Mixed Signals: Examining Ethnic Affirmation as a Factor in the Discrimination-Depression Relationship with Multiracial and Monoracial Minority Adolescent Girls

Posted in Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-07-11 02:04Z by Steven

Mixed Signals: Examining Ethnic Affirmation as a Factor in the Discrimination-Depression Relationship with Multiracial and Monoracial Minority Adolescent Girls

University of Connecticut
62 pages

Linda A. Oshin

A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

Multiracial adolescents are a growing segment of our population, but not much is known about their ethnic-racial identity development. The current study examined ethnic affirmation, a dimension of ethnic-racial identity, and race socialization and their influence in the relationship between perceived group discrimination and depressive symptoms among multiracial (n = 42) and monoracial minority Black (n = 29) and Latina (n = 95) adolescents (M=15.4 years). Results showed that there were no mean differences between multiracial and monoracial adolescents in ethnic affirmation, maternal race/ethnic socialization, or depressive symptoms. Multiracial adolescents reported significantly less perceived discrimination. There was also evidence that the indirect effect of perceived discrimination on depressive symptoms via ethnic affirmation differed between multiracial and monoracial adolescents. Implications of these results for treatment and research are discussed.

Read the entire thesis here.

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Contested Identities: Racial Indeterminacy and Law in the American Novel, 1900-1942

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-01-27 03:14Z by Steven

Contested Identities: Racial Indeterminacy and Law in the American Novel, 1900-1942

University of Connecticut

Rebecca S. Nisetich

In Contested Identities, I chart the path of the legal and literary discourses on racial identity, codified by the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision and culturally ascendant in the early decades of the twentieth century. In this period, a group of American writers produced fiction that implicitly challenged this legal and cultural discourse. My project explores the literary productions of Charles W. Chesnutt, Nella Larsen, and William Faulkner—three writers who undermine, question, and critique the legal and social practices that seek to define and contain individual identities in binary terms. Specifically, in Contested Identities I explore why Chesnutt, Larsen, and Faulkner create characters whose identities are not clearly articulated, defined, or knowable, and why they intentionally position these figures in relation to the law.

At the center of each of these texts there remains a void where racial information might be clearly articulated, defined, or corroborated, but isn’t. This enables Chesnutt, Larsen, and Faulkner to underscore an unresolved tension between what must be true and what cannot be known, a dynamic which throws into relief the maddening complexity of human experience in opposition to cut-and-dry legal and popular definitions of “race,” which operate under the assumption that blood proportions are easily known, and that specific blood proportions determine identity. I argue that it is racial indeterminacy that animates these writers’ explorations of identity, and that it is the fundamental theme that binds these characters and texts together. The law treats race as a matter of identity; my dissertation argues that the law is instead a crucial factor in the formation of the racial identity of individual characters.

Available for download here on or after 2024-05-01.

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Beyond “Code-switching:” The Racial Capital of Black/White Biracial Americans

Posted in Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-01-23 23:20Z by Steven

Beyond “Code-switching:” The Racial Capital of Black/White Biracial Americans

University of Connecticut
170 pages

Chandra D. L. Waring

A Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Social science has examined the experiences of the burgeoning bi/multiracial population within the scope of three core areas: racial identity (Funderburg 1994; Kilson 2001; Rockquemore and Brunsma 2008; Renn 2004; Root 1996), social psychological well-being (Bracey et al. 2004; Campbell and Eggerling-Boek 2006; Cheng and Lively 2010; Binning et al. 2009) and family racial socialization (DaCosta 2007; Dalmage 2000; Samuels 2009; Socha and Diggs 1999; Twine 2010). In my dissertation, I shift the theoretical focus from identity and well-being to the conceptual development of how race—embedded with assumptions, understandings and histories—shapes bi/multiracial Americans’ everyday social interactions with white and black Americans. Through 60 in-depth, semi-structured, life story interviews, I found that the majority of my participants reported interacting differently during encounters with whites and blacks or when in predominately white settings versus predominately black settings as a means to establish racial in-group membership. In an effort to analyze these interactional patterns, I offer the concept of “racial capital” to call attention to the repertoire of racial resources (i.e. knowledge, experiences, meaning and language) that biracial Americans draw upon to negotiate racial boundaries in a highly racialized society. While past research on bi/multiracials has created conceptual frameworks for racial identity trends as well as social psychological development, these studies have not systematically considered how everyday interactions unfold, and how bi/multiracials draw upon a unique racialized “tool kit” (Swidler 1986) to work within and around racial boundaries. Furthermore, while racism scholars have discussed the negotiation of racial boundaries for other populations that do not neatly fit into racial categories, such as second generation South Asian Americans (Purkayastha 2005), these processes have not been systematically addressed in the bi/multiracial population. Through the narratives of my respondents, I fill this gap in the literature.


