Women’s Studies

Women’s Film Authorship in Neoliberal Times: Revisiting Feminism and German Cinema

The most recent issue of Camera Obscura, “Women’s Film Authorship in Neoliberal Times: Revisiting Feminism and German Cinema,” edited by Hester Baer and Angelica Fenner, is now available.

cob_33_3_99_coverSince German unification, many of the gains achieved during the feminist film movement of the 1970s have been undone, not least as a result of the dismantling of redistributive funding policies in the face of the global free market. Yet the rise of the Berlin School, the development of production collectives fostering women’s filmmaking, and the Pro Quote Film movement promoting gender parity in the film industry through quotas make the time ripe for a reconsideration of the relations between aesthetic form and the material conditions of women’s filmmaking in Germany.

This special issue reframes the legacies of the feminist film movement of the 1970s and 1980s in the context of the resurgence of film feminism in the 2010s. Arguing that German cinema constitutes a key site for theorizing women’s film authorship and feminist film production today, contributors to the issue investigate the relationship between aesthetic form and the material conditions of women’s filmmaking in light of neoliberalism and post-feminism.

Browse the table of contents and read the introduction, made freely available.

You may also find these titles on international women’s cinema interesting.

Womens_Cinema_World_Cinema_coverWomen′s Cinema, World Cinema: Projecting Contemporary Feminisms, edited by Patricia White, explores the dynamic intersection of feminism and film in the twenty-first century by highlighting the work of a new generation of women directors from around the world:  Samira and Hana Makhmalbaf, Nadine Labaki, Zero Chou, Jasmila Zbanic, and Claudia Llosa, among others. The emergence of a globalized network of film festivals has enabled these young directors to make and circulate films that are changing the aesthetics and politics of art house cinema and challenging feminist genealogies.

Sisters in the Life: A History of Out African American Lesbian Media-Making, edited by Yvonne Welbon and Alexandra Juhasz, tells a full story of African American lesbian media-making spanning three decades. In essays on filmmakers including Angela Robinson, Tina Mabry and Dee Rees; on the making of Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman(1996); and in interviews with Coquie Hughes, Pamela Jennings, and others, the contributors center the voices of black lesbian media makers while underscoring their artistic influence and reach as well as the communities that support them.

In The Battle of the Sexes in French Cinema, 1930–1956, by Noël Burch and Geneviève Sellier, adopt a sociocultural approach to films made in France before, during, and after World War II, paying particular attention to the Occupation years (1940–44). The authors contend that the films produced from the 1930s until 1956—when the state began to subsidize the movie industry, facilitating the emergence of an “auteur cinema”—are important, both as historical texts and as sources of entertainment. Citing more than 300 films and providing many in-depth interpretations, Burch and Sellier argue that films made in France between 1930 and 1956 created a national imaginary that equated masculinity with French identity.

African Feminisms

coverimageThe most recent special issue of Meridians, “African Feminisms: Cartographies for the Twenty-First Century,” edited by Alicia C. Decker and Gabeba Baderoon, is now available.

Read the full issue, freely available until March 5.

As the contributors to this issue show, African feminisms not only vary widely in form but also maintain vibrant and sometimes tense relations with one another around topics such as sexuality, national policies, and transnational solidarity. Such diversity and tensions, far from presenting a disadvantage, spur innovative and politically radical approaches in the field. The multiplicity of feminisms theorized in this issue help challenge patriarchal ideologies and structures both in Africa and beyond. “African Feminisms” includes poetry, memoir, interview, testimonio, and more, alongside essays on topics such as the framing of Nigerian girls as victims in need of saving, feminisms in African hip-hop, and sex worker advocacy groups in Africa.

Also check out these recent recent related titles:

An Intimate RebukeIn An Intimate Rebuke, an ethnography of female empowerment, Laura S. Grillo offers new perspectives on how elder West African women deploy an ancient ritual in which they dance naked and slap their genitals and bare breasts to protest abuses of state power, globalization, witchcraft, rape, and other social dangers.

In Rwandan Women Rising, Ambassador Swanee Hunt shares the stories of over ninety women, who in the wake of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, overcame unfathomable brutality, suffering, loss, and seemingly unending challenges to rebuild Rwandan society by addressing common problems ranging from health care, rape, and housing to poverty, education, and mental health.

