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Explores how the trope of racial passing continues to serve as a touchstone for gauging public beliefs and anxieties about race in this multiracial era.
The first volume to focus on the trope of racial passing in novels, memoirs, television, and films published or produced between 1990 and 2010, Passing Interest takes the scholarly conversation on passing into the twenty-first century. With contributors working in the fields of African American studies, American studies, cultural studies, film studies, literature, and media studies, this book offers a rich, interdisciplinary survey of critical approaches to a broad range of contemporary passing texts. Contributors frame recent passing texts with a wide array of cultural discourses, including immigration law, the Post-Soul Aesthetic, contemporary political satire, affirmative action, the paradoxes of “colorblindness,” and the rhetoric of “post-racialism.” Many explore whether “one drop” of blood still governs our sense of racial identity, or to what extent contemporary American culture allows for the racially indeterminate individual. Some essays open the scholarly conversation to focus on “ethnic” passers—individuals who complicate the traditional black-white binary—while others explore the slippage between traditional racial passing and related forms of racial performance, including blackface minstrelsy and racial masquerade.
“…this volume will prove useful to those in a broad spectrum of fields, including film, literature, and cultural studies … Highly recommended.” — CHOICE
Julie Cary Nerad is Associate Professor of American Literature at Morgan State University.
Table of Contents
Preface: The “Posts” of Passing Gayle Wald
1. Introduction: The (Not So) New Face of America Julie Cary Nerad
2. On the Margins of Movement: Passing in Three Contemporary Memoirs Irina Negrea
3. “A Cousin to Blackness”: Race and Identity in Bliss Broyard’s One Drop: My Father’s Hidden Life
Lynn Washington and Julie Cary Nerad
4. Can One Really Choose? Passing and Self-Identification at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century Jené Schoenfeld
5. Passing in Blackface: The Intimate Drama of Post-Racialism on Black. White.
6. Broke Right in Half: Passing of/in Alice Randall’s The Wind Done Gone
Julie Cary Nerad
7. Passing for Chicano, Passing for White: Negotiating Filipino American Identity in Brian Ascalon Roley’s American Son
8. Race in the Marketplace: Postmodern Passing and Ali G Ana Cristina Mendes
9. Passing for Black, White, and Jewish: Mixed-Race Identity in Rebecca Walker and Danzy Senna Lori Harrison-Kahan
10. Smiling Faces: Chameleon Street, Racial Passing/Performativity, and Film Blackness Michael B. Gillespie
11. Consuming Performances: Race, Media, and the Failure of the Cultural Mulatto in Bamboozled and Erasure