Biofictions: Race, Genetics and the Contemporary Novel

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2020-01-16 04:01Z by Steven

Biofictions: Race, Genetics and the Contemporary Novel

Bloomsbury
2020-02-20
224 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9781350099838
EPUB eBook ISBN: 9781350099852
PDF eBook ISBN: 9781350099845

Josie Gill, Lecturer in Black British Writing
University of Bristol, United Kingdom

In this important interdisciplinary study, Josie Gill explores how the contemporary novel has drawn upon, and intervened in, debates about race in late 20th and 21st century genetic science. Reading works by leading contemporary writers including Zadie Smith, Kazuo Ishiguro, Octavia Butler and Colson Whitehead, Biofictions demonstrates how ideas of race are produced at the intersection of science and fiction, which together create the stories about identity, racism, ancestry and kinship which characterize our understanding of race today. By highlighting the role of narrative in the formation of racial ideas in science, this book calls into question the apparent anti-racism of contemporary genetics, which functions narratively, rather than factually or objectively, within the racialized contexts in which it is embedded. In so doing, Biofictions compels us to rethink the long-asked question of whether race is a biological fact or a fiction, calling instead for a new understanding of the relationship between race, science and fiction.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. The Roots of African Eve: Science Writing on Human Origins and Alex Haley’s Roots
  • 2. Race, Genetic Ancestry Tracing and Facial Expression: “Focusing on the Faces” in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go
  • 3. “One Part Truth and Three Parts Fiction”: Race, Science and Narrative in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth
  • 4. “The Sick Swollen Heart of This Land”: Pharmacogenomics, Racial Medicine and Colson Whitehead’s Apex Hides the Hurt
  • 5. Mutilation and Mutation: Epigenetics and Racist Environments in Octavia Butler’s Kindred and Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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UVA and the History of Race: Eugenics, the Racial Integrity Act, Health Disparities

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Virginia on 2020-01-16 03:45Z by Steven

UVA and the History of Race: Eugenics, the Racial Integrity Act, Health Disparities

UVA Today
2020-01-09

P. Preston Reynolds, Professor of Medicine and Nursing
University of Virginia


Thomas Jefferson’s writings included observations about race that aligned with later eugenicists. Under the medical school deanship of Paul Brandon Barringer, right, UVA built its first hospital in 1901, but also continued to advance eugenic science.

Editor’s note: Even an institution as historic as the University of Virginia – now entering its third century – has stories yet to be told. Some are inspiring, while the truths of others are painful, but necessary for a fuller accounting of the past. The President’s Commissions on Slavery and on the University in the Age of Segregation were established to find and tell those stories. Here are some of them, written by those who did the research. One in an occasional series:

By the start of the 20th century, the University of Virginia had become a center of an emerging new strain of racism – eugenics – that would create and perpetuate myths created under the guise of scientific research, but ultimately was intended to demonstrate white racial superiority.

The goal of eugenic science was knowledge of how various traits – emotional, physical, intellectual – were inherited, so that such information could be applied in order to advance the human race and preserve imagined racial superiority. Eugenic scientists used the census, genealogy, measurement of physiological functions and human anatomy, as well as intelligence testing, as methods of investigation.

They believed application of eugenic knowledge, through legislation and community practices, would eliminate mental illness, physical disabilities, moral delinquency, crime and even physical illnesses. They assumed the benefit to society would be a dramatic reduction in the cost of caring for the sick, poor, mentally ill and incarcerated…

Read the entire article here.

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How to Argue With a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2020-01-13 02:47Z by Steven

How to Argue With a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality

Weidenfeld & Nicolson an (imprint of The Orion Publishing Group)
2020-02-06
224 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781474611244
eBook ISBN-13: 9781474611268

Adam Rutherford

How to Argue With a Racist

Race is real because we perceive it. Racism is real because we enact it. But the appeal to science to strengthen racist ideologies is on the rise – and increasingly part of the public discourse on politics, migration, education, sport and intelligence. Stereotypes and myths about race are expressed not just by overt racists, but also by well-intentioned people whose experience and cultural baggage steers them towards views that are not supported by the modern study of human genetics. Even some scientists are uncomfortable expressing opinions deriving from their research where it relates to race. Yet, if understood correctly, science and history can be powerful allies against racism, granting the clearest view of how people actually are, rather than how we judge them to be.