Hershini Bhana Young engages with the archive of South African and black diasporic performance in Illegible Will to examine the absence of black women’s will from that archive, showing that alternative critical imaginings juxtaposed against traditional historical research can help to locate where agency and will may reside.

Call for Proposals: South Atlantic Quarterly

saq_117_4_cover1The South Atlantic Quarterly is accepting proposals for thematic special issues through January 31, 2019. Themes should be in line with those of journal issues published in recent years, including critical race studies, feminist and queer theory, analyses of contemporary capital and labor, social and liberation movements, critical theory, and environmental humanities. Funds are available to translate original essays not written in English.

Special issue editors are responsible for soliciting essays, working with authors, editing texts, and assuring that deadlines and word counts are met.

saq_117_3_coverProposals should include a description of the concept or theme that organizes the issue (roughly 200 words) plus names of potential authors with very brief bios. Please indicate whether authors have already been contacted. Please propose, too, a date by which the complete, edited collection can feasibly be submitted.

Issues are composed of 70,000 words total. This is often configured as eight 8,000 word essays plus an introduction, but editors are free to configure the number and length of essays differently.

Please send proposals to saq@dukeupress.edu.

National Women’s Studies Association, 2018

We enjoyed meeting authors and editors, selling books and journals, and celebrating prize-winning works at the 2018 National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia!

Amber Cary

DUP Digital Access and Journals Specialist Amber Cary

Congratulations to several of our authors who received awards at the conference:

Jasbir Puar’s book, The Right to Maim, was co-winner of the Alison Piepmeier Book Prize.

Attiya Ahmad’s book, Everyday Conversions, won the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies Book (AMEWS) Award.

Miglena S. Todorova’s article, “Race and Women of Color in Socialist/Postsocialist Transnational Feminisms in Central and Southeastern Europe,” won the Paula J. Giddings Best Essay Award. It was featured in a past issue of our new journal Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, an interdisciplinary feminist journal that publishes creative work by and about women of color in U.S. and international contexts, and is now available free for six months.

 

Together with editor Ginetta E. B. Candelario and managing editor Leslie Marie Aguilar, we celebrated our new publishing partnership with Meridians with a reception at our booth on Saturday.

There were also three “Author Meets the Critics” sessions featuring DUP authors Sami Schalk, Robyn Spencer, and Macarena Gómez-Barris.

It was a pleasure visiting with authors and editors at this wonderful conference!

Lynn Comella and Adan Martinez

Lynn Comella, author of Vibrator Nation, with her former student Adan Martinez.

 

Missed NWSA this year? Couldn’t fit all the books and journals you wanted into your suitcase? Don’t worry! You can still take advantage of the conference discount. Just use coupon code NWSA18 for 30% off your dukeupress.edu order at checkout.

Generations

The most recent issue of Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, “Generations,” edited by Frances S. Hasso, is now available.

MEW_14_3_coverThis special issue examines biological, political, and social reproduction and change at multiple scales. Contributors illustrate how intimate and political stories overlap, exploring themes such as biological reproduction, sexual health and agency, and motherhood. Recognizing that our understanding of past and present depends on who, how, and what we remember, this issue asks us to consider how feminist scholars generate knowledge and what we treat as an archive, especially given our frequent interest in nonarchival questions and subjects.

Browse the table of contents and read the introduction, made freely available.

Q&A with Tamura Lomax, Author of Jezebel Unhinged

unnamedTamura Lomax is an independent scholar, the CEO and founder of The Feminist Wire, and author of Jezebel Unhinged: Loosing the Black Female Body in Religion and Culture. We asked her a few questions about the new book, which Foreword has called “phenomenal,” “provocative,” and “an amazing pick for book clubs.”

What drew you to this topic? How did your own experience in the Black Church, including your background as a “preacher’s kid,” affect your research or approach?