  • Chapter 1: Introduction: Why Study Biracials?
  • Chapter 2: Methodological Considerations
  • Chapter 3: Made in America: Interracial Sexuality and Bi/multiracial Children
  • Chapter 4: Race and Resemblance: Exploring Relationships in Multiracial Families
  • Chapter 5: “It’s Like We Have an ‘In’ Already:” The Racial Capital of Biracial Americans
  • Chapter 6: “I’m a Different Kind of Biracial:” Biracial Americans with Immigrant Parents Negotiate Race in the United States
  • Chapter 7: “I’m Exotic and That Intrigues Them:” Gender, Sexuality and the Racially Ambiguous Body
  • Chapter 8: Conclusions, Implications and Suggestions
  • Appendix: Interview Guide
  • References

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Lecturer points to racism in Harry Potter

Posted in Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2013-09-07 20:01Z by Steven

Lecturer points to racism in Harry Potter

The Daily Campus
The Independent News Source for the University of Connecticut

Christopher Kelly, Campus Correspondent

Nature of science fiction discusses race in unseen ways

Eric Hamako from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst came to speak to UConn students and faculty Wednesday about the increasing popularity of racist movies. Racism in this case is referring to stereotypes or what “Psychology Today” calls “empirical generalizations.” These generalizations stem from what may be or may have been true for a number of people, but do not extend to every member of a group.

Following this understanding of stereotypes, Dictionary.com defines racism as, “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.”

Hamako, who has a master’s degree in mass communication from Stanford and is half-Japanese and half-Jewish, lectures on the position of multiracial Americans in society. His lecture, “Harry Potter and the Mistaken Myth of the Mixed-Race Messiah,” addresses the polar opposite of the overt racism that was so prevalent in pre-Civil Rights Movement America: mass media subtle projections of stereotypes.

“Sci-fi, fantasy movies talk in code so that you can talk about mixed-ethnics without realizing you’re talking about it” he said…

Read the entire article here.

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The black experience in postwar Germany

Posted in Dissertations, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2012-09-11 02:42Z by Steven

The black experience in postwar Germany

University of Connecticut
Honors Scholar Program
36 pages

Jamie Christopher Morris

This paper endeavors to find the extent of anti-black racism in various sectors of German society following World War Two through an examination of primary sources and secondary scholarship. While some Germans, often women, tolerated and even loved African-American soldiers, many German men actively sought to keep black GIs out of their communities, encouraged by white GIs. Afro-German children were viewed as a huge and shameful problem to be dealt with en masse by the government. The development of German anti-black racism is interesting to track how the German people shifted from Nazi attitudes towards Americanized ones.


In the late 1940s a young and frightened German girl believed that the African-American soldiers marching through her town had tails hidden in their trousers, a rumor that had been told to her by a passing white soldier. A decade later that girl was dating one of those same black GIs, and had in fact approached him first to get his attention. She may have been recalling the fact that it was the black soldiers who had treated her the best as a child, giving her gifts and making sure she was clean, or she may have simply desired an American boyfriend in the hopes that he would lavish her with his comparatively rich lifestyle. The girl’s attitude reflects that of many Germans towards blacks in the late 1940s and 1950s. Public opinion of black soldiers grew locally in the towns that hosted them, driven in no small part by their generosity and kindness compared to that of white GIs, but their exotic appearance and unique American outlook also attracted attention and praise.

Of course there was also some strong resistance to the stationing of black American soldiers in occupied Germany. Vestiges of the National Socialist ideology of racial purity remained in many Germans’ thoughts, if not always in their speech and actions, as well as the traditional prejudice against anything different from themselves that clung still to most Europeans. But because of the intense Nazi focus on race and cleansing, and the uncovering of the Nazi atrocities, Germany was forced into a unique position of having to prove its mended ways; as historian Heide Fehrenbach notes, “The postwar logic of race that emerged in Germany was beholden to an internationally enforced injunction that Germans differentiate their polity and policies from the Nazi predecessor.” Thus over the 1950s the language of “race” all but disappeared in Germany, although prejudices were often just as strong as previously. These hatreds, however, were turned towards the new and highly visible group of racial “others”: blacks.3 Germans maintained a unique outlook towards this new racial group, convincing themselves that they were not racist but proving hostile towards blacks and those who associated with them. An overwhelmingly conservative system of values warred with the Germans’ vehement denial of the feelings of the past to create a uniquely hostile yet also inviting environment for African-Americans…

Read the entire thesis here.

