Monthly Archives: September 2013

Afsnit tre

The chronicler, who recounts events without distinguishing between the great and small, thereby accounts for the truth, that nothing which has ever happened is to be given as lost to history. Indeed, the past would fully befall only a resurrected humanity. Said another way: only for a resurrected humanity would its past, in each of its moments, be citable. Each of its lived moments becomes a citation a l’ordre du jour [order of the day] – whose day is precisely that of the Last Judgment.



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Virginia Woolf

The moment we single out and emphasize the suggestions as we have done here they become unreal; and we, too, become unreal — specialists, word mongers, phrase finders, not readers. In reading we have to allow the sunken meanings to remain sunken, suggested, not stated; lapsing and flowing into each other like reeds on the bed of a river. But … very rudimentary words … show no trace of the strange, of the diabolical power which words possess when they are not tapped out by a typewriter but come fresh from a human brain — the power that is to suggest the writer; his character, his appearance, his wife, his family, his house — even the cat on the hearthrug. Why words do this, how they do it, how to prevent them from doing it nobody knows. They do it without the writer’s will; often against his will. No writer presumably wishes to impose his own miserable character, his own private secrets and vices upon the reader. But has any writer, who is not a typewriter, succeeded in being wholly impersonal? Always, inevitably, we know them as well as their books. Such is the suggestive power of words that they will often make a bad book into a very lovable human being, and a good book into a man whom we can hardly tolerate in the room.

Click on that, and you will hear Virginia Woolf speak on craftsmanship, Undine–and others.


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State, nation, patria

In response to the hypocrisy of the First Republic’s sustained imperial position during the Ten Years’ War, José Martí satirized the logic of the integrity argument. Quite simply, the claim of national integrity was “ridiculous” for a territory divided by the Atlantic Ocean.

Less absurd, but equally dangerous for Cuba in Martí’s survey of Spanish Republicanism’s imperial nationalism, was the conflation of the political notion of the “nation” as “state” with a more Herderian Romantic “patria” in a new narrative of nationalism.

In the following passage, Martí replaces the jingoist term “nación” with “patria,” underscoring the perversion of the idea of cultural nationalism in the service of commercial imperialism. “Patria” remains, as “nation” should, beyond the reach of the logic of the market.

“No constituye la tierra eso que llaman integridad de la patria. Patria es algo más que opresión, algo más que pedazos de terreno sin libertad y sin vida, algo más que derecho de posesión a la fuerza. Patria es comunidad de intereses, unidad de tradiciones, unidad de fines, fusion dulcísima y consoladora de amores y esperanzas.”

(Land is not that which they call integrity of the patria. Patria is something more than oppression, more than chunks of land stripped of liberty and life, something more than the right of possession by force. Patria is a community of interests, unity of traditions, unity of goals, a sweet and consoling fusion of love and hope.)[9]

By rejecting the extension of nationalist discourses over the domain of the patria, Martí attacks the core logic of the Spanish Empire.

This is a good article, that I am glad I found.


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Something I did not cite, but must for its opening lines

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Rethinking race, racism, identity and ideology in Latin America
Tanya Golash-Boza & Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
Published online: 18 Jun 2013.



This special issue explores ideas of race and racial hierarchy in Latin
America in the twenty-first century. By examining the intersection
between racialization and processes of identity formation, political
struggle, as well as intimate social and economic relations, these essays
question how and to what extent traditional racial ideologies continue to
hold true. In so doing, we consider the implications of such ideologies for
anti-racism struggles. This collection of articles provides a unique insight
into the everyday lived experiences of racism, how racial inequalities are
reproduced, and the rise of ethnic-based social movements in Latin
America. The qualitative nature of the projects allows the authors to
advance our understanding of how racial ideologies operate on the
ground level. The geographic diversity of the articles–focusing on Brazil,
Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica and Cuba–enables a greater
understanding of the distinct ways that racial ideologies play out across
different settings.

Race and national ideologies in the Americas are inextricable. The
ideas and practices of race were essential to the conquest and
colonization of the Americas (Smedley 2007). As European colonizers
and settlers shaped the western hemisphere into nations, distinct racial
ideologies emerged alongside national ideologies. This special issue of
Ethnic and Racial Studies provides us with new insights into how race
and national ideologies continue to shift in Latin America, in the
context of a globalizing world.

During the nineteenth century, Latin American countries began to
break away from their colonial past and form independent states.
Intellectual and political elites across Latin America preoccupied
themselves with building national unity (Knight 1990). In these nation-
building projects, national leaders had to contend with European
scholars who denounced their racial degeneracy due to extensive racial
mixing (Stepan 1991). Latin Americans could not simply ignore
European arguments about racial inferiority as these arguments
were central to scientific and medical discourses. Thus, they chose to
counter European intellectuals’ claims about their inferiority and
argue that racial mixture was not only beneficial, it was the hallmark of
Latin American nations. During the twentieth century, ideologies of
whitening, mestizaje (racial and cultural mixture), blackness, indigene-
ity and racial democracy informed national ideologies across Latin
America. Instead of countering ideas of white supremacy espoused by
European intellectuals, Latin American intellectuals and political
leaders embraced white supremacy and worked to facilitate and justify
a system of pervasive race and colour stratification whereby darker-
skinned people, typically with more notable indigenous and African
features, occupy the lower rungs of the racial ladder, and those of
primarily European descent are at the top.

