Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Fellow
Gender & Women's Studies/History, UW-Madison
"A Peculiar Custom: Euro-African Marriage in an Atlantic Slave Trading Town"
My project is a history of marriages between African women and European men who participated in the slave trade on the Gold Coast in the eighteenth century. I argue that these interracial marriages took place in a field of tension between the local practicalities of the slave trade and the larger Atlantic structures of racial slavery and colonialism. In that larger Atlantic world, marriages between black and white were neither socially acceptable nor economically necessary. Amid the difficulties of the slave trade on the Gold Coast, however, Euro-African marriages were from the very beginning central in creating strong cross-cultural ties and stable trading relations. My book follows five generations of Euro-African families in the small town of Osu (now part of Accra). It shows how these families responded to both opportunities and pressures from the intense social climate created by the Atlantic slave trade, in the process building a cultural world specifically adapted to it.
Pernille Ipsen holds a REI fellowship at the Institute in the Fall of 2012. She will spend this time completing the manuscript of her first book, which is under contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press. She has promised to send them the manuscript by December 2012, and four months on leave from teaching will make it possible to reach this goal! She was born and raised in Denmark, where she received her degrees, and where she and her family spend much of the summer. She is in her third year as Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and also has an appointment in the Department of History.
Honorary Felow (Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity)
"‘Ethnic Affinities’ in the Metropolis: Boundary making in the contemporary urban landscape"
My project engages recent efforts towards a unified theory of ethnic boundary formation, maintenance, and transformation. Relying on ethnographic fieldwork on the current ethno-racial makeup of a former Italian neighborhood in the Bronx, I look at the group formation strategies of recently arriving Albanian immigrants. Focusing on their developing ‘ethnic affinity’ with Italians – which signals an immigrant incorporation strategy that goes beyond older discourses of assimilation – I attempt to expand the current conceptual vocabulary of boundary crossing, shifting, or blurring within the new diversity of the urban landscape.
Ervin Kosta received his PhD in Sociology from CUNY Graduate Center in 2012. His research interests lie at the intersection of ethnicity, immigration, and race. His work explores the making of group boundaries and concurrent remaking of urban ethnic neighborhoods in ‘gateway’ metropolitan neighborhoods. He has published research on Manhattan and Bronx neighborhoods in City and Community and with Fordham University Press. Ervin is a passionate teacher and has taught at several New York City area institutions, including Fordham and Pace Universities. He holds undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Political Science and International Relations from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey.