

But they don’t get to decide who Rachel Doležal is.

What determines your race? Is it your DNA? The community in which you were raised? The way others see you, or the way you see yourself?

On June 11, 2015, the media “outed” Rachel Doležal as a white woman who had knowingly been “passing” as black. When asked if she were African American during an interview about the hate crimes directed at her and her family, she hesitated before ending the interview and walking away. Some interpreted her reluctance to respond and hasty departure as dishonesty, while others assumed she lacked a reasonable explanation for the almost unprecedented way she identified herself.

With In Full Color, Rachael Doležal describes the path that led her from being a child of white evangelical parents to an NAACP chapter president and respected educator and activist who identified as black. Along the way, she’ll discuss the deep emotional bond she formed with her four adopted black siblings, the sense of belonging she felt while living in black communities in Jackson, Mississippi and Washington, D.C., and the discrimination she’s suffered while living as a black woman.

Her story is nuanced and complex, and in the process of telling it, she forces us to consider race in an entirely new light—not as a biological imperative, but as a function of the experiences we have, the culture we embrace, and, ultimately, the identity we choose.

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President with a torpedo in his crotch: how the works of Lubaina Himid speak to Trump times

Posted in Africa, Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-01-19 00:07Z by Steven

President with a torpedo in his crotch: how the works of Lubaina Himid speak to Trump times

The Guardian
2017-01-17

Hettie Judah


Lubaina Himid among the cutouts of slaves that form her 2004 piece Naming the Money, at Spike Island contemporary art centre in Bristol. Photograph: Adrian Sherratt for the Guardian

Born in Zanzibar and raised in Britain, Lubaina Himid makes work about everything from slavery to Thatcher to the cotton trade. Now in her 60s, she’s finally getting the recognition she deserves

Lubaina Himid was just four months old when her father died. It was 1954 and her Blackpool-born mother decided to leave their home in Zanzibar and head back to Britain, where she brought her daughter up as a Londoner. Himid would not return to the place of her birth for 43 years.

So for much of her early career, Himid painted a kind of homeland of the imagination. Her theatrical, large-scale works were populated by sturdy, redoubtable women and characterised by scorching, oven-baked colours. “I think I was always trying to paint Zanzibar somehow,” says Himid, now an energetic woman in her early 60s. “I was always trying to live it in my head.”

What stopped her going back? Money, of course, and her lack of Swahili. But there was something else: “Fear, in some senses. When we left, my father had just died and that turmoil and the fear of it never really left me.” She finally summoned up the courage to make the trip with her friend, the artist Maud Sulter, in 1997. “When I went, it was easy of course – because I was home, bizarrely.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Shaken Out of Time: Black Bodies and Movement in Zadie Smith’s Swing Time

Posted in Africa, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-01-18 21:30Z by Steven

Shaken Out of Time: Black Bodies and Movement in Zadie Smith’s Swing Time

Virginia Quarterly Review
Volume 93, Number 1, Winter 2017
pages 196-199

Kaitlyn Greenidge
Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont

Swing Time By Zadie Smith, Penguin, 2016, 464p. HB, $27.

Midway through Zadie Smith’s new novel, Swing Time, the unnamed narrator watches two girls walk “hand in hand” down a dusty road in an anonymous, fictionalized African country. “They looked like best friends,” she notes—that “looked” suggesting the mysteries of friendship that the novel has been dedicated to up until that point. “They were out at the edge of the world, or of the world I knew, and watching them, I realized it was…almost impossible for me to imagine what time felt like for them, out here.” The girls inevitably remind the narrator of her own lost, best friend, Tracey, who angrily haunts the novel, forever resisting the narrator’s attempts to regulate her to incorporeality. Of their friendship, she notes, “We thought we were products of a particular moment, because as well as our old musicals, we liked things like Ghostbusters and Dallas. We felt we had our place in time. What person on earth doesn’t feel this way?” But the narrator is unable to place the two girls before her in any time. “When I waved at those two girls…I couldn’t rid myself of the idea that they were timeless symbols of girlhood…I knew it couldn’t possibly be the case but I had no other way of thinking of them.”