Starting in the 1980s, mobilization by black and indigenous
movements began to upset state and popular discourses surrounding
race in Latin America. At the same time, complex patterns of
international migration led many Latin Americans to re-examine their
own racial identities and question the foundations of racial discourse
in their homelands. Recent surveys using Latin American Public
Opinion Project (LAPOP) data in a host of Latin American countries
including Mexico, Brazil and Peru have also shown that many Latin
Americans believe that their countries are racially stratified–an idea
that is fundamentally incompatible with popular racial ideologies of
racial democracy.

This special issue explores how ideas about race and racial hierarchy
are understood on the ground in Latin America in the twenty-first
century. More specifically, by examining the intersection between
racialization and processes of identity formation, political struggle, as
well as intimate social and economic relations, these essays question
how and to what extent traditional racial ideologies continue to hold
true in the twenty-first century across Latin American countries. In so
doing, we consider the implications of such ideologies for anti-racism
and racial equality struggles. Beyond an empirical contribution to the
study of comparative race relations, this volume offers new conceptual
tools for understanding racial hierarchy and race ideologies in today’s
globalizing world. Through in-depth analyses, the authors shed light
on new manifestations of mestizaje, multiculturalism and racial
Rethinking race, racism, identity and ideology in Latin America […]
democracy, how racial ideologies are deployed and altered at various
levels of discourse, and how structural racism operates in Latin

This collection of articles provides unique insight into the everyday
lived experiences of racism, how racial inequalities are reproduced,
and the rise of ethnic-based social movements in Latin America. The
qualitative nature of the projects allows the authors to advance our
understanding of how racial ideologies operate on the ground level.
The geographic diversity of the articles–focusing on Brazil,
Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica and Cuba–enables a greater
understanding of the distinct ways that racial ideologies play out
across different settings. In addition, all of the articles take into
account how these ideologies are changing through global and
transnational processes: the diffusion of mass media, the internet,
travel and migration. Together, these articles provide a nuanced
perspective on how ideologies of race and racism are changing in
Latin America.

These new perspectives reveal important shifts in the landscape of
racial dynamics that scholars will find crucial to pay attention to. For
example, intellectuals have held it as self-evident that interracial
marriages are a whitening strategy. However, when Chinyere Osuji
asked Brazilians who were in black/white relationships about whiten-
ing, new findings emerged. Osuji finds evidence for a transformation in
the meanings of whitening ideology in Brazil: instead of being a
laudable strategy, the idea of whitening is offensive, particularly to the
darker partners. In addition, some white women admitted they were
engaging in darkening. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman’s illuminating
study in Bahia reminds us of the pervasive nature of black
stigmatization in Brazil, and, like Osjui’s, reveals the family to be a
key site of racial socialization. Hordge-Freeman’s work elucidates how
the family can both be a site of devaluation of blackness and convey
signals of racial pride. Together, these two studies on blackness and
whitening in Brazil shed light on the importance of family formation
for race in Brazil. We find a new layer of complexity in Tiffany
Joseph’s study of racial democracy in Governador Valadares–Brazil’s
premier migrant-sending area. Joseph contends that exposure to US
racial ideals via emigration influence Brazilians’ perceptions of racial
democracy. Joseph found that, in Governador Valadares, none of her
respondents believed that Brazil had achieved a racial democracy.
Instead, some embraced an aspirational view of racial democracy,
whereas others found the ideology to be oppressive. Joseph argues that
transnational migration between Governor Valadares and the USA
has shaped how Brazilians view racial dynamics in their hometowns.
Collectively, these three works challenge conventional thought on
racial dynamics in Brazil. These three qualitative studies of racial
dynamics in Brazil, in three different areas, and all conducted by
African-descended women, provide new and unique perspectives on
racial dynamics in Brazil.

The essays by Paschel and Jones also show us how ideas of
blackness and race continue to evolve and explain how, when and
why these discursive shifts happen. Tianna Paschel’s study of another
South American country, Colombia, focuses on the Beautiful Faces of
My Black People campaign surrounding the 2005 Colombian census.
Paschel argues that Afro-Colombian organizations were successful in
pressuring the state to change its discourses around blackness in the
census–a key site of struggle over resources and recognition–and
that this shift is evidence of a move away from mestizaje and towards
multiculturalism in Latin America. Jennifer Jones’s essay takes this
conversation about blackness and mestizaje to Mexico, a country
where the black presence is much less salient than in Colombia. Jones
argues that, whereas urban coastal Mexicans disavow discussions of
race, rural, coastal Afro-Mexicans are well aware of their own racial
status and how race structures Mexican society. Similar to Joseph,
Jones finds that increased emigration affects how Mexicans perceive
racial dynamics in their home countries. And, similar to Paschel,
she finds that local organizing efforts have changed discourses of
blackness at the local level.

