Mixed-Race? Black-Asian? Blasian? A Qualitative Study

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Social Science, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2021-05-24 17:35Z by Steven

Mixed-Race? Black-Asian? Blasian? A Qualitative Study


Ayumi Matsuda Rivero, Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology
University of California, San Diego

I am a multiracial Latinx-Asian doing research on the unique experiences of multiracial Black-Asians.

I am exploring how these individuals navigate and negotiate their ethnic and racial identity in predominantly white, Black, and Asian spaces. The first part of my research involves a short survey followed by interviews via Zoom. To be eligible for the study participants must either identify as multiracial Black-Asians or have parents who identify as Black and Asian.

If you decide to participate in this study, you will be interviewed on subjects that include:

  1. your racial and ethnic identity,
  2. the racial and ethnic identity of your family,
  3. your earliest memories of race/ethnicity,
  4. explicit/implicit messages you received about race by family and by others such as teachers, friends, communities, etc.,
  5. experiences of differential treatment based on race/gender,
  6. perceptions of race/gender stereotypes, and
  7. when you feel one or more of your identities most strongly. This completely voluntary, and your personal identifiers will be anonymized.

If you’d like to participate or have any questions about the study, please contact me directly at aematsud@ucsd.edu.

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Pacifically Possessed: Scientific Production and Native Hawaiian Critique of the “Almost White” Polynesian Race

Posted in Anthropology, Dissertations, History, Media Archive, Oceania, United States on 2014-02-23 22:48Z by Steven

Pacifically Possessed: Scientific Production and Native Hawaiian Critique of the “Almost White” Polynesian Race

University of California, San Diego
320 pages

Maile Renee Arvin

A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in Ethnic Studies

This dissertation analyzes how scientific knowledge has represented the Polynesian race as an essentially mixed, “almost white” race. Nineteenth and twentieth century scientific literature—spanning the disciplines of ethnology, physical anthropology, sociology and genetics—positioned Polynesians as the biological relatives of Caucasians. Scientific proof of this relationship allowed scientists, policymakers, and popular media to posit European and American settler colonialism in the Pacific as a peaceful and natural fulfillment of a biological destiny. Understanding knowledge as an important agent of settler colonial possession—in the political as well as supernatural, haunting connotations of that word— this project seeks to understand how Polynesians (with a particular focus on Native Hawaiians) have been bodily “possessed,” along with the political and economic possession of their lands. Thus, the project traces a logic of “possession through whiteness” in which Polynesians were once, and under the salutary influence of settler colonialism, will again be white.

The project’s analysis coheres around four figures of the “almost white” Polynesian race: the ancestrally white Polynesian of ethnology and Aryanism (1830s- 1870s), the Part-Hawaiian of physical anthropology and eugenics (1910s-1920s), the mixed-race “Hawaiian girl” of sociology (1930s-1940s), and the mixed-race, soon-to-be white (again) Polynesian of genetics, whose full acceptance in Hawaiʻi seemed to provide a model of racial harmony to the world (1950s). Rather than attempting to uncover “racist” scientific practices, the project reveals how historical scientific literature produced knowledge about the Polynesian race that remains important in how Native Hawaiians are recognized (and misrecognized) in contemporary scientific, legal and cultural spheres.

In addition to the historical analysis, the project also examines contemporary Native Hawaiian responses to the logic of possession through whiteness. These include regenerative actions that radically displace whiteness, such as contemporary relationship building between Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. At the same time, other regenerative actions attempt to reproduce Native Hawaiian-ness with a standard of racial purity modeled on whiteness, including legal fights waged over blood quantum legislation. Overall, the project provides a scientific genealogy as to how Polynesians have been recognized as “almost white,” and questions under what conditions this possessive recognition can be refused.


