Memories of race: representations of mixed race people in girls’ comic magazines in post-occupation Japan

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-03-14 23:18Z by Steven

Memories of race: representations of mixed race people in girls’ comic magazines in post-occupation Japan

Sayuri Arai

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

As the number of mixed race people grows in Japan, anxieties about miscegenation in today’s context of intensified globalization continue to increase. Indeed, the multiracial reality has recently gotten attention and led to heightened discussions surrounding it in Japanese society, specifically, in the media. Despite the fact that race mixing is not a new phenomenon even in “homogeneous” Japan, where the presence of multiracial people has challenged the prevailing notion of Japaneseness, racially mixed people have been a largely neglected group in both scholarly literature and in wider Japanese society.

My dissertation project offers a remedy for this absence by focusing on representations of mixed race people in postwar Japanese popular culture. During and after the U.S. Occupation of Japan (1945-1952), significant numbers of racially mixed children were born of relationships between Japanese women and American servicemen. American-Japanese mixed race children, as products of the occupation, reminded the Japanese of their war defeat. Miscegenation and mixed race people came to be problematized in the immediate postwar years.

In the 1960s, when Japan experienced the postwar economic miracle and redefined itself as a great power, mixed race Japanese entertainers (e.g., models, actors, and singers) became popular. This popularity of multiracial entertainers created a konketsuji boom (mixed-blood boom) in Japanese media and popular culture. As such, the images and stereotypes of racially mixed people shifted considerably from the 1950s into the 1970s.

Through a close textual analysis of representations of mixed race stars and characters in major Japanese girls’ comic magazines published during the 1950s and 1960s, my dissertation illuminates the ways in which the meanings of mixed race people shifted from strongly negative to ambivalent, or even positive, in the context of postwar economic growth. Closely looking at the changing U.S.-Japan relations in the aftermath of World War II and in the Cold War context, this project provides insight into the ways in which memories of World War II and of the U.S. Occupation are reconstructed through representations of mixed race people in Japanese media and popular culture in postwar Japan.

As this dissertation project suggests, girls’ comic magazines are one of the few pivotal spaces where issues of race mixing in postwar Japan are allowed to be openly and regularly discussed, and where a wide range of multiracial people are portrayed in imaginative ways. As I argue, in the early post-occupation years, the overrepresentation of Black-Japanese occupation babies in girls’ comic magazines inadvertently contributed to foisting the blame of the former Western Occupation onto Black bodies and to reconstructing the image of the West.

Subsequently, during the 1960s, the whiteness of mixed race stars and characters, glorified in consumerist media culture, greatly contributed to overshadowing the image of the West as the former enemy and to dissociating racially mixed people from the stigma of being “occupation babies,” intimately entangled with the memory of Japan’s defeat in World War II.

My dissertation demonstrates that representations of racially mixed people in girls’ comic magazines played a crucial role in remaking the meanings of mixed race Japanese and reconstructing memories of World War II and the U.S. Occupation, in part because girls’ comic magazines have elaborated a distinct aesthetics, ethics, and worldview shaped within girls’ culture.

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Health Care, Research Failing to Adapt to U.S.’s Growing Multiracial Population

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Work, United States on 2015-10-13 19:02Z by Steven

Health Care, Research Failing to Adapt to U.S.’s Growing Multiracial Population

School of Social Work
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Data collection methods in research and health care settings have lagged behind in adapting to the rapidly growing population of multiracials, according to studies led by social work professor Karen M. Tabb Dina

Multiracial people who change their racial identity from a single race to multiracial over time may be healthier than their minority peers who consistently identify as monoracial, new research suggests.

Despite the U.S.’s rapidly growing population of multiracial individuals, researchers and health care systems continue to use outdated approaches to racial categorization that force people to classify themselves as monoracial, which may be masking the incidence of health conditions and obscuring disparities in health care access and utilization among multiracial populations, a University of Illinois scholar said.