The conundrum I experienced after moving from my childhood church and community in Syracuse, NY, a Black Church in a working-class black community, to Mill Valley, CA, a predominantly white and wealthy environment, at age fourteen, turned my world upside down. Privileged white teenagers have a way of making you hyperaware of your difference. And not only their belief in your purported racial difference but your supposed sexual and gender difference. I will never forget the stares, the comments, the whispers, the laughter, the jokes. I was a dark-skinned black girl from the east coast, and clearly, I was alien to them. Their obsession with me, particularly my blackness, gender, femininity, and sexuality, launched my critical consciousness into overdrive.

Yet, nothing could have prepared me for the day my new friends referred to me as a monkey who “crave[d] and provide[d] sex to anyone and anything.” While I had not yet read Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks (1967), this was indeed my first “Look, a Negro!” moment—the point of sudden objecthood, nonbeing, fixation, bursting apart, and being put back together—by another self. To be sure, I had known what it meant to be placed under the gaze of another. I knew the feeling of being misread, sexualized, and even lusted after as an adolescent. Unfortunately, I learned these lessons, first, through older and grown men—within my previous black community, the Black Church, and the music and culture that I loved: Hip Hop. As I write in the Prolegomenon, the hypersexualization of young black girls is fierce early on.

978-1-4780-0107-2

My earliest memory is at age eleven when a church elder told my parents he could not focus during altar call because he was enraptured by my pubescent derriere (x-xi). Rather than calling out his rapey pedophilic wantonness, I was made to feel shame, as if my body had done something wrong without my consent. I struggled with the cultural psyche around black femininity and all of the sexual messaging, not to mention my own conflicting responses. On one hand, I loved raunchy Hip Hop music that admittedly sexually objectified black women and girls, while on the other, I detested the pedophilic stares of older men and boys in my church and community, and more, the racist and sexist gazing of my new high school friends in California. And as much as these gazes were the same, to me, they felt slightly different. That dreadful day in California changed the course of my life and how I saw the world and interpreted my place in it.

I did everything to change my high school friends’ reading of me—to the point of de-sexualization. I wanted to be a “proper” black girl—a lady in training, as I was taught to be at home and in the Black Church, not a libidinous monkey. This kind of sexualized marking, I had not known. I remember going home and journaling about the incident right after it happened. My eyes welled up with tears as I made my entry. This was not an innocent case of teasing and hurt feelings. As a young girl I was taught that sex before marriage was bad and that sexualization is the fault of so-called “fast” and promiscuous girls or women. Meaning that black girls or women are sexualized because they have acted in an allegedly sexually “loose” manner. I learned the latter was sin. And not only that, this was a transgression seemingly particular to black women and girls.

Full disclosure: I was in no way perfect. But I was a “good girl.” Or at least I tried to be. If I caught myself being “loose”—“fast tailed,” sexual, sexualized, or appreciating base music and lyrics more than a “good girl” should, I could at least fix that. I could take responsibility for where I went or what I did wrong and repent, therefore releasing myself from temptress status and gaining “good girl” prestige again. But not this day. I cried quiet painful tears because the sexualized savagery assigned to me—and black girls everywhere—by my high school friends could not be as quickly remedied. I was not merely hypersexualized but animalized—in harmony. Further, I was inherently problemed. I could neither disrobe of nor cover my blackness nor reencode my black femaleness. And I could neither pray it away nor bathe it in Black Church respectability as I had been taught. Rather, I was indelibly marked. Or, so I thought.

The rhetorical marking of these collective gazes—from the church to my new white friends to my favorite music and so on—made me feel psychically, emotionally, and communally estranged. And I was not alone. I learned later that each of these projections spring forth from essentialist discourses on black womanhood. And while they sometimes feel different, they have more in common than not. They are all overdetermining. And they all sting, just differently perhaps. I will never get over being called a monkey and thusly being situated outside of the human race. But neither will I ever come to terms with the hypersexualization that happens to young girls and women in black communities and the posturing of black female bodies and sexual decision-making in sin—as something needing constant fixing and redemption.