  • Signature Page
  • Dedication
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Acknowledgements
  • Vita
  • Abstract of the Dissertation
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: The Polynesian Problem and its Genomic Solutions
    • Part 1: Defining the Polynesian Problem
      • 1.1.1: From Who to Whose: Origins, Identity, and Possession of the Indigenous Pacific
      • 1.1.2: Polynesia Through the Christian Lens of Degeneration
      • 1.1.3: Heirlooms of the Aryan Race
    • Part 2: (Un)Mapping Humanity: Genetic Sameness and Mixture in the Pacific
      • 1.2.1: Genetically “Solving” the Polynesian Problem
      • 1.2.2: The Hawaiian Genome Project
  • Chapter 2: “Still in the Blood”: Past and Present Configurations of the “Part-Hawaiian”
    • Part 1: Eugenic Thinking About Native Hawaiian Betterment
      • 2.1.1: Eugenics Pedagogy in Hawaiʻi: Uldrick Thompson’s Hopes for the Hawaiian “Remnant”
      • 2.1.2: Sullivan’s “Two Types” of Polynesians
    • Part 2: Leveraging Blood and Whiteness
      • 2.2.1: Polynesian Blood and the Pre-requisite of Whiteness
      • 2.2.2: Calling the Law on “Native Hawaiians with a Capital N”
  • Chapter 3: Re-envisioning “Hybrid” and “Hapa”: Race, Gender and Indigeneity in Hawaiʻi as Racial Laboratory
    • Part 1: Hybrid Hawaiian Types: Native Hawaiian Women in Hawaiʻiʻs Racial Laboratory
      • 3.1.1: The Racial Laboratory of Romanzo Adams and the Chicago School of Sociology
      • 3.1.2: Hybrid Hawaiian Girls
    • Part 2: Hapa and Whole
      • 3.2.1: Kip Fulbeck’s Vision of Hapa as a “Whole” New Race
      • 3.2.2: Re-constellations of Asian Settlers, Haoles Settlers, and Native Hawaiians
  • Chapter 4: Beyond Recognition: Native Hawaiians, Human Rights, and Global Indigenous Identities
    • Part 1: Polynesia and Hawaiʻi in the Science of Race After World World II
      • 4.1.1: The Polynesian Problem as Anti-Racist Example
      • 4.1.2: “Tropical Democracy” and the Science of Stabilizing Mixed Race
    • Part 2: Reframing Recognition: Indigenous Rights and Relationships in Oceania and Beyond
      • 4.2.1: Polynesian / Pacific / Pacific Islander
      • 4.2.2: Indigenous / Non-Self-Governing Territory
      • 4.2.3: Native American / Alaska Native / Idle No More
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

Read the entire dissertation here.

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LTAM 140 – Topic in Culture and Politics: Being Brazilian: Race, Cannibalization and Animality in Brazilian Cultural Discourse

Posted in Anthropology, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Course Offerings, Media Archive, United States on 2013-01-17 23:18Z by Steven

LTAM 140 – Topic in Culture and Politics: Being Brazilian: Race, Cannibalization and Animality in Brazilian Cultural Discourse

University of California, San Diego
Winter 2010

Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Luso-Brazilian Studies

This course provides an introduction to Brazilian culture through essays, poetry, fiction, music and films that consider the meaning of “being Brazilian” (brasilidade). Our focus will be on texts that construct Brazil as a mixed-race (mestiço) nation. As the two largest post-slavery countries in the Americas, Brazil and the U.S. have long been engaged in comparative evaluations of one another. For this reason, we will also look at U.S. interpretations of Brazil as a Racial Democracy, as an “exotic” relic of the plantation era–replete with carnival, soccer, and enticing women of color advertising the nation’s beaches–or, alternatively, as a “tropical hell” characterized by unending violence, an image that reproduces nineteenth-century ideas about race and criminality. We will investigate Brazilian discourses of hybridization in the context of Latin American mestizo projects, the concept of cultural cannibalism and the human/animal dialectic that sustains postcolonial power. The course will be particularly concerned with how otherness is interpreted, and how specific representations come to be accepted as fact. Who is observing and assessing?  How does ethnography produce an unequal relation between the subject who analyzes and the object that is written up as text?

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LTAM 110 (A00) – Latin American Literature in Translation: “Brazilian Humanimals: Species, Race and Gender in Brazilian Literature”

Posted in Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Course Offerings, Media Archive, United States on 2013-01-17 23:14Z by Steven

LTAM 110 (A00) – Latin American Literature in Translation: “Brazilian Humanimals: Species, Race and Gender in Brazilian Literature”

University of California, San Diego
Spring 2012

Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Luso-Brazilian Studies

How do gender, race and species intersect in Brazilian literary representations? What is at stake in scrutinizing the ethical dimensions of human/ animal relations? How might such questioning be relevant for understanding dominant ideas about race, racial mixing and nation that shape Brazilian cultural identity? This course focuses on a series of Brazilian texts that place animals at center stage. Situating our readings vis-à-vis other media—essays, cinema—we will consider the animal not simply as metaphor for “human” experience; instead, we will focus on the ways that a series of Brazilian authors have challenged anthropocentrism (human-centeredness) in relation to other dialectics including black/white, periphery/center and female/ male. Though we will focus principally on Brazilian texts, we will situate them in the context of cross-cultural discussions in ecocriticism and species studies.

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Health in Black and White: Debates on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in Brazil

Posted in Anthropology, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Dissertations, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-01-10 22:56Z by Steven

Health in Black and White: Debates on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in Brazil

University of California, San Diego
320 pages
Publication Number: AAT 3458492
ISBN: 9781124703657

Anna Pagano

A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology

In 2006, the Brazilian Health Council approved a National Health Policy for the Black Population. The Policy is striking because it promotes the image of a biologically and culturally discrete black population in a nation where racial classification has historically been relatively fluid and ambiguous. It transforms established patterns of racialization by collapsing “brown” (pardo) and “black” (preto) Brazilian Census categories into a single “black population” (população negra) to be considered a special-needs group by the public health apparatus. This construction resembles the United States’ dominant mode of racialization based on hypodescent and represents a significant departure from hegemonic portrayals of Brazil as a racially mixed nation. Furthermore, the Policy challenges national ideologies of racial and cultural unity by affirming the existence of an essential black body with specific health concerns, as well as an essential Afro-Brazilian culture that materializes in recommendations for culturally competent health care. As such, the Policy constitutes an important site for new negotiations of racial and cultural identity in Brazil.

In this dissertation, I explore the political and social implications of treating racial and ethnic groups differently within Brazilian health care. I examine how the re-definition and medicalization of racial and cultural identities unfolds in public clinics, temples of Afro-Brazilian religion, and social movements based in São Luís and São Paulo, Brazil. Through an analysis of ethnographic data that I collected over twenty-four months, I assess the impact of recent developments in race-conscious health policy on Brazilians’ lived experiences of race, ethnicity, and health disparities.

I argue that the new Policy, and its associated health programs, signals the emergence of a new biopolitical paradigm in which the Brazilian state formalizes citizens’ racial and ethnic differences in order to address inequalities among them. I also show that many aspects of these programs, which incorporate global discourses and concepts related to health equity, fail to resonate with Brazilian citizens’ notions about race and health. Consequently, patients and healthcare providers often resist the new measures. The result is a disjuncture between policy and practice that ultimately hinders Brazil’s efforts to reduce health inequalities among its citizens.


  • Signature Page
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Acknowledgements
  • Vita
  • Abstract of the Dissertation
    • Chapter 1: Introduction
      • Race and Ethnicity
      • Biologization and the Re-Biologization of Race
      • Medicalization
      • Medicalization of Race
      • Biopower and Biopolitics
      • Applying a Biopolitical Framework to the Medicalization of Race
      • Race and National Identity in Brazil
      • Black Movement Activism
      • Public Health in Brazil
      • Ethnographic Field Sites
    • Chapter 2: Everyday Narratives on Race, Racism, and Health
      • Patients’ Narratives on Race and Health
      • Health Care Professionals’ Narratives on Race and Health
      • Patients and Providers: A Counter-Biopolitics
    • Chapter 3: The Birth of the Black Health Agenda in Brazil
      • Black Health Activism in Brazil
      • The Black Health Agenda in São Paulo
      • The Black Health Agenda in São Luís
    • Chapter 4: The Black Health Epistemic Community in Brazil
      • The Politics of Categorization
      • The Imperative of Self-Declaration
      • Etiological Claims
      • Medicalizing Racism
      • Discourses of Difference
      • Implications for Citizenship
      • Conclusion
    • Chapter 5: Health and Healing in Afro-Brazilian Religions
      • Afro-Brazilian Religions: A Brief Background
      • Mãe Letícia
      • Pai Cesar
      • Healing in Afro-Brazilian Religions
    • Chapter 6: Afro-Brazilian Religions and the State
      • Partnerships between Terreiros and SUS: Rehabilitating History
      • Razor Blades and Comic Strips
      • Other Sources of Conflict
      • Cultural Competence and the Terreiro
      • De-Sacralizing the Terreiro
      • Conclusion
    • Chapter 7: Afro-Brazilian Religions and Ethnic Identity Politics in the Brazilian
      • Public Health Arena
      • Terreiro Health Activists’ Identity Politics
      • Conclusion
    • Chapter 8: Health in Black and White
  • Bibliography


