A sweeping history of racialized performance across the Anglophone imperial world from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century
A material history of racialized performance throughout the Anglophone imperial world, Transoceanic Blackface: Empire, Race, Performance revises prevailing understandings of blackface and minstrelsy as distinctively US American cultural practices. Tracing intertwined histories of racialized performance from the mid-eighteenth through the early twentieth century across the United States and the British Empire, this study maps the circulations of blackface repertoires in theatrical spectacles, popular songs, visual materials, comic operas, closet dramas, dance forms, and Shakespearean burlesques.
Kellen Hoxworth focuses on overlooked performance histories, such as the early blackface minstrelsy of T. D. Rice’s “Jump Jim Crow” and the widely staged blackface burlesque versions of Othello, as traces of the racial and sexual anxieties of empire. From the nascent theatrical cultures of Australia, Britain, Canada, India, Jamaica, South Africa, and the United States, Transoceanic Blackface offers critical insight into the ways racialized performance animated the imperial “common sense” of white supremacy on a global scale.
List of Figures Author's Note Introduction: Furnishing the Empire Chapter 1: Eddies in the Anglophone Imperial Stream Chapter 2: Jim Crow Puts a Girdle Round About the Earth Chapter 3: Ensemble Blackface Minstrelsy Belts the World Chapter 4: Othello Travestied Chapter 5: The Racial Make-Up of Empire Epilogue: Blackface Backwash Acknowledgements Notes Index
KