Book Signing: “Transcending Blackness” and “Troubling the Family”

Ralina Joseph talking about the cover for her new book.

Ralina Joseph talking about the cover for her new book.

With nearly every chair filled, and some visitors sitting on the floor and standing in the back, UW Communication professor Ralina Joseph’s joint talk and book signing with English professor Habiba Ibrahim was a success last Thursday night at the University Bookstore.

“It was a special event because so many members of the UW community were in attendance,” Joseph said, “from members of my faculty research and support group WIRED (Women Investigating Race, Ethnicity, and Difference) to my graduate and undergraduate students, to staff members and administrators.”

Moderated by professor LeiLani Nishime, the two authors talked about the motivation for writing their books, the inspiration for the covers, and common themes that included the election of President Barack Obama, the terms blackness and multiracial, and how language plays a role in identity.

"Transcending Blackness" by Ralina Joseph

“Transcending Blackness” by Ralina Joseph

Joseph’s book “Transcending Blackness: From the New Milenium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial” (Duke University Press) contains many pop culture references, such as model and TV show host Tyra Banks on America’s Next Top Model, images of singer Mariah Carey on Oprah, and jokes from comedian Wanda Sykes, and Ibrahim talked about how her work “Troubling the Family: The Promise of Personhood and the Rise of Multiracialism” (University of Minnesota Press) sourced historical events like Loving v. Virginia and the feminist movement.

Fully engaged even after the buzzer sounded to warn shoppers that the store would be closing in ten minutes, many audience members jumped at the chance to purchase the books, ask questions, and chat with the authors while they signed covers.

“We had an engaging and supportive audience, which was nice,” Ibrahim said. “With more time, the conversation could have continued for a while.”