Social work professor Karen M. Tabb Dina is the lead author of two recent studies that explored issues of racial identity and its impact on health care access and utilization among nearly 8,000 U.S. young people.

The subjects in both of Tabb Dina’s studies were participants in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, one of the first surveys to allow respondents to identify themselves as multiracial using two or more racial categories, Tabb Dina said.

Participants in the Adolescent Health survey were asked about their racial background during the first wave of data collection in 1994 and again during the third wave, conducted in 2002.

Of the 7 percent of participants identified as multiracial at either wave, only 20 percent of these people selected the same racial categories both times, Tabb Dina found.

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Racial Democracy: The Sociological History of a Concept

Posted in Anthropology, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Social Science, Videos on 2013-11-04 02:34Z by Steven

Racial Democracy: The Sociological History of a Concept

Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Antonio Sergio Guimarães, Professor of Sociology
Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

I will examine the coining, the uses, and meanings of the expression “racial democracy” from the 1930’s onwards including its transformation into an ideal for interracial cohabitation and of political inclusion of Blacks in postwar Brazilian modernity. It will also examine the refusal of the expression by the Black activists of the MNU (Movimento Negro Unificado) in the 1970s and their denunciation of its mythical character, as well as its current uses by anthropologists and sociologists engaged in the critique of identity politics.

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The Skin We’re In: A Literary Analysis of Representations Of Mixed Race Identity in Children’s Literature

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2012-11-19 01:11Z by Steven

The Skin We’re In: A Literary Analysis of Representations Of Mixed Race Identity in Children’s Literature

University of Illinois, Chicago
232 pages
Publication Number: AAT 3530952
ISBN: 9781267715739

Amina Chaudhri, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education
Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago

A Thesis Submitted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction in the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Chicago

This study systematically analyzed novels of contemporary and historical fiction with mixed race content intended for readers age 9-14. In the context of an increasingly multiracial and multicultural society, this study was primarily concerned with the question of identity representation: What is contemporary children’s literature saying about the experience of being racially mixed? This question was investigated along three strands: 1) How can literature about multiracial identity be usefully described and define? 2) What historical perspectives inform books about multiracial people? and 3) To what degree are contemporary authors maintaining or challenging racial paradigms?

A content analysis of ninety novels with mixed race content was undertaken to determine specific features such as gender, age, racial mix, family situation, socio-economic situation, racial makeup of environment, and setting. Three categories were created based historical paradigms about mixed race identity, and themes that emerged from the novels: 1) Mixed Race In/Visibility, 2) Mixed Race Blending, and 3) Mixed Race Awareness. All ninety novels were evaluated with respect to the criteria of the categories. Thirty-three novels were selected for deep literary analysis, demonstrating the ways historical perspectives about mixed race identity inform contemporary children’s literature.

Findings indicated three broad trends in representations of mixed race identity in children’s literature with novels falling almost equally between the three categories. Books in the Mixed Race In/Visibility category depicted stereotypically traumatic experiences for mixed race characters and provide little or no opportunity for critique of racism. Books in the Mixed Race Blending category featured characters whose mixed race identity was descriptive but not functional in their lives. Mixed Race Awareness books represented a range of possible life experiences for biracial characters who respond to social discomfort to their racial identity in complex and credible ways.