In an interview in T: The New York Times Style Magazine this past fall, Smith noted, “It just seemed to me that what was done to black people, historically, was to take them out of the time of their life. That’s what fundamentally happened. We had a life in one place and it would have continued and who knows what would have happened—nobody knows. But it would’ve gone a certain way, and we were removed from that timeline, placed somewhere entirely different, and radically disrupted. And the consequences of that are pretty much unending. Every people have their trauma. It’s not a competition of traumas. But they’re different in nature. And this one is about having been removed from time.” Swing Time is a novel that is fundamentally concerned with this question. What do we do, how do we respond, when we are violently shaken out of time, when we lose the thread of our own lives, when we are so certain of the narrative of our life and then are suddenly, jarringly, shaken loose? How do we reconcile, what are the lies and myths we tell ourselves, to try and reclaim our time? And when do those lies hurt us and when do they help us find our footing again?

When we meet the narrator of Swing Time, she is deep in the midst of mysterious disgrace, briefly infamous worldwide for a perceived wrong she’s committed against a Madonna-like global superstar who goes by the single name of Aimee. The narrator is Aimee’s assistant: She has worked tirelessly for the past decade helping Aimee, a white woman, set up a school for girls in that unidentified African country. Aimee is a woman who has created her own myth for herself, using sex and youth and pop music to forge a destiny that would not have been available to any woman a generation before her. The narrator meets her by chance, devotes her life to her, and finds herself unmarried and childless, a cog in the superstar celebrity machine of Aimee’s life. But it becomes clear, even though the narrator has spent her adult life serving Aimee, it’s not the pop star who holds her attention. Instead, she exists in a kind of suspended dream state, reliving her brief friendship with Tracey, the only other mixed-race girl in the narrator’s neighborhood in the early 1980s. The narrator’s parents are genteelly poor, and her mother, in particular, is ambitious: She reads postcolonial theory and takes courses on Marxism, ruthlessly forging her identity as a poor, black woman in Britain into a professional activist and self-conscious, self…

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New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Judaism, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2017-01-17 23:53Z by Steven

New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration

New York University Press
February 2017
368 pages
28 halftones
Cloth ISBN: 9781479888801

Judith Weisenfeld, Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor of Religion
Princeton University

When Joseph Nathaniel Beckles registered for the draft in the 1942, he rejected the racial categories presented to him and persuaded the registrar to cross out the check mark she had placed next to Negro and substitute “Ethiopian Hebrew.”  “God did not make us Negroes,” declared religious leaders in black communities of the early twentieth-century urban North. They insisted that so-called Negroes are, in reality, Ethiopian Hebrews, Asiatic Muslims, or raceless children of God. Rejecting conventional American racial classification, many black southern migrants and immigrants from the Caribbean embraced these alternative visions of black history, racial identity, and collective future, thereby reshaping the black religious and racial landscape.

Focusing on the Moorish Science Temple, the Nation of Islam, Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement, and a number of congregations of Ethiopian Hebrews, Judith Weisenfeld argues that the appeal of these groups lay not only in the new religious opportunities membership provided, but also in the novel ways they formulated a religio-racial identity. Arguing that members of these groups understood their religious and racial identities as divinely-ordained and inseparable, the book examines how this sense of self shaped their conceptions of their bodies, families, religious and social communities, space and place, and political sensibilities.

Weisenfeld draws on extensive archival research and incorporates a rich array of sources to highlight the experiences of average members. The book demonstrates that the efforts by members of these movements to contest conventional racial categorization contributed to broader discussions in black America about the nature of racial identity and the collective future of black people that still resonate today.

