Hybridity and its Discontents explores the history and experience of 'hybridity' - the mixing of peoples and cultures - in North and South America, Latin America, Britain and Ireland, South Africa, Asia and the Pacific. The contributors trace manifestations of hybridity in debates about miscengenation and racial purity, in scientific notions of genetics and 'race', in processes of cultural translation, and in ideas of nation, community and belonging.
The contributors begin by examining the persistence of anxieties about racial 'contamination', from nineteenth-century fears of miscegenation to more recent debates about mixed race relationships and parenting. Examining the lived experiences of children of 'mixed parentage', contributors ask why such fears still thrive in a supposedly tolerant culture? The contributors go on to discuss how science, while apparently neutral, is part of cultural discourses, which affect its constructions and classifications of gender and 'race'.
The contributors examine how new cultural forms emerge from borrowings, exchanges and intersections across ethnic and cultural boundaries, and conclude by investigating the contemporary experience of multiculturalism in an age of contested national borders and identities.
'This book is valuable because it contains essays that critically examine a concept that has been of importance in various social and historical contexts.' - Karen Fog Olwig, University of Copenhagen