identity

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Dreams for My Daughter

By Michelle Lugalia-Hollon

Several months ago, during my daughter’s night time bath she pointed out that she wasn’t white like the tub, she was black, “like mommy.” I was thrilled! “That’s right!” I affirmed.

“My biracial toddler identifies as black!” I thought to myself, and she was proud of it. My excitement and validation didn’t last long as I realized that someone had probably told my daughter that she was black and it wasn’t me. Who pointed this out to her? What was the context of the conversation? Did they talk about the fact that she had a white father? How did they settle on black vs. white vs. biracial? Who told my daughter she was black and in that process what part of her did they negate?

What Is Fat Activism? An Interview with Dr. Charlotte Cooper

By Dr. Cookie Woolner

Dr. Charlotte Cooper is a British fat activist and para-academic with 30 years experience in this field. She is the author of a new book, Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement. In her book, Cooper debunks various assumptions about fat activism, such as that it is about “body positivity” and “self-love,” or merely focused on issues of obesity and health. Through interviews with fat activists and her own experiences, Cooper charts the rich history of fat activism since its emergence in the 1960s amidst many other social movements for justice and equity. She argues that fat activism is a strategy to help fat people live better lives, which can take on any form, from working at the policy level to create anti-discrimination laws to hosting fat clothing swaps, protesting the diet industry, creating embodied performances and community events

Outside Looking In: Race and Identity in American Music Culture

By Stephanie Shonekan, Contributing Editor, Art, Music & Pop Culture

In her book, Soul, Country, and the USA: Race and Identity in American Music Culture, author Stephanie Shonekan explores perceptions and resistance to dominant cultural narratives, national identities, and understanding of the “American Dream” in soul and country music. Here is an excerpt from Shonekan’s provocative new book.

In his 1903 seminal work, The Souls of Black Folk, African American scholar W. E. B. DuBois boldly predicted that the problem of the twentieth century would be “the problem of the color line”. This pronouncement was made as he was perched on that shaky threshold between the morally tragic nineteenth century and the tentatively hopeful twentieth century. As hope gave way to helplessness in the early twentieth century, in spite of valiant waves of resistance to the most violent racism and bigotry, DuBois’s statement seemed eerily prophetic as the problematic matter of race in America continued to dig its jagged roots into the receptive sociocultural soil of the United States. Once imagined as a contained field of contamination in the Deep South, historical evidence has shown that these divisive roots had spread from sea to shining sea. Discourses that revolve in complicated circles around media representations of American culture, the educational and criminal justice systems, and campaign rhetoric during voting season in the United States reveal the fruit of those racial roots, further reminding observers that DuBois’s statement may be an apt measuring stick for investigating the twenty-first century.

Problems of Identity at the Biology-Society Interface

This course will explore the entanglement of biological and social concepts in knowledge about racial and ethnic variation among human populations. The course compares the population genetics understanding of population variation and groupings to the sociological and anthropological conception of the social construction of race and ethnicity. Dr. Aaron Panofsky University of California Los Angeles Syllabus

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