Framing a Blaxicana Identity
April 4, 2012
This afternoon, my graduate student in Cultural Studies, Ana Thorne, successfully defended her dissertation, Framing a Blaxicana Identity: A Cultural Ethnography of Family, Race and Community in the Valley Homes, Lincoln Heights, Ohio, 1955-1960. It was an emotional experience: Ana turned 65 this year, and wrote compellingly in her dissertation about how the racial segregation experienced by citizens of her her all-black town, Lincoln Heights, had initially limited her access to education as a girl. Now, she’s Dr. Thorne!
In this original, creative, and elegant study, Ana presses her family’s (and her embodied) stories of the pleasures and dangers of crossing and blending racial categories within the oppressive historical regimes of racial oppression and segregation to allow us to understand that even in an “all-black” context, race is more mobile, dangerous, complex, and contingent then we like to remember.
She writes: “This research will draw its conclusions regarding the construction of a Blaxicana identity by using a critical, self-reflexive method of inquiry that incorporates the author’s memories, impressions and artifacts from the 1950’s. The author’s interracial family experience, defined by an African American father from Nashville, Tennessee and a Mexican mother from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, presents the opportunity to examine what was then, considering the time and place, an uncommon combination.”