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International conference : « Diversity and interbreeding in 19th and 20th Century History »

The mixed race figure and the obsession with interbreeding occupy a central place in racist and anti-Semitic imagery. The terminological profusion for these categories : half-cast, mulatto, quadroon, “chabin”... bear witness to their centrality as well as of the universal character of the practices they remind us of. The notions of “mixed race” or “mixed marriage” are social constructions lacking any biological basis. They have, however, played a fundamental role in the creation and the assignation of identities and win the elaboration of “bio-politics”. In Western Europe as in the colonial Empires, interbreeding was often condemned, whether the marriages were between people of different religions, nationalities or “races”, according to the terminology in use. Interbreeding was perceived as creating multiple threats for a social order protected by a variety of borders, and its practice sparked various laws, ranging from assimilation policies for children born from mixed marriages, to relegation in a radical otherness. Within the States which openly accepted racist or anti-Semitic policies, mixed marriages were generally forbidden. Thus, during the Thirties and during World War II, the question of “mischlinge”, of “half-Jews” was a Nazi obsession and a true headache for most anti-Semitic States. Even when there was no specific status for the spouses or the children of mixed marriages, they still faced discrimination in most cases, though generally less severe than that which Jewish spouses suffered from. ……

Page créée le vendredi 15 septembre 2017, par Dominique Taurisson-Mouret.

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