    • Background
    • Rationale
    • Overview of the Study
    • Research Questions
    • Literary Criticism
      • Literary Criticism in Children’s Literature
    • Critical Race Theory
      • Critical Race Theory in Children’s Literature
    • Mixed Race Perspectives
      • Theorizing Mixed Race Identity
      • Mixed Race Research in Children’s Literature
      • Setting the Stage
    • Text Identification
    • Search Parameters
      • Publication Date
      • Genre
      • Age of Intended Readership
    • Text Selection for Literary Analysis
    • Text Analysis – Content Analysis
    • Text Analysis – Literary Analysis
    • Terminology
    • The Big Picture
    • Mixed Race Identity in the Categories
      • Mixed Race In/Visibility (MRIV)
      • Mixed Race Blending (MRB)
      • Mixed Race Awareness (MRA)
    • Trends in Contemporary Realistic Fiction
    • Trends in Historical Fiction
    • Literary Analysis of Representative Books in Each Category
      • MRI/V in Contemporary Realistic Fiction
      • MRI/V in Historical Fiction
      • MRB in Contemporary Realistic Fiction
      • MRB in Historical Fiction
      • MRA in Contemporary Realistic Fiction
      • MRA in Historical Fiction
    • Themes in the Categories
      • Mixed Race In/Visibility
        • Wounded by Words
        • Inferior Vitality
        • Incomplete Amalgamation
        • Conclusion: Mixed Race In/Visibility
      • Mixed Race Blending
        • One Drop Still Rules
        • Revelations
        • All-American Biracials
        • Conclusion: Mixed Race Blending
      • Mixed Race Awareness
        • Conclusion: Mixed Race Awareness
    • Talking About Mixed Race Identity
    • Contributions
    • Limitations
    • Future Research
    • Conclusion
    • APPENDIX A: Books Identified for this Study
    • APPENDIX B: Books Listed by Genre
    • APPENDIX C: Books Listed by Category
    • APPENDIX D: Books Listed by Racial Mix
    • APPENDIX E: Instrument for Collecting Individual Text Data


  • TABLE III–1. Categories for Content Analysis
  • TABLE IV–1. Author Race
  • TABLE IV–2. Features of Books With Mixed Race Characters
  • TABLE IV–3. Mixed Race Representation Across Genre and Category

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Mining the garrison of racial prejudice: The fiction of Charles W. Chesnutt and turn-of-the-century White racial discourse

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2012-07-09 01:22Z by Steven

Mining the garrison of racial prejudice: The fiction of Charles W. Chesnutt and turn-of-the-century White racial discourse

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Robert Carl Nowatzki

This dissertation analyzes the fiction of Charles Waddell Chesnutt (1858-1932), the first black fiction writer published by a major American firm and widely reviewed and read by white critics and readers. My analysis focuses on the conflict between Chesnutt’s anti-racism and his attempt to make his critiques less threatening to his white publishers, critics, and readers. In order to demonstrate the ideological and discursive forces that Chesnutt resisted, I juxtapose his works with fiction and nonfiction prose by popular white authors and reviews of his work by white critics.

Chapter One provides the biographical, historical, ideological, and literary contexts of Chesnutt’s work. Each of the following five chapters examines one of Chesnutt’s books of fiction alongside literature by whites which deals with similar subjects and often expresses popular racist assumptions that Chesnutt’s fiction contests. Each chapter also demonstrates how white reviewers of his work often reiterated the racism that he resisted and dismissed him as a biased “Negro” author. Chapter Two interprets Chesnutt’s collection of plantation tales The Conjure Woman (1899) along with plantation fiction by Thomas Nelson Page and Joel Chandler Harris and pro-slavery nonfiction essays by Page and Philip Alexander Bruce. Chapter Three examines the treatment of miscegenation and depiction of mulattoes in Chesnutt’s collection of stories The Wife of His Youth (1899) in conjunction with anti-miscegenation literature by Page, Thomas Dixon, Jr., William Smith, and William Calhoun. Chapter Four focuses on the issue of passing and the “tragic octoroon” convention in Chesnutt’s novel The House Behind the Cedars (1900) and in novels by William Dean Howells, Gertrude Atherton, and Albion Tourgée. Chapter Five analyzes how Chesnutt’s 1901 novel The Marrow of Tradition critiques the black disfranchisement, segregation, and racial violence defended by Page, Dixon, Calhoun, Smith, and Bruce. Chapter Six interprets Chesnutt’s critique of sectional conflict and the “New South Creed” in his 1905 novel The Colonel’s Dream along with Henry Grady’s 1886 “New South” speech and literature by Tourgee, Harris, Page, Dixon, and Bruce. Chapter Seven briefly surveys the neglect and subsequent recovery of Chesnutt’s fiction since his death, and emphasizes the importance of studying his work in its historical, ideological, and literary contexts.