I am convinced it is because of such relentless stereotyping and signifying that black Americans in general are so religious, especially black women. Sin and shame have long taken up residence in our bodies and consequentially our minds. Jezebel Unhinged not only works within these tensions, it attempts to do the work of “undoing,” of naming anxieties, antagonisms, and social-cultural-structural-epistemic evils, and the significant psychic, emotional, and communal breaks they cause. It does this work through an iconoclastic critique of racism, sexism, heterosexism, the Black Church, and black popular culture. And I do so intentionally not as a theologian tasked with proving certain truths about God, but rather as a black feminist scholar of religion, or more precisely, a black feminist-religio-cultural theorist, interested in exploring how discourse, power, knowledge, meanings, language, and grammars get invested with truth claims about God, people, and cultures.

Still, I approached this study as one well aware of my personal and professional location—as one reared in the Black Church and as one who has experienced the collective function of antiblack and sexist re/presentational mythmaking, which affects not only persons but relations, social arrangements, ways of seeing, politics, institutions, and treatment, first hand—within and well beyond the Black Church. That said, I endeavored to do this critical work without “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” The latter is a mistake too many critics make, thus making their analyses irrelevant. (more…)

An Interview with Soha Bayoumi, Sherine Hafez, and Ellen McLarney, editors of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies

Soha Bayoumi, Sherine Hafez, and Ellen McLarney are editors of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, the official journal of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies. This interdisciplinary journal advances the fields of Middle East gender, sexuality, and women’s studies. We sat down with Soha, Sherine, and Ellen to discuss their vision for the journal’s future, as well as what brought them to editorship at JMEWS in the first place.

DUP: How would you like to shape the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies for the future?MEW_14_3_cover

Ellen: I think gender is one of the most defining issues when it comes to the study of the Middle East historically, intellectually, and academically. And it’s been a question that’s been kind of abused and used. All of our work centers on gender and I think that we would like to revolutionize the field in a way that causes people to rethink its importance. We’re not just talking about Orientalist tropes or oppression, repression, and liberation—we’d like to look at gender in new ways.

Sherine: I think gender is the underlying principle of social organizations all over the world, especially in the Middle East and in Muslim-majority countries. It’s been highly politicized, and it continues to be politicized in new ways all the time. So it’s important to track these changing modes of the politicization of gender and how gender is at the core of new nationalist movements and postcolonial and anticolonial trends.

Soha: We’re also really interested in highlighting theoretical contributions from the field and pushing it forward to show that feminist theory and gender studies in the Middle East don’t have to rely on prepackaged theoretical constructions produced in intellectual centers of the global North. We can actually generate novel ways of thinking about gender and feminisms from the Middle East as well. And we want to push the boundaries of the field—not just to think about it as regional studies or area studies, but also to think about, as Sherine said, postcoloniality in general as it interacts with gender and thinking about gender in the global South.

Sherine: Our regular section Third Space shows how much artists and activists shape this conversation and how it’s not just academia or institutions disseminating information or policies: it’s a feedback loop.

Ellen: And one of the advantages of area studies is its interdisciplinarity. We can approach these questions from multiple methodological angles. So we’re really hoping to bring these multiple disciplinary perspectives to the question of gender.

Sherine: We’re trying to intervene in the epistemology of gender in the Middle East and Muslim world because it’s such a salient topic and so central not just to the region but also globally, because both local and global forces intersect in gender. So we’d like to highlight those connections as well and include various interlocutors on the subject of gender from international scholarly institutions and universities from the Middle East and North America.MEW_14_2_cover.png

DUP: Why were you interested in becoming editors of the journal?

Soha: I come from a background that is interested in science and technology studies and the history of science and medicine. These are fields that are not necessarily the first fields you think about when you think about gender studies or feminist studies. As someone interested in studying gender within STS, I found it very appealing to be a part of this and to try and bring in some of the voices of people I know working in these fields. Especially when it comes to the Middle East, I have in mind scholars who may not necessarily think of themselves as or market their work directly to feminist scholars abroad, or who don’t think of their interlocutors as being feminist scholars abroad, but who definitely engage with questions of gender at a very deep level in their work. I wanted to bring some of those voices in and I thought that it would be an exciting opportunity to share that collaborative platform with two very well-established scholars of gender.

Ellen: I was here at Duke University while the prior three editors were working on the journal. I watched what they did with it and I was on the editorial board. I admired what they were doing and see myself now as helping to follow up on that legacy. I know everyone’s talking about doing new things, but I’m just hoping that we can do as good of a job. I was standing on the edges watching and so I’m excited to be a part of it now and am grateful to Soha and Sherine for bringing me on board.

