Passing Interest: Racial Passing in US Novels, Memoirs, Television, and Film, 1990–2010

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing on 2014-08-18 02:28Z by Steven

Passing Interest: Racial Passing in US Novels, Memoirs, Television, and Film, 1990–2010

State University of New York Press
July 2014
352 pages
Hardcover ISBN13: 978-1-4384-5227-2
Electronic ISBN13: 978-1-4384-5229-6

Edited by:

Julie Cary Nerad, Associate Professor of American Literature
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Explores how the trope of racial passing continues to serve as a touchstone for gauging public beliefs and anxieties about race in this multiracial era.

The first volume to focus on the trope of racial passing in novels, memoirs, television, and films published or produced between 1990 and 2010, Passing Interest takes the scholarly conversation on passing into the twenty-first century. With contributors working in the fields of African American studies, American studies, cultural studies, film studies, literature, and media studies, this book offers a rich, interdisciplinary survey of critical approaches to a broad range of contemporary passing texts. Contributors frame recent passing texts with a wide array of cultural discourses, including immigration law, the Post-Soul Aesthetic, contemporary political satire, affirmative action, the paradoxes of “colorblindness,” and the rhetoric of “post-racialism.” Many explore whether “one drop” of blood still governs our sense of racial identity, or to what extent contemporary American culture allows for the racially indeterminate individual. Some essays open the scholarly conversation to focus on “ethnic” passers—individuals who complicate the traditional black-white binary—while others explore the slippage between traditional racial passing and related forms of racial performance, including blackface minstrelsy and racial masquerade.

Table of Contents

  • Preface: The “Posts” of Passing / Gayle Wald
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. Introduction: The (Not So) New Face of America / Julie Cary Nerad
  • 2. On the Margins of Movement: Passing in Three Contemporary Memoirs / Irina Negrea
  • 3. “A Cousin to Blackness”: Race and Identity in Bliss Broyard’s One Drop: My Father’s Hidden Life / Lynn Washington and Julie Cary Nerad
  • 4. Can One Really Choose? Passing and Self-Identification at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century / Jené Schoenfeld
  • 5. Passing in Blackface: The Intimate Drama of Post-Racialism on Black. White / Eden Osucha
  • 6. Broke Right in Half: Passing of/in Alice Randall’s The Wind Done Gone / Julie Cary Nerad
  • 7. Passing for Chicano, Passing for White: Negotiating Filipino American Identity in Brian Ascalon Roley’s American Son / Amanda Page
  • 8. Race in the Marketplace: Postmodern Passing and Ali G / Ana Cristina Mendes
  • 9. Passing for Black, White, and Jewish: Mixed-Race Identity in Rebecca Walker and Danzy Senna / Lori Harrison-Kahan
  • 10. Smiling Faces: Chameleon Street, Racial Passing/Performativity, and Film Blackness / Michael B. Gillespie
  • 11. Consuming Performances: Race, Media, and the Failure of the Cultural Mulatto in Bamboozled and Erasure / Meredith McCarroll
  • Bibliography
  • Contributor Biographies
  • Index
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The Wind Done Gone

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Slavery on 2011-06-25 21:10Z by Steven

The Wind Done Gone

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
224 pages
Trim Size: 5.50 x 8.25
ISBN-13/EAN: 9780618219063
ISBN-10: 0618219064

Alice Randall

In this daring and provocative literary parody which has captured the interest and imagination of a nation, Alice Randall explodes the world created in Gone With the Wind, a work that more than any other has defined our image of the antebellum South. Taking sharp aim at the romanticized, whitewashed mythology perpetrated by this southern classic, Randall has ingeniously conceived a multilayered, emotionally complex tale of her own—that of Cynara, the mulatto half-sister, who, beautiful and brown and born into slavery, manages to break away from the damaging world of the Old South to emerge into full life as a daughter, a lover, a mother, a victor. The Wind Done Gone is a passionate love story, a wrenching portrait of a tangled mother-daughter relationship, and a book that “celebrates a people’s emancipation not only from bondage but also from history and myth, custom and stereotype” (San Antonio Express-News).

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Hybridity in Cooper, Mitchell and Randall: Erasures, Rewritings, and American Historical Mythology

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Slavery on 2010-12-18 04:05Z by Steven

Hybridity in Cooper, Mitchell and Randall: Erasures, Rewritings, and American Historical Mythology

McGill University, Montreal
Department of English
August, 2004
86 pages

Marie Thormodsgard

Submitted in partial fulfillment for a Masters degree in English

This thesis starts with an overview of the historical record tied to the birth of a new nation studied by Alexis de Tocqueville and Henry Steele Commager. It singles out the works of Henry Nash Smith and Eugene D. Genovese for an understanding, respectively, of the “myth of the frontier” tied to the conquest of the American West and the “plantation myth” that sustained slavery in the American South. Both myths underlie the concept of hybridity or cross-cultural relations in America. This thesis is concerned with the representation or lack of representation of hybridity and the roles played by female characters in connection with the land in two seminal American novels and their film versions—James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans, and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind—and Alice Randall’s rewriting of Mitchell’s novel, The Wind Done Gone, as a point of contrast. Hybridity is represented in the mixed-race bodies of these characters. Mitchell’s novel, and its film version in particular, create images which, according to bell hooks, “in the space of popular media culture black people in the U.S. and black people globally often look at [them]selves through images, through eyes that are unable to truly recognize [them], so that [they] are not represented as [them]selves but seen through the lens of the oppressor” (Yearning 155). I analyze how this “lens” has created a selective American cultural memory that leaves out the syncretism that is part of the American historical record and privileges the fostering of notions ofracial “purity.” My overall argument links the recurrent patterns of destruction visited on the hybrid bodies of mixed-race females with the destruction of the environment. This thesis demonstrates how literary and cinematic representations in American popular culture siphon lived history into cultural memory through the use and misuse of the hybrid female body.

The first chapter addresses James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans; concentrating on the characterization of Cora, who in the text is of mixed Caribbean ancestry, and is sacrificed for the “pure” American ideal to develop. The 1992 film version, however, erases Cora’s mixed-ethnicity and sacrifice while she still stands for the figure of the frontier heroine. The second chapter focuses on Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind and the 1939 film version. While Mitchell does not directly confront the issue of racial mixing, the Reconstruction half of the text portrays the Klu Klux Klan as resulting from a fear of white women and former slaves reproducing and therefore is representative of the South’s mythology and identity politics. The film erases Mitchell’s single hybrid character, Dylcie, and all references to hybridization and the KKK. The third chapter concentrates on Alice Randall’s The Wind Done Gone, which deconstructs the racial markers of polarized pigmentations in the original text. Essentially, Randall’s novel brings out what was left out of both Mitchell’s novel and its film version: the distorted notion of racial “purity” among slaves and slaveowners.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans
  • Chapter Two: Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind
  • Chapter Three: Randall’s The Wind Done Gone
  • Conclusion
  • Works Cited

Read the entire thesis here.

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