Louisiana’s “Creoles of Color”: Ethnicity, Marginality, and Identity

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-06-04 18:44Z by Steven

Louisiana’s “Creoles of Color”: Ethnicity, Marginality, and Identity

Social Science Quarterly
Volume 73 Issue 3, September 1992
pages 615-

James H. Dormon, Alumni Distinguished Professor of History and American Studies
University of Southwestern Louisiana

This article traces the ethnohistory of Creoles of color, beginning with an examination of the social-historical order out of which they emerged, and argues the case that Creole marginality has been the major determinant of the Creole ethnic experience. While it is impossible to pinpoint the precise timing of the ethnogenesis of the group, it was certainly in the latter decades of the eighteenth century, during which years the group emerged as part of what the historian Laura Foner has termed a “three-caste social system” in colonial Louisiana. In the eighteenth century the dominant Louisiana population–the “hegemonic” population in current usage–was that of the white European elites (or those descending directly from such elites): large landowners and planter/merchants along with colonial officials, both civil and military. The increasingly large slave population, normally perceived by Europeans as African provided the agricultural labor deemed essential to staple crop production. Within the colonial social order, blacks were separated from the white population by caste lines written into law and generally enforced by social as well as legal sanctions. Yet from the beginning, and despite legal provisions forbidding the practice, whites and blacks established sexual contact, producing offspring that shared the genes of both parents.

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Creoles of Color of the Gulf South

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2012-01-29 19:37Z by Steven

Creoles of Color of the Gulf South

University of Tennessee Press
208 pages
Paper ISBN: 0-87049-917-3

Edited by:

James H. Dormon, Alumni Distinguished Professor of history and American Studies
University of Southwestern Louisiana

Consisting of eight original essays by noted scholars, this volume examines the history and culture of a unique population—those peoples in the Gulf region who descended from the colonial and antebellum free persons of color and who represent the middle ground in the region’s “tri-racial” social order.
Although the book begins with an analysis of the Creole population’s origins in the New Orleans area, the subsequent essays focus on the Creole communities outside that city. Throughout the volume the contributors demonstrate the persistence of the Creole ethnic identity. Included are examinations of Creole populations in the cities of Pensacola and Mobile, as well as those in the bayou and prairie regions of Louisiana. In addition to dealing with sociohistorical aspects of the Creole experience, the book features essays that examine language, music, and folklore. The concluding essay, which cuts across several disciplines, covers the late-twentieth-century revitalization of the Gulf Creole communities.

With its multidimensional, cross-disciplinary emphasis, Creoles of Color of the Gulf South constitutes an especially notable contribution to the current scholarly interest in ethnic minorities and racial dynamics in American history and culture.

Contributors: Barry Jean Ancelet, Carl A. Brasseaux, James H. Dormon, Virginia Meacham Gould, Kimberly S. Hanger, Loren Schweninger, Nicholas R. Spitzer, Albert Valdman.

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