Prof. Khanna widely consulted in Dolezal controversy

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2015-06-17 22:41Z by Steven

Prof. Khanna widely consulted in Dolezal controversy

UVM Department of Sociology
University of Vermont

Prof. Nikki Khanna, an expert in shifting racial identities and the social construction of race, has been widely sought after by the media in the wake of the controversy about Rachel Dolezal. Some of the media outlets where she was quoted or appeared include:

Read the entire press release here.

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From the Golden Gate to the Green Mountains: A Hapa Educational Autobiography and Meta-Critical Reflection

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2013-02-21 03:48Z by Steven

From the Golden Gate to the Green Mountains: A Hapa Educational Autobiography and Meta-Critical Reflection

University of Vermont
October 2012
65 pages

Noelle Brassey

A Thesis Presented to The Faculty of the Graduate College of The University of Vermont In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts Specializing in English

As a former UC Berkeley undergraduate and a University of Vermont graduate student, this is an educational autobiography of a self-identified Hapa, or mixed-race Asian American, through the lens of race and identity. Exploring what it means to be “white” and “privileged,” and realizing that these concepts—like identity—are fluid, this thesis adopts a dual methodology that includes personal narrative, as well as a meta-critical reflection. This thesis focuses on three memoirs: Bone Black and Wounds of Passion by bell hooks, and Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez, each of which explore themes of reclaiming voice and reconstructing identity with regards to race, class, and culture.

Read the entire thesis here.

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HCOL 86 E: D1: Mixed: Multiracialism in U.S. Culture

Posted in Anthropology, Course Offerings, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-11-19 00:05Z by Steven

HCOL 86 E: D1: Mixed: Multiracialism in U.S. Culture

University of Vermont
The Honors College
Spring 2013

John Gennari, Associate Professor of English

This seminar will examine the theme of multiracial identity and culture in the United States. We’ll consider how U.S. concepts and ideologies of race have developed historically, and why within that history multiracial people and culture have been considered both a problem (e.g. the “tragic mulatto” figure in pre-1960s fiction and film) and a solution (e.g. the vaunted racial pluralism of jazz, the reformist rhetoric and ideology of post-civil rights era multiculturalism). We’ll consider how mixed-race identity and experience challenge and complicate racial classification schemes that govern U.S. institutional life, public policy, popular perception, and private imagination. We’ll reckon with the myriad ways multiracial people and culture point up the massive confusion of American thinking about race—a confusion perhaps best typified by the heralding of a so-called “post-racial” order upon the election of a mixed-raced President, only immediately to see Barack Obama’s racial and national identity become a source of lurid obsession. Course materials include historical and theoretical literature, personal essays and narratives, film, music, and other forms of popular culture. In addition to participating actively in class discussions, students will engage in regular informal and formal writing (in-class free writing, short essays, a longer final paper) and will stage a group presentation.

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Passing as Black

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States, Women on 2011-03-31 01:03Z by Steven

Passing as Black

The University of Vermont
University Communications

Lee Ann Cox

The new dynamics of biracial identity in America

There’s a rule everybody knows. Not the golden one. Since the days of slavery and Jim Crow segregation, when “one drop” of black ancestry determined the whole of who you were, black-by-default is a weakened but lingering cultural assumption and it shapes the way many mixed-race people navigate their lives. But a lot has changed, too. Particularly in the pre-civil rights era, passing as white—if appearances made it plausible—was a way to defy racist restrictions. Now, new research by University of Vermont sociologist Nikki Khanna shows that passing has a new face.

In a study published in the Social Psychology Quarterly, Khanna finds that not only do black-white biracial adults exercise considerable control over how they identify, there is “a striking reverse pattern of passing today,” with a majority of survey respondents reporting that they pass as black.

Passing, as currently defined, is about adopting an identity that contradicts your self-perception of race. Despite having a white mother and a black father, President Obama considers himself black. He is not passing—his identity is solidly rooted within the black community. The people Khanna interviewed, however, view themselves as biracial or multiracial, but choose to pass as black in certain contexts…

Read the entire article here.

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University of Vermont study examines biracial identity

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2010-12-30 17:36Z by Steven

University of Vermont study examines biracial identity

Burlington Free Press

Tim Johnson, Free Press Staff Writer

Even though he was born of a white mother and an African father, Barack Obama is commonly referred to as the first black president. That’s a sign, sociologists say, that America’s “one-drop rule”—a vestige of the United States’ segregationist past—is still with us.

Under the one-drop rule, a person with even minimal African ancestry (one drop of black blood) was considered black. In the Jim Crow South, such people were denied the rights and opportunities accorded to—unless they had sufficiently light skin and Caucasian features to conceal their African ancestry and “pass” themselves off as white.

Racial “passing” still takes place today, University of Vermont sociologist Nikki Khanna reports in a new study, but in different ways. Light-skinned people with African ancestry might pass themselves off as white or as black, depending on the situation. And biracial people with one white parent and one black parent are more likely for various reasons to identify themselves as black and even to conceal their white ancestry, Khanna said…

A person’s racial identity is determined not just by society; it also can be self-defined. Even people who regard themselves as biracial often are inclined to pass themselves off as monoracial, Khanna reports in an article, co-written with Cathryn Johnson of Emory University, published recently in Social Psychology Quarterly

..The fact that “biracial” and “multiracial” have entered common American parlance suggests that the “one-drop rule” might be weakening, Khanna said. The U.S. census, beginning in 2000, allowed respondents to choose more than one race.

Still, the widespread perception that people with one black parent are black has its roots in a historically racist attitude that “one drop of black blood made one black, but one drop of white blood did not make one white,” as Khanna and Johnson put it.

Khanna, daughter of an Indian father and a white mother, grew interested in interracial studies in graduate school. She said she noticed that research was lacking on the offspring of interracial couples…

Read the entire article here.

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