Creolization: History, Ethnography, Theory

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United States on 2012-05-28 04:12Z by Steven

Creolization: History, Ethnography, Theory

Left Coast Press
March 2007
276 pages
6 x 9
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-59874-278-7
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-59874-279-4
eBook ISBN: 978-1-61132-467-9
eBook Rental (180 Days) ISBN: 978-1-61132-467-9

Edited by

Charles Stewart
Department of Anthropology
University College London

Social scientists have used the term “Creolization” to evoke cultural fusion and the emergence of new cultures across the globe. However, the term has been under-theorized and tends to be used as a simple synonym for “mixture” or “hybridity.” In this volume, by contrast, renowned scholars give the term historical and theoretical specificity by examining the very different domains and circumstances in which the process takes place. Elucidating the concept in this way not only uncovers a remarkable history, it also re-opens the term for new theoretical use. It illuminates an ill-understood idea, explores how the term has operated and signified in different disciplines, times, and places, and indicates new areas of study for a dynamic and fascinating process.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Creolization: History, Ethnography, Theory, Charles Stewart
  • 1. Creole Discourse in Colonial Spanish America, Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra
  • 2. Creoles in British America: From Denial to Acceptance, Joyce Chaplin
  • 3. The ‘C-Word’, Again: From Colonial to Postcolonial Semantics, Stephan Palmié
  • 4.Creole Linguistics from its Beginnings, Through Schuchardt, To the Present Day, Philip Baker and Peter Mühlhäusler
  • 5. From Miscegenation to Creole Identity: Portuguese Colonialism, Brazil, Cape Verde, Miguel Vale de Almeida
  • 6. Indian-Oceanic Creolizations:Processes and Practices of Creolization on Réunion Island, Françoise Vergès
  • 7. Creolization in Anthropological Theory and in Mauritius, Thomas Hylland Eriksen
  • 8. Is There a Model in the Muddle? ‘Creolization’ in African Americanist History and Anthropology, Stephan Palmié
  • 9. Adapting to Inequality: Negotiating Japanese Identity in Contexts of Return, Joshua Roth
  • 10. The Créolité Movement: Paradoxes of a French Caribbean Orthodoxy, Mary Gallagher
  • 11. Creolization Moments, Aisha Khan
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Shades of Difference: Why Skin Color Matters

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2011-04-02 18:04Z by Steven

Shades of Difference: Why Skin Color Matters

Stanford University Press
312 pages
11 tables, 15 figures, 16 illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 9780804759984
Paper ISBN: 9780804759991
E-book ISBN: 9780804770996

Edited by:

Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Professor of Asian American Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Shades of Difference addresses the widespread but little studied phenomenon of colorism—the preference for lighter skin and the ranking of individual worth according to skin tone. Examining the social and cultural significance of skin color in a broad range of societies and historical periods, this insightful collection looks at how skin color affects people’s opportunities in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and North America.

Is skin color bias distinct from racial bias? How does skin color preference relate to gender, given the association of lightness with desirability and beauty in women? The authors of this volume explore these and other questions as they take a closer look at the role Western-dominated culture and media have played in disseminating the ideal of light skin globally. With its comparative, international focus, this enlightening book will provide innovative insights and expand the dialogue around race and gender in the social sciences, ethnic studies, African American studies, and gender and women’s studies.



  • Introduction: Economies of ColorAngela P. Harris
  • Part I The Significance of Skin Color: Transnational Divergences and Convergences
    • 1. The Social Consequences of Skin Color in Brazil—Edward Telles
    • 2. A Colorstruck World: Skin Tone, Achievement, and Self-Esteem Among African American Women—Verna M. Keith
    • 3. The Latin Americanization of U.S. Race Relations: A New Pigmentocracy—Eduardo Bonilla-Silva and David R. Dietrich
  • Part II Meanings of Skin Color: Race, Gender, Ethnic Class, and National Identity
    • 4. Filipinos and the Color Complex: Ideal Asian Beauty—Joanne L. Rondilla
    • 5. The Color of an Ideal Negro Beauty Queen: Miss Bronze 1961-1968—Maxine Leeds Craig
    • 6. Caucasian, Coolie, Black, or White? Color and Race in the Indo-Caribbean Diaspora—Aisha Khan
    • 7. Ihe Dynamics of Color: Mestizaje, Racism, and Blackness in Veracruz, Mexico—Christina A. Sue
  • Part III Consuming Lightness: Modernity, Transnationalism, and Commodification
    • 8. Skin Tone and the Persistence of Biological Race in Egg Donation for Assisted Reproduction—Charis Thompson
    • 9. Fair Enough? Color and the Commodification of Self in Indian Matrimonials—Jyotsna Vaid
    • 10. Consuming Lightness: Segmented Markets and Global Capital in the Skin-Whitening Trade—Evelyn Nakano Glenn
    • 11. Skin Lighteners in South Africa: Transnational Entanglements and Technologies of the Self—Lynn M. Thomas
  • Part IV Countering Colorism: Legal Approaches
    • 12. Multilayered Racism: Courts’ Continued Resistance to Colorism Claims—Taunya Lovell Banks
    • 13. The Case for Legal Recognition of Colorism Claims—Trina Jones
    • 14. Latinos at Work: When Color Discrimination Involves More Than Color—Tanya Katerí Hernandez
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index

Read the Introduction here.

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Aisha Khan Lecture – New York University Professor Aisha Khan Speaks on Multiculturalism

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Women on 2009-11-06 20:37Z by Steven

Aisha Khan Lecture – New York University Professor Aisha Khan Speaks on Multiculturalism

St. Augustine News – STAN
University of the West Indies
July-September 2006
Page 24

Alake Pilgrim

[Article copied in full for readability.  To read in original print layout version (with photographs), click here.]