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Branding Blasians: Mixed Race Black/Asian Americans in the Celebrity Industrial Complex

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Dissertations, Media Archive, United States on 2012-07-08 14:46Z by Steven

Branding Blasians: Mixed Race Black/Asian Americans in the Celebrity Industrial Complex

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
May 2012
235 pages

Myra Washington, Assistant Professor of Communication & Journalism
University of New Mexico

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Communications in the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Contemporary multiracial discourses rely on two overarching frames of mixed-race: mixed-race as uniquely new phenomenon and mixed race as resistant to dominant paradigms of race and racism. Both have been necessary for multiracial activists and the mixed race movement, and have served as the foundation for much of the current research in mixed race studies. This dissertation posits that a third frame exists, one that neither sees mixed-race as new or unique, nor as a racial salve to move the United States past the problem of the color line. This third paradigm is pluralistic, fluid in its ambiguity, and allows for the potential of ambivalence and contradictions within mixed-race.

This paradigmatic shifting view of race rearticulates what it means to be Black, Asian, Other, and results in the creation of multiracial/other subjectivities which can become a formidable obstacle to the racial order of the United States. Importantly, this dissertation argues Blasians trouble the logic of existing U.S. racial classifications, without establishing their own. Blasians (mixed-race Black and Asian people) are challenging the hegemony of race constructed around the lives of not just Blacks and Asians, but all members of U.S. society, as we are all embroiled in the illogical (and contradictory) discourses framing our identities.

I do not offer Blasians as a racial salve, as resistant to or prescription for either race or racism through virtue of their mixed-race bodies. Instead, I have used this dissertation to describe the emergence of Blasians, not to add to the research that divides monoracials from multiracials, but to muddle the lines between them. The analyses of these celebrities acknowledge that to understand what is a Blasian, means to first understand, and then complicate, hegemonic notions of race as it applies to both Blacks and Asians. Contextualized against those dominant discourses, Blasians explode the narrow boundaries of authenticity around racialized categories. Blasians, as I discuss them in this dissertation do not escape race, or erase race, but they do force the reconstruction of normative instantiations of identity.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Parading Respectability: An Ethnography of the Christmas Bands movement in the Western Cape, South Africa

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Dissertations, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, South Africa on 2012-07-08 14:31Z by Steven

Parading Respectability: An Ethnography of the Christmas Bands movement in the Western Cape, South Africa

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
May 2012
238 pages

Sylvia R. Bruinders

The Christmas Bands march through Adderley Street late at night during the “festive season” in Cape Town, 2001.
Picture by Henry Trotter. The author releases it to the public domain.

A Dissertation Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Musicology

In this dissertation I investigate the Christmas Bands Movement of the Western Cape of South Africa. I document this centuries-old expressive practice of ushering in the joy of Christmas through music by way of a social history of the colored communities. The term colored is a local racialized designation for people of mixed descent–often perceived as of mixed-race by the segregationist and apartheid ideologues. In the complexity of race relations in South Africa these communities have emerged largely within the black/white interstices and remained marginal to the socio-cultural and political landscape. Their ancestral area is the Western Cape where most still live and where several of their expressive practices can be witnessed over the festive season in the summer months from December through March. The Christmas Bands Movement is one of three parading practices that are active during this period.