  • Figure 1. Household Income, 2000
  • Figure 2. Distribution of Race/Color (Pretos and Pardos), 2000
  • Figure 3. Public Health Facilities and Distribution of Population by Color in São Paulo, 2000
  • Figure 4. Population Density of São Paulo, 2000


  • Table 1. Characteristics of Sample Population
  • Table 2. Self-Identified Race or Color
  • Table 3. Beliefs Regarding Health Outcomes between Blacks and Whites

Purchase the dissertation here.

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The Japanese in multiracial Peru, 1899-1942

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, Dissertations, History, Media Archive on 2010-10-19 17:40Z by Steven

The Japanese in multiracial Peru, 1899-1942

University of California, San Diego
November 2009
335 pages
Publication Number: AAT 3355652

Stephanie Carol Moore

This study analyzes the integration of the Japanese into the politics of race and nation in Peru during the period from 1899 to 1942. The first generation of Japanese immigrants arrived in Peru at the apex of debates on national racial identity and popular challenges to the white oligarchy’s exclusive hold on national political and economic power. This dissertation examines how not only elites, but also working- and middle-class movements advocated the exclusion of the Japanese as a way of staking their claims on the nation. In this study, I argue that Peru’s marginalization of the Japanese sprang from racist structures developed in the colonial and liberal republican eras as well as from global eugenic ideologies and discourses of “yellow peril” that had penetrated Peru. The Japanese were seen through Orientalist eyes, conceptualized and homogenized as a race that acted as a single organism and that would bring only detriment to the Peruvian racial “whitening” project. Eugenics conflated women with their reproduction, leading “racial science” advocates to portray Japanese women in Peru as the nation’s ultimate danger and accuse them of attempting to conquer Peru “through their wombs.”

The Japanese men and women who settled in Peru, however, were also actors in their Peruvian communities. Many Japanese laborers, largely Okinawan, were participants in rural labor movements in Peru. Policymakers, hacienda owners, and local power holders, however, undermined class-based challenges to their authority by demonizing the Japanese as a cultural, racial, and political threat to the Peruvian nation. In stepping out of their rung on the racial hierarchy, the Japanese shop keepers also provoked resentment both among their fellow Peruvian business owners and elements within the urban labor movement. The deeper the Japanese Peruvians sank their roots into Peru, the more shrill became the accusations that they were “inassimilable.” Finally, opportunistic politicians played upon the Peruvian elites’ deepest fears by accusing the Japanese immigrants of joining with Peru’s indigenous people to launch a race war.

Table of Contents

  • Signature Page
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Lis of Tables
  • Map
  • Acknowledgements
  • Vita
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: The Historical and Hemispheric Context of Japanese Immigration to Peru: Independence to 1920s
  • Chapter Two: Japanese Workers on Peru’s Sugar Plantations, 1890-1923
  • Chapter Three: Conflict and Collaboration: Yanaconas in the Chancay Valley
  • Chapter Four: The Butcher, The Baker, and the Hatmaker: Working Class Protests against the Japanese Limeños
  • Chapter Five: Race, Economic Protection, and Yellow Peril: Local Anti-Asian Campaigns and National Policy
  • Chapter Six: Peru’s “Racial Destiny”: Citizenship, Reproduction, and Yellow Peril
  • Epilogue
  • Conclusion
  • References

List of Fugures

  • Figure 5.1: Anti-Asia cartoons
  • Figure 5.2: “The Asian Metamorphosis”
  • Figure 5.3: Business License of Y. Nishimura, Tailor, Lima
  • Figure 6.1: Mundo Gráfico Cartoon

List of Tables

  • Table 4.1: Selected Professions of Peruvians and Foreigners (Lima 1908)
  • Table 4.2: 1940 Investigation of Japanese Bakeries, Lima
  • Table 6.1: Births to Japanese Women in Lima

Order the dissertation here.

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