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The "inter" land Mixing autobiography and sociology for a better understanding of twenty-first century mixed-race

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Description: In contemporary autobiographies by black/white biracial Americans, personal identity is a major source of conflict. The proposed study will address topics that are key to an understanding of biracial subjectivity and identity as presented in these autobiographies. The first chapter addresses the physicality of biracial people, paying special attention to such topics as family resemblance in interracial families, and the trope of "biracial hair" which is used as a metaphor for a distinct biracial identity that is neither black nor white. The second chapter examines another identity choice for black/white biracial subjects: singular black identity. It shows how biracial individuals can turn on its head the traditional notion of the "tragic mulatto" who is forced by the one-drop rule to accept his/her blackness. By exploring and honestly acknowledging the social experiences of both parents, the biracial individual can come to assert a healthy black identity. The final chapter links black/white biracial identity with intrinsically multiracial Latino identity. Do ethnicity, nationalism, and language suggest a way to avoid the black/white binarism of American society? While examining these issues of biracial identity, this study will engage in a commentary on the relationships between and among various academic disciplines. When analyzing literature about race, critics often turn to race theory for secondary material. However, contemporary race theory does not do much to engage and illuminate these autobiographies of biracialism. Interestingly, sociological texts speak more directly to the "biracial phenomenon." Therefore each chapter of this study shows how sociology and autobiography complement one another and provide a fuller, more informed picture of biracial identity.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work