Drawing on Foucault’s notion of “embodied subjectivity” and Butler’s work on gender and performativity, I explore three main themes, two of which are overlapping, throughout this dissertation. First, I investigate how the bands constitute themselves as respectable members of society through disciplinary routines, uniform dress, and military gestures. Second, I show how the band members constitute their subjectivity both individually as a member and collectively as a band; each has a mutual impact on the other. Even though the notion of subjectivity is more concerned with the inner thoughts and experiences and their concern with respectability is an outward manifestation of a social ideal, these two themes overlap as both relate to how the members constitute themselves. Third, I explore how the emergent gender politics, given renewed emphasis in the new South African constitution (1995) has played out in local expressive practices through the women’s insistence on being an integral part of the performance activities of the Christmas Bands Movement. Their acceptance into the Christmas Bands has transformed the historically gendered perception of the bands as male-only expressive forms. Furthermore, I will illustrate how this cultural practice has gained in popularity during the last seventeen years of democratic rule in South Africa, which may suggest that the historical marginality of the communities is still very present.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Lecture Series. Multiculturalism and Miscegenation in the Construction of Latin America’s Cultural Identity

Posted in Anthropology, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, Social Science, United States on 2012-01-31 22:09Z by Steven

Lecture Series. Multiculturalism and Miscegenation in the Construction of Latin America’s Cultural Identity
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
101 International Studies Building
910 S. Fifth Street, Champaign, Illinois
2012-02-23, 12:00 CST (Local Time)

Eduardo Coutihno, Distinguished Lemann Visiting Professor of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Professor of Comparative Literature,  Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

For more information, click here.

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Mediating Blackness: Afro Puerto Rican Women and Popular Culture

Posted in Anthropology, Communications/Media Studies, Dissertations, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2011-07-12 02:41Z by Steven

Mediating Blackness: Afro Puerto Rican Women and Popular Culture

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
145 pages

Maritza Quiñones-Rivera

A Dissertation Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Communications in the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

In my dissertation I discuss how blackness, femaleness and Puerto Ricanness (national identity) is presented in commercial media in Puerto Rico. National identity, no matter how differently defined, is often constructed through claims to heritage, “roots,” tradition, and descent. In the western world, these claims, almost inevitably allude to questions of “race.” In Puerto Rico, it is the mixture of the Spanish, the Taíno Indian, and the African, which come to epitomize the racial/traditional stock out of which “the nation” is constructed, defended, and naturalized. This mixture is often represented by images, statues, murals across the island that display the three racialized representatives, as the predecessors of the modern, racially mixed Puerto Rican people. In their portrayals of black women, figures as Mama Inés (the mammy) and fritoleras (women who cook and sell codfish fritters), Caribbean Negras (Black Caribbean women) contemporary media draw upon familiar representations to make black women bodies intelligible to Puerto Rican audiences. In this dissertation I argue that black women are challenging these images as sites for mediating blackness, femaleness, and Puerto Ricanness where hegemony and resistance are dialectical. I integrate a text-based analysis of media images with an audience ethnographic study to fully explore these processes of racial and gender representation. Ultimately, my project is to detail the ways in which Black women respond to folklorized representations and mediate their Blackness by adopting the cultural identity of Trigueñidad in order to establish a respectful place for themselves within the Puerto Rican national identity. The contributions from the participants of my audience ethnography, as well as my own experiences as a Trigueña woman, demonstrate how Black women are contesting local representations and practices that have folklorized their bodies. The women who form part of this study also responded to the pressures of a nation whose official stance is that race and racism do not exist. In addition, I present global and local forces—and in particular commercial media—as means for creating contemporary Black identities that speak to a global economy. By placing media images in dialogue with the lived experiences of Black-Puerto Rican women, my research addresses the multiple ways in which Black identities are (re)constituted vis-à-vis these forces.