Sherine: There were a couple of reasons that I was interested. First, I believe that women of color have to be theory makers. For a very long time the field of gender in the Middle East and Muslim world has been dominated by content studies, studies that basically regurgitate data. Of course, there have been seminal works and advances in theoretical trajectories, but I was hoping to further that and intensify the focus on theory. The second reason is that since the Arab uprisings have happened, I’ve been motivated to engage more with the public sphere in any way I can. I felt that even though this was a very busy time in my professional career, it was not something I could turn down. This was a moment for me to make an intervention, and I’m working with three amazing people, including our managing editor Shireen Hamza, whom I could not do without, and of course my two coeditors. This is an opportunity not just to make an intervention but also to grow professionally and learn from them and from our loyal readership.

Design Principles for Teaching History

Today we’re pleased to showcase the four books that currently comprise our Design Principles for Teaching History series, edited by Antoinette Burton. The most recent addition, A Primer for Teaching Women, Gender, and Sexuality in World History, is newly available this season.

Books in this series provide a guide for college and secondary school teachers who are teaching a particular field of history for the first time, for experienced teachers who want to reinvigorate their courses, for those who are training future teachers to prepare their own syllabi, and for teachers who want to incorporate specific topics into their history courses. These books are not intended to serve as a textbook nor advocate a particular school of thought. Rather, informed by the authors’ experiences in the classroom, they provide a guide to developing a syllabus around an integrated set of arguments and conceptual orientations. Ideal for teachers of all experience levels, the titles in this series help translate expert knowledge of a field into effective and thoughtful pedagogical strategies for a range of practitioners.

The series currently includes A Primer for Teaching World History, edited by Antoinette Burton; A Primer for Teaching African History, edited by Trevor Getz; A Primer for Teaching Environmental History, edited by Emily Wakild and Michelle K. Berry; and A Primer for Teaching Women, Gender, and Sexuality in World History, edited by Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks and Urmi Engineer Willoughby.

ckn_24_3_coverAlso of interest is a newly published issue of Common Knowledge: the second part of a two-part symposium titled “In the Humanities Classroom.” The first set of case studies described particular pedagogical experiences rather than simply making general arguments about the value of the humanities. In its recently published second set of case studiesCommon Knowledge continues this approach of describing in detail the excitement and discovery that can occur in a particular humanities class but also expands upon the first to include the voices of graduate students and an undergraduate and to delineate the process by which one teacher put together an online course. This special section argues that descriptions of specific classroom experiences and of the careful planning and passionate commitment of teachers may help to cling to the moral values both professors and their students seem to need and want in troubled times. Article topics include “Teaching Western Civilization,” “Teaching an Online Course,” and “When History Meets Politics.”

New Books in October

It’s October and our fall publishing season is in full swing. Check out all the great books coming out this month.

The contributors to The Apartment Complex, edited by Pamela Robertson Wojcik, offer global perspectives on films from a diverse set of genres—from film noir and comedy to horror and musicals—that use apartment living to explore modern urbanism’s various forms and possibilities.

978-1-4780-0130-0In See It Feelingly Ralph James Savarese showcases the voices of autistic readers by sharing their unique insights into literature and their sensory experiences of the world, thereby challenging common claims that people with autism have a limited ability to understand language, to partake in imaginative play, and to generate the complex theory of mind necessary to appreciate literature.

In Channeling the State Naomi Schiller explores how community television in Venezuela created openings for the urban poor to embrace the state as a collective process with the potential for creating positive social change.

978-1-4780-0105-8.jpgJ. Lorand Matory’s The Fetish Revisited casts an Afro-Atlantic eye on European social theory to show how Marx’s and Freud’s conceptions of the fetish illuminate and misrepresent the nature of Africa’s gods while demonstrating that Afro-Atlantic gods have their own social logic that is no less rational than European social theories.

The contributors to the volume Digital Sound Studies, edited by Mary Caton Lingold, Darren Mueller, and Whitney Trettien, explore the transformative potential of digital sound studies to create rich, multisensory experiences within scholarship, building on the work of digital humanists to evaluate and historicize new technologies and forms of knowledge.