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Red and Yellow, Black and Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2017-01-17 01:09Z by Steven

Red and Yellow, Black and Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies

Rutgers University Press
304 pages
2017-06-09
13 photographs, 4 tables, 6 x 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8135-8730-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8135-8731-8

Edited by:

Joanne L. Rondilla, Program lecturer in Asian Pacific American Studies
School of Social Transformation
Arizona State University, Tempe

Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr., Associate Professor of Asian American Studies
Arizona State University

Paul Spickard, Professor of History; Professor of Asian American Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Red and Yellow, Black and Brown gathers together life stories and analysis by twelve contributors who express and seek to understand the often very different dynamics that exist for mixed race people who are not part white. The chapters focus on the social, psychological, and political situations of mixed race people who have links to two or more peoples of color— Chinese and Mexican, Asian and Black, Native American and African American, South Asian and Filipino, Black and Latino/a and so on. Red and Yellow, Black and Brown addresses questions surrounding the meanings and communication of racial identities in dual or multiple minority situations and the editors highlight the theoretical implications of this fresh approach to racial studies.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Introduction: About Mixed Race, Not About Whiteness / Paul Spickard, Rudy P. Guevarra Jr., Joanne L. Rondilla
  • Part I. Identity Journeys
    • Chapter 2. Rising Sun, Rising Soul: On Mixed Race Asian Identity That Includes Blackness / Velina Hasu Houston
    • Chapter 3. Blackapina / Janet C. Mendoza Stickmon
  • Part II. Multiple Minority Marriage and Parenting
    • Chapter 4. Intermarriage and the Making of a Multicultural Society in the Baja California Borderlands / Verónica Castillo-Muñoz
    • Chapter 5. Cross-Racial Minority Intermarriage: Mutual Marginalization and Critique / Jessica Vasquez-Tokos
    • Chapter 6. Parental Racial Socialization: A Glimpse into the Racial Socialization Process as It Occurs in a Dual-Minority Multiracial Family / Cristina M. Ortiz
  • Part III. Mixed Identity and Monoracial Belonging
    • Chapter 7. Being Mixed Race in the Makah Nation: Redeeming the Existence of African-Native Americans / Ingrid Dineen-Wimberly
    • Chapter 8. “You’re Not Black or Mexican Enough!” Policing Racial/Ethnic Authenticity among Blaxicans in the US / Rebecca Romo
  • Part IV. Asian Connections
    • Chapter 9 Bumbay in the Bay: The Struggle for Indipino Identity in San Francisco / Maharaj Raju Desai
    • Chapter 10. Hyper-visibility and Invisibility of Female Haafu Models in Japanese Beauty Culture / Kaori Mori Want
    • Chapter 11. Checking “Other” Twice: Transnational Dual Minorities / Lily Anne Y. Welty Tamai
  • Part V. Reflections
    • Chapter 12. Neanderthal-Human Hybridity and the Frontier of Critical Mixed Race Studies / Terence Keel
    • Chapter 13. Epilogue: Expanding the Terrain of Mixed Race Studies: What We Learn from the Study of NonWhite Multiracials / Nitasha Tamar Sharma
  • Bibliography
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index
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Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Mexico, Monographs, Social Science on 2017-01-17 01:03Z by Steven

Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America

Duke University Press
2017-05-05
328 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6358-3
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-6373-6
12 illustrations

Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester

Race mixture, or mestizaje, has played a critical role in the history, culture, and politics of Latin America. In Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom, Peter Wade draws on a multidisciplinary research study in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia. He shows how Latin American elites and outside observers have emphasized mixture’s democratizing potential, depicting it as a useful resource for addressing problems of racism (claiming that race mixture undoes racial difference and hierarchy), while Latin American scientists participate in this narrative with claims that genetic studies of mestizos can help isolate genetic contributors to diabetes and obesity and improve health for all. Wade argues that, in the process, genomics produces biologized versions of racialized difference within the nation and the region, but a comparative approach nuances the simple idea that highly racialized societies give rise to highly racialized genomics. Wade examines the tensions between mixture and purity, and between equality and hierarchy in liberal political orders, exploring how ideas and scientific data about genetic mixture are produced and circulate through complex networks.

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