On the surface of things, Professor Aisha Khan, lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at New York University, might seem like a poster-child for multiculturalism. Born in Bangladesh and raised in California, her research originally took her among the Garifuna people of Honduras.  Her first visit to Trinidad was in 1984, and from 1987 to 1989 she conducted research among Trinidadians of East Indian descent in agricultural communities in the southern part of the island to which she has returned several times over the years.

However, Professor Khan, whose research is concerned with religious identity, race relations, social stratification and migration histories, took a very critical perspective on multiculturalism in her lecture. She questioned the extent to which this “slippery term”, which calls for the equal recognition of different “cultures” and “races”, can meaningfully foster greater harmony and equality in society.

Understanding the multiple meanings of multiculturalism requires an analysis of the changing definitions of culture, nationality, religion, race and colour in different contexts. As part of this process, Profesor Khan examined three models of multiculturalism – in the United States (US), Brazil and Trinidad.

In the US, she argued, the multicultural alternative to the “one-drop rule” of non-white inferiority and the assimilationist melting-pot narrative, proposes celebrating the multiple cultures (often referred to as “races”) that make up US society.  This trend is evident in articles featuring photos of “mixed race” celebrities like Jessica Alba and Vin Diesel as the new faces of beauty. But does this concept of multiculturalism really unseat the reigning Euro-American, middle-class ideal? To paraphrase Professor Khan, does making difference “cool” actually address structural inequality in societies, such as unequal access to resources like income, housing and education?

She took that question to Brazil, where the idea that miscegenation (a “mixed race” population) and non-racialism (deemphasizing the role of race in the society) had brought about a unified Brazilian nationalism, is currently being critiqued as myth. Contentious issues of affirmative action and a political quota system are now being debated in the public sphere. Paradoxically, Professor Khan stated, the affirmative action approach to multiculturalism both undermines and reinforces the foundations of social inequality, in that it pushes toward more fixed definitions of racial categories supporting faulty race-based assumptions. In addition, such an initiative continues to make race – a biological fallacy and social variable – one of the most central aspects of human identification.

On the other hand, she opined, trying to simply eliminate race as a category of identification doesn’t work either, because the historical, legal, social and economic systems of power built on concepts of race, persist throughout the world today.

She then turned to Trinidad, which she described as being structured under colonialism according to the hierarchy of plantation society, in which black people of African descent occupied the lowest tier of the social pyramid. Independence society, she stated, was built on Afro-Euro foundations, with the attempt by some to have a multi-cultural, multi-racial “rainbow” society that was quintessentially Trinbagonian. At the same time, the society faced the conundrum of a perceived deep-seated duality and supposed hostility between people of African and East Indian descent, which was encouraged by the colonial masters and entrenched by post-independence partisan politics. This conflict centres around competition for equal resources, as well as the question of what really constitutes equal representation.

While very real divisions exist, Professor Khan expressed the view that this version of irresolvable conflict between people of African and East Indian descent, denied the reality that people in Trinidad have been living, loving, working and struggling together practically from the moment they set foot on the island.

So, in light of these case studies, what was Professor Khan’s conclusion regarding multiculturalism’s potential to bring about greater equality? Not an overly favourable one… She suggested an alternative treatment of “race” and “culture” that addressed their social significance, without freezing people into fixed racial and cultural categories. And spoke firmly against using multiculturalism and other celebrations of diversity, as a way of denying ongoing discrimination, or de-emphasizing the importance of providing equal access to resources for the underprivileged and excluded members of society. Professor Khan’s most recent book is Callaloo Nation: Metaphors of Race and Religious Identity among South Asians in Trinidad.

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Callaloo Nation: Metaphors of Race and Religious Identity among South Asians in Trinidad

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion on 2009-10-12 22:38Z by Steven

Callaloo Nation: Metaphors of Race and Religious Identity among South Asians in Trinidad

Duke University Press
October 2004
280 pages
9 b&w photos, 2 maps
Cloth ISBN: 0-8223-3376-7, ISBN13: 978-0-8223-3376-0
Paperback ISBN: 0-8223-3388-0, ISBN13: 978-0-8223-3388-3

Aisha Khan, Associate Professor of Anthropology
New York University

Mixing—whether referred to as mestizaje, callaloo, hybridity, creolization, or multiculturalism—is a foundational cultural trope in Caribbean and Latin American societies. Historically entwined with colonial, anticolonial, and democratic ideologies, ideas about mixing are powerful forces in the ways identities are interpreted and evaluated. As Aisha Khan shows in this ethnography, they reveal the tension that exists between identity as a source of equality and identity as an instrument through which social and cultural hierarchies are reinforced. Focusing on the Indian diaspora in the Caribbean, Khan examines this paradox as it is expressed in key dimensions of Hindu and Muslim cultural history and social relationships in southern Trinidad. In vivid detail, she describes how disempowered communities create livable conditions for themselves while participating in a broader culture that both celebrates and denies difference.

Khan combines ethnographic research she conducted in Trinidad over the course of a decade with extensive archival research to explore how Hindu and Muslim Indo-Trinidadians interpret authority, generational tensions, and the transformations of Indian culture in the Caribbean through metaphors of mixing. She demonstrates how ambivalence about the desirability of a callaloo nation—a multicultural society—is manifest around practices and issues, including rituals, labor, intermarriage, and class mobility. Khan maintains that metaphors of mixing are pervasive and worth paying attention to: the assumptions and concerns they communicate are key to unraveling who Indo-Trinidadians imagine themselves to be and how identities such as race and religion shape and are shaped by the politics of multiculturalism.

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