Domestication Gone Wild, a collection edited by Heather Anne Swanson, Marianne Elisabeth Lien, and Gro B. Ween, offers a revisionary exploration of domestication as a narrative, ideal, and practice that reveals how our relations with animals and plants are intertwined with the politics of human difference.

978-0-8223-7075-8.jpgIn Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty J. Kēhaulani Kauanui examines contradictions of indigeneity and self-determination in U.S. domestic policy and international law, showing how Hawaiian elites’ approaches to reforming land, gender, and sexual regulation in the early nineteenth century that paved the way for sovereign recognition of the kingdom complicate contemporary nationalist activism, which too often includes disavowing the indigeneity of indigenous Hawaiians.

James N. Green’s Exiles within Exiles is a biography of the Brazilian revolutionary and social activist Herbert Daniel, whose life and political commitment shaped contemporary debates about social justice, gay rights, and HIV/AIDS.

A Primer for Teaching Women, Gender, and Sexuality in World History, by Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks and Urmi Engineer Willoughby, is a guide for college and high school teachers who are teaching women, gender, and sexuality history for the first time, for experienced teachers who want to reinvigorate their courses, for those who are training future teachers to prepare their own syllabi, and for teachers who want to incorporate the subject into their world history classes.

978-0-938989-42-4.jpgPop América, 1965-1975, edited by Esther Gabara, is a bilingual, fully illustrated catalogue that accompanies a traveling exhibition of the same name. Pop América, 1965-1975 presents a vision of Pop art across the Americas as a whole. The exhibition appears at the McNay Museum of Art in San Antonio from October 4, 2018 until January 13, 2019 and then moves to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University from February 21 to July 21, 2019. It will finally be featured at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University from September 21 to December 8, 2019.

In the still-timely twentieth anniversary edition of Written in Stone—which includes a new preface and an extensive afterword—Sanford Levinson considers the debates and conflicts surrounding controversial monuments to public figures throughout the American South and the world.

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Black Marriage

dif_29_2_coverThe most recent issue of differences, “Black Marriage,” edited by Ann duCille, is now available.

Marriage has been a contested term in African American studies. Contributors to this special issue address the subject of “black marriage,” broadly conceived and imaginatively considered from different vantage points. Historically, some scholars have maintained that the systematic enslavement of Africans completely undermined and effectively destroyed the institutions of heteropatriarchal marriage and family, while others have insisted that slaves found creative ways to be together, love each other, and build enduring conjugal relationships and family networks in spite of legal prohibitions against marriage, forced separations, and other hardships of the plantation system. Still others have pointed out that not all African Americans were slaves and that free black men and women formed stable marriages, fashioned strong nuclear and extended families, and established thriving black communities in antebellum cities in both the North and the South.

Against the backdrop of such scholarship, contributors look back to scholarly, legal, and literary treatments of the marriage question and address current concerns, from Beyoncé’s music and marriage to the issues of interracial coupling, marriage equality, and the much discussed decline in African American marriage rates.

Read the introduction, “Black Marriage and Meaning from Antoney and Isabella to ‘Beyoncé and Her Husband,'” made freely available.

978-1-4780-0048-8Ann duCille is also author of the new book Technicolored: Reflections on Race in the Time of TV. In it, she combines cultural critique with personal reflections on growing up with the new medium of TV to examine how televisual representations of African Americans have changed over the last sixty years. Whether explaining how watching Shirley Temple led her to question her own self-worth or how televisual representation functions as a form of racial profiling, duCille traces the real-life social and political repercussions of the portrayal and presence of African Americans on television.

978-0-8223-5008-8Also of interest is the book Inequalities of Love: College-Educated Black Women and the Barriers to Romance and Family by Averil Y. Clarke. While conventional wisdom suggests that all women, regardless of race, must sacrifice romance and family for advanced educations and professional careers, Clarke’s research reveals that educated black women’s disadvantages in romance and starting a family are consequences of a system of racial inequality and discrimination. Her discussion of the inequities that black women experience in romance highlights the connections between individuals’ sexual and reproductive decisions, their performance of professional or elite class identities, and the avoidance of racial stigma.