Media and popular culture are powerful venues in which women assert and communicate national and social identities.1 In this light, I contend that Black Puerto Rican women mediate their Blackness by challenging folklorized representations of themselves that are perpetuated in local commercial media and advertising. In the face of a society whose media presents “race” as part of the nation’s past, a fokloric identity, many women adopt a new language of Trigueñidad in order to find a place for themselves within the national landscape. Before I begin this line of research, it is vital to first review representations of race and gender in commercial television and other media in the island…

…Theoretical Framework

Overall, the process of mediating blackness in Puerto Rico is one caught in the dual tensions between the local media‘s inscriptions of black women as folklorized on the one hand, and the influences of U.S. popular culture and additional transnational media on the other. What is crucial here is the understanding that media messages and their representations do not work in a vacuum but form part of a broader social and cultural network, and that media itself is not a monolithic body that operates as a single, unified, controlling entity. Instead, media compose a complex set of production and consumption practices. In the case of Puerto Rico from 2003 to 2006, for instance, the influence of localized media began to dwindle following their purchase by American media conglomerates. A vast majority of television programming now comes from off-shore corporations (for example, telenovelas produced in Latin America) and U.S.-based, Spanish language commercial media. In spite of this narrowing of diversity, it is important to compare Black women‘s representation in one media to racial and gender representations in another. Approaching media from this standpoint allows me to critically combine elements of existing theories in order to gain a better understanding of the relationship between various media, Puerto Rican cultural identity, and black identity at the collective and individual levels. More specifically, my work is centrally interested in advertising and the way black women are represented in the Citibank advertisement mentioned above. It will be crucial not to examine advertising in insolation, however, but to also explore the representations of black women in different mass media forms, such as newspapers, television, radio, and Internet. The images of advertisements operate in a system of sign that can never work in isolation from other signs or cultural factors.

Mediating blackness is also a process that necessarily interacts with the commonly-held beliefs and daily practices of racially mixed populations in Puerto Rico and other Latin American and Caribbean countries. My dissertation thus explores the production, representation, and consumption of media by populations, and incorporates academic arguments on the shifting roles and boundaries of media in daily life. My central discussion of media accordingly draws upon several fields of academic inquiry, among them media studies, black feminism, body politics, and the study of racial blackness in Latin America and the Caribbean, though it is ultimately grounded in cultural studies approaches to media studies.

Among these common conceptions that must be addressed is the dominant notion of Puerto Rico as a culturally unified nation that has produced a racially mixed, democratic society. Representations of this unified Puerto Rican culture are presented in such institutions as museums, the government, the education system and other “official” cultural sites. In response to this collective Puerto Rican cultural identity, forming a racial identity is often a struggle for some non-white Puerto Ricans (See: my autoethnography in Chapter 3), especially when Puerto Rican blackness is represented as folklorized, and when racism is a tacit component of official culture (Warren-Colón, 2003, p.664). Scholars have given only minimal attention to this phenomenon, and to the dismissive or stereotypical treatment of black women‘s bodies through their folklorized representations in popular culture and other media…

Read the entire dissertation here.

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CRN 47519/47520-Mixed Race Asian Americans

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Course Offerings, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Social Science, United States on 2010-09-03 22:35Z by Steven

CRN 47519/47520-Mixed Race Asian Americans

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Fall 2008

Kent Ono, Professor of Asian American Studies, Communication, and Institute of Communications Research

Part of Asian American Ethnic Groups (AAS-450)

This course provides an introduction to the study of mixed race Asian Americans. From discussions of famous mixed race people, such as Tiger Woods, Keanu Reeves, Kristin Kreuk, Dean Cain, and Rob Schneider to research about interracial dating, interracial families, mixed race children, and multiracial activism, the course provides an understanding of theories of race, identity, and culture as they relate to biracial and multiracial Asian Americans. The course provides a theoretical understanding of racial identity formation, focusing at first on more general theories of race, and then moving to the more specific issues of multiracial identity and politics. Analysis of TV, film, and cyberspace images of mixed race Asian Americans will also lead to an understanding of the social context of our everyday experiences. Through readings, lectures, discussions, and course assignments, students will gain a broader understanding of race and its application to people of mixed racial heritage.

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