The articles by Sue and Golash-Boza, Christian and Clealand call
attention to racism in Latin America and help us to understand how
racism operates at the discursive and structural levels. The article by
Christina Sue and Tanya Golash-Boza explores how racial humour is
used to frame denigrating characterizations about people of black and
indigenous descent in Mexico and Peru as ‘only jokes’ and therefore
not racist. These analyses reveal how racial humour works to maintain
colour-blind ideologies in these countries, despite evidence of dramatic
racial inequality. Similarly, Michelle Christian explores how ideologies
of Costa Rican exceptionalism and whiteness are deployed to maintain
racial inequality within the tourism industry. Christian’s keen analysis
moves the scholarship on whiteness in Latin America forward by
including a structural analysis of white racial ideologies. Danielle
Clealand’s study of racial discrimination in Cuba further advances our
understanding of structural racism in Latin America by showing how
it cannot be reduced to individual prejudice. She finds that many
blacks in Cuba experience blocked opportunities and that these
common experiences contribute to a sense of group identity among
Afro-Cubans. These three articles make conceptual advances in our
understanding of structural and colour-blind racism in Latin America
and provide new ways for Latin Americanists to theorize race.

This collection of essays drives home the point that scholars cannot
take whitening for granted, nor can we presume that mestizaje is the
Rethinking race, racism, identity and ideology in Latin America […]
operative discourse. We also cannot afford to ignore the pervasive
effects of transnational discourses on racial dynamics in migrant-
sending areas. Finally, these essays point to the importance of
understanding how both racial and racist ideologies operate in Latin
America and beyond.

The conceptual work undertaken in these articles will be of interest
to scholars of race, ethnicity, nationalism and racism around the
world. In particular, the focus on the tension between popular and
national ideologies, the analysis of the use of humour to smooth over
racial incidents, the consideration of migrating people and ideas, and
the examination of the role of race-based social movements all have
relevance around the globe.

We are pleased and humbled to bring the voices of these women–all of
whom have spent considerable time in Latin America–into conversation
with each other and with the readers of Ethnic and Racial Studies.


KNIGHT, ALAN 1990 ‘Racism, revolution, and indigenismo: Mexico, 1910-1940’, in Richard Graham (ed.), The Idea of Race in Latin America, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, pp. 1-6

SMEDLEY, AUDREY 2007 Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview, Boulder, CO: Westview Press

STEPAN, NANCY LEYS 1991 The Hour of Eugenics: Race, Gender, and Nation in Latin America, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press


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Gossip on Cirilo Villaverde

When he left Cuba in 1849, he sailed from Havana to Apalachicola.

Reynaldo Arenas published a parody of Cecilia Valdés.


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Tamar Herzog

Do you see? Here is another person with a law degree.



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A contradiction, because of time; I am rushed indeed

These notes are or could be key for this paper but I do not have time to fully understand them, since I must finish it now.

Mignolo 66: La idea de “América fue parte del “occidentalismo” y, más tarde, la idea de “América Latina” se volvió problemática cuando América del sur y el Caribe fueron alejándose de un occidentalismo cuyo locus de enunciación se identificaba cada vez más con Europa Occidental y Estados Unidos.

This has to do with Silva’s “other within” and with the criollo subject not knowing how to define self; note also that the more indigenous America gets, the less the term “Latin America” works.

Mignolo 70: La aparición de América trajo consigo tres grandes cambios: la expansión geográfica del mundo, el desarollo de diversos métodos de control del trabajo, y el establecimiento de poderosas maquinarias estatales en el extremo imperial del espectro colonial.

Race and state do go together, in this way as well.

Omi and Winant, meanwhile, in their chapter on the racial state, point out that the state has an interest in race and legislates it, manages it, but not just this: it is intervened in by race, and is the site of racial conflict; it manages and is structured by all sorts of relationships that are racial, and marked by difference.

Omi and Winant are talking, of course, about race as formation, and they are talking about the ways Gramscian hegemony works to shape things in particular relationships.

Finally, someone else’s post on Goldberg says, in part:

The racial state is a state of power, asserting its control over those within the state and excluding others from outside the state. Through constitutions, border controls, the law, policy making, bureaucracy and governmental technologies such as census categorisations, invented histories and traditions, ceremonies and cultural imaginings, modern states, each in its own way, are defined by their power to exclude (and include) in racially ordered terms, to categorise hierarchically, and to set aside. Goldberg posits two traditions of racial states: the first, naturalism, fixes racially conceived ‘natives’ as premodern, and naturally incapable of progress; the second, historicism, elevates Europeans over primitive or underdeveloped Others as a victory of progress.


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