How to Argue With a Racist is a vital manifesto for a twenty-first century understanding of human evolution and variation, and a timely weapon against the misuse of science to justify bigotry.

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I am not ‘non-white’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2020-01-13 02:36Z by Steven

I am not ‘non-white’

Daily Kos
2020-01-12

Denise Oliver Velez

Denise Oliver, Minister of Economic Development of the Young Lords at the office headquarters. - Hiram Maristany, c.1970. Mapping Resistance exhibit
Denise Oliver, minister of economic development of the Young Lords, pictured at the office headquarters in East Harlem. Photo by Hiram Maristany, c.1970.

I’m black.

I’ve been black, and proud to be black, my whole life. My parents raised me like that. They grew up as ‘Negroes.’ They had to drink at water fountains labeled ‘colored.’ They lived long enough to become Afro-Americans, and then African Americans.

I was, and still am, militantly black. I’ve lived through the “Ungawa Black Power” of Stokely Carmichael and Rap Brown; the clenched, raised fists of the Panthers and Young Lords; and through this decade’s Black Lives Matter and #VoteLikeBlackWomen movements. My mom, who was never seen without her hair hot-comb pressed straight as a board, even accepted my Afro hairdo.

Though I was raised by a socialist dad and I was a member of revolutionary nationalist socialist movements as a young person, I do not want to hear anyone spouting that it is more important to address class issues before we deal with racism and white supremacy. The two are inextricably intertwined in this country founded on African enslavement. All the money and economic equality in the world won’t wipe away our blackness and potential death by a white-aimed bullet. Racial issues steeped in malevolent anti-blackness do not deserve “back of the bus” status…

Read the entire article here.

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We European Jews never passed as white

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2020-01-12 02:54Z by Steven

We European Jews never passed as white

The Times of Israel
2020-01-09

Rivka Hellendall, Graduate Student of English Literature and Jewish Studies
University of Amsterdam

Rivka Hellendall
Rivka Hellendall

In the last two decades, American Ashkenazi Jews have returned to the question of their Otherness, or, put more crudely, to the question of whether Ashkenazi Jews are White, “white-passing”, or something else entirely. A quick Google search entry of “are Jews white” yields roughly 89 million results, including news articles, op-eds, and even academic tomes. The fact that Karen Brodkin named her 243-page 1998 study on the topic “How Jews Became White Folks and what that Says about Race in America” speaks volumes. Apparently, there was a large enough body of Jews at the time who never suffered anti-Semitism in person for Brodkin to make this title a viable one. A large enough number of American Jews who had never, for example, been denied housing or religious rights, equal opportunity employment (i.e. suffered job discrimination), or experienced insults, social exclusion, threats, and physical violence because of their Jewishness. Sadly, those times have changed since…

Read the entire article here.

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Harry and Meghan were meant to embody post-racial Britain. So much for that

Posted in New Media on 2020-01-12 02:40Z by Steven

Harry and Meghan were meant to embody post-racial Britain. So much for that

The Guardian
2020-01-11

Amna Saleem


Prince Harry and Meghan Meghan after their wedding ceremony, May 2018. Photograph: Damir Šagolj/Reuters

Remember the choir, the preacher? The marriage symbolised a new era – then the tabloid onslaught began

It’s the stuff romcoms are made of: beautiful young woman meets charming prince and, after a series of mild miscommunications, they live happily ever after. Well, that’s how it’s supposed to go at least. Meghan Markle, the much put upon protagonist of this Nora Ephron-meets-Get Out fairytale, has gone off-script and attempted to create a different happy ending, and with good reason.

Everything that could have predicted the pair’s joint decision to step back as senior royals can be directly traced back through all the sensationalist and derogatory headlines written about Markle. She couldn’t even enjoy avocados without being framed as a drought- and murder-fuelling traitor, set on bringing down the monarchy. Harry, to his credit, has been by her side every step of the way, challenging traditions by demanding an end to the tabloids’ abuse of her, which sadly had little impact. If anything, it gave the news cycle more to talk about – but his actions were nonetheless commendable…

Read the entire article here.