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‘Going out of stock’: Mulattoes and Levantines in Italian literature and cinema of the Fascist period

Posted in Africa, Dissertations, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2011-10-09 02:14Z by Steven

‘Going out of stock’: Mulattoes and Levantines in Italian literature and cinema of the Fascist period

University of Connecticut
255 pages
Publication Number: AAT 3329116
ISBN: 9780549826118

Rosetta Giuliani Caponetto

A Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut

My dissertation examines, within Fascist propagandist literature and cinema of the 1930s, the hybrid figures of mulattoes—the offspring of interracial unions between Italian men and native women of Italy’s African colonies—and Levantines—white Italian immigrant merchants and craftsmen living in Alexandria, Egypt, who culturally intermingled with other ethnic groups. The popular novels and feature films I examine reveal the mulattoes and Levantines as interchangeable characters invalidating Benito Mussolini’s efforts at establishing a national identity based on a common cultural background, racial attributes, and religious beliefs. As my title suggests, I take mulattoes and Levantines out of the cinematic and literary “stock” of propaganda, where they were depicted as outside the stirpe (stock) of the Italian people, to reveal the inconsistencies within Fascist ideals of racial and cultural purity. In historical and anthropological terms, I intend to bring to light how literary and cinematic devices used to stigmatize mulattoes and Levantines often undermine themselves, calling attention to what was supposed to be absent or different from what was in “stock,” in the works themselves, in the actual peoples depicted and even in the motives of Fascist colonial enterprises. My analysis is informed by the framework of studies on exoticism, hybridity and mimicry, passing and the tragic mulatto, masculinity and femininity, and cultural studies, all of which lead back to the question: Why did Italians resist the ethnic and cultural metissage during colonialism and still to this day insist on “whiteness” when they describe themselves and their culture?

Table of Contents

  • Approval Page
  • Acknowledgments
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: ‘Speaking of Itself:’ Exoticism in ‘African Works’ of the Early Italian Colonialism
    • 1.1. Introduction
    • 1.2. Italian Colonialism from the Purchase of the Bay of Assab to the Ethiopian Campaign
    • 1.3. Exoticism and Colonialism
    • 1.4. Exploration and First Italian Colonization: Piaggia, Franzoj, Bianchi and Martini
    • 1.5. Italian Anthropology in the Second Half of the 19th Century and the Hamitic Theory
    • 1.6. Africa in the Literary Works of De Amicis, Salgari, D’Annunzio and Marinetti
  • Chapter Two: ‘Art of Darkness:’ The Aestheticization of Black People in Fascist Colonial Novel
    • 2.1. Introduction
    • 2.2. Mixed Race Children in Italy’s African Colonies
    • 2.3. The Colonial Novel
    • 2.4. Disciplining the Native Population and the Italian Audience
    • 2.5. Rosolino Gabrielli’s II piccolo Brassa
    • 2.6. Arnaldo Cipolla’s Melograno d’Oro, regina d’Etiopia
  • Chapter Three: Undermining Fascist Policies of Order and Risanamento. The Dissident Literature of Enrico Pea and Fausta Cialente
    • 3.1. Introduction
    • 3.2. Alexandria of Egypt: Historical Framework
    • 3.3. The Italian Emigrants of Alexandria
    • 3.4. Growing up in the Shadow of Alexandria
    • 3.5. Enrico Pea’s Egyptian Novels
    • 3.6. Fausta Cialente’s Levantine Characters
  • Chapter Four: Fade to White:’ How Italian Cinema Affiliated with Fascism Framed the Native Population of Italy’s African Colonies
    • 4.1. Introduction
    • 4.2. Demographic Colonization of Ethiopia
    • 4.3. Italian Cinema before Fascism
    • 4.4. ‘African Films’ during the Fascist Period
    • 4.5. Augusto Genina’s Lo squadrone bianco
    • 4.6. Guido Brignone’s Sotto La Croce del Sud
  • Bibliography

Purchase the dissertation here.

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4203W-01 – Racial Passing, Masquerade, and Transformation in African American Literature, Law, Film, and Culture

Posted in Course Offerings, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2010-12-05 05:57Z by Steven

4203W-01 – Racial Passing, Masquerade, and Transformation in African American Literature, Law, Film, and Culture

University of Connecticut
Fall 2010

Martha Cutter, Associate Professor of English

What is “race”? What is “whiteness”? What is “blackness”? What does it mean to be “mixed-race” or “multi-racial” in the US? This course will examine what racial passing—people who transform themselves from one race to another—can tell us about the meaning of race itself. Our methodology will be chronological as we test the idea that texts about passing and racial transformation both highlight, but also perhaps undermine, ideas about the meaning of race in a particular cultural and historical moment. Our focus will mainly be on twentieth and twenty-first century manifestations of racial passing and transformation, although we will also look at some earlier texts to get a sense of how ideas of race have changed over time. Our examination will also include scientific and legal texts which help us understand the meaning of blackness, whiteness, and race.

Texts: Charles Chesnutt, The House Behind the Cedars; William and Ellen Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; Nella Larsen, Passing; George Schuyler, Black No More; Randall Kennedy, Sellout; Danzy Senna, Life on the Color Line; Spike Lee (Director), Bamboozled; Ariela Gross, What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America; Barbara Koenig, ed. Revising Race in a Genomic Age (Excerpts); other readings on racial science.

For more information, click here.

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