The Mulatta as a Dominant Fictional Character

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Women on 2010-01-13 02:58Z by Steven

The mulatta emerged as a dominant fictional character and as a frequent subject for painters, photographers, and filmmakers not simply because she was as Hazel Carby deems her, “a narrative device of mediation”.  Far from resolving issues of race, class, and gender, the ambivalence of the mulatta figure fascinated writers and readers, artists and audiences.  The mulatta as icon, then became a representative of unspeakable subjugation and erotic desire, both inter- and intraracial.  Styled as the ideal template for measuring black femininity, she was, by turns, a constrained symbol of Victorian womanhood, a seductive temptress, and a deceptive, independent, modern woman.  Visual and fictional portraits of the mulatta attempted to balance and conjure these interpretations simultaneously, but only by tracing the dialogue between visual and fictional renderings can we comprehend the collaborative and experimental nature of these artistic endeavors.

Cherene Sherrard-Johnson. Portraits of the New Negro Woman: Visual and Literary Culture in the Harlem Renaissance.  New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. 2006. Pages xix-xx.


Belonging to Britain

Posted in Caribbean/Latin America, History, Live Events, New Media, Slavery, Social Science, United Kingdom, Videos on 2009-11-04 04:28Z by Steven

Belonging to Britain

The Munk Centre for International Studies
University of Toronto
Video Length: 00:46:36

Hazel V. Carby, Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of African American Studies
Yale University

In her lecture, “Belonging to Britain”, Hazel Carby looks at the historic relationship between England and Jamaica, including the history of the slave trade in Bristol and the complex question of identity for those of mixed British and West Indian heritage. Carby is a professor of African American Studies and American Studies at Yale University.

View the video here.

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