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Beyond the Sunset: The Melungeon Outdoor Drama, 1969-1976

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2020-01-12 02:01Z by Steven

Beyond the Sunset: The Melungeon Outdoor Drama, 1969-1976

Mercer University Press
2019-12-02
420 pages
6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9780881467185

Wayne Winkler, Director WETS-FM
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee

In 1969, Hancock County, Tennessee was the eighth poorest county in the United States. Isolated by rugged mountains and far from population centers or major highways, the county had few natural resources, couldn’t attract industry, and had lost half its population in just a few decades. Hoping to develop a tourist industry, county leaders decided to stage an outdoor drama about the Melungeons, a mysterious, racially-mixed people that had attracted newspaper and magazine writers to Hancock County for more than a century. To stage the drama, the organizers had to overcome long-standing local prejudice against the dark-skinned Melungeons, the reluctance of the Melungeons to call attention to themselves, the physical isolation of the county, and their own lack of experience in any aspect of this project. In Beyond the Sunset, Wayne Winkler uses contemporary press reports, long-forgotten documents, and interviews with participants to chronicle the struggles of an impoverished rural Appalachian county to maintain its viability in the modern world–and the unexpected consequences of that effort. For those interested in Appalachian history in general and in Melungeon heritage specifically, this is a book that is an essential addition to your reading list.

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Black Britons Wonder What Took Harry and Meghan so Long

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-01-12 01:44Z by Steven

Black Britons Wonder What Took Harry and Meghan so Long

The New York Times
2020-01-10

Ceylan Yeginsu

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, leaving St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding last year.
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, leaving St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding last year.
Pool photo by Ben Birchall

“Thank God they are free,” one Londoner said. “All of this is about her race, I know it because as a Caribbean woman who did not grow up here, I have experienced it myself.”

LONDON — When Prince Harry and Meghan announced this week that they would be stepping back from their royal duties and spending extensive time in North America, many of Britain’s minority residents said they felt a burst of relief.

At long last, many said in interviews, the couple might finally escape the abuse, much of it racially tinged, that has been heaped upon them by the British press, particularly the country’s raucous tabloids.

“Thank God they are free,” said Sanaa Edness, lifting her arms to the sky as she walked through Fordham Park in southeast London. “Nobody should tolerate bullying and abusive behavior because of the color of their skin. All of this is about her race, I know it because as a Caribbean woman who did not grow up here, I have experienced it myself.”…

Read the entire article here.

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ENGL 205 Focus on: Passing and Performing Identity

Posted in Course Offerings, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-01-11 22:23Z by Steven

ENGL 205 Focus on: Passing and Performing Identity

Xavier University
Cincinnati, Ohio
Spring 2020

Xavier University

Section 25 Online MCFARLANE HARRIS
Section 26 Online MCFARLANE HARRIS
CRN 13054 and 11004

EOAs part of the Core Curriculum’s Ethics / Religion and Society Requirement, Literature and the Moral Imagination is required for all undergraduate students. In broad terms, ENGL 205: Literature and the Moral Imagination focuses on personal and social ethical issues in literature. Individual sections feature specific topics.

In this course, we will read fiction and graphic novels that investigate the phenomenon of racial passing in the United States, whereby “black” persons light-skinned enough to appear “white” cross the color line to live as white people. Along the way, we will read a smattering of historical sources and cultural theory on the social construction of race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic class, religion, etc.

For more information, click here.

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Mixed Race Seattle Conference

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Live Events on 2020-01-10 02:14Z by Steven

Mixed Race Seattle Conference

Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church
3001 24th Ave South
Seattle, Washington 98144
Saturday, 2020-03-28, 09:00-17:00 PDT (Local Time)

'Photo by @[523938374439578:274:Sharon H Chang]'

Join Seattle JACL for the Mixed Race Seattle conference, a transformative day of storytelling, art, and creative expression meant to grow community among multiracial teens, young adults, and their families. This event is free and open for all to attend. Mixed race youth are among the fastest-growing population in the United States. But despite being a major presence in America, Mixed Race people continue to experience oppression, racism, and marginalization in different ways.

Seattle JACL is the flagship chapter of the nations’ second oldest Asian American civil rights organization. Its vision to “promote a world that honors diversity by respecting values of fairness, equality and social justice,” is rooted in its belief that in America, race still presents one of the biggest challenges to justice for all people, and in particular, for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color. Seattle JACL presents this event through a 2020 Legacy Grant from JACL National, a smART Ventures Grant from The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and through a special partnership with Sharon H Chang, author of “Raising Mixed Race” and “Hapa Tales and Other Lies.”

For more information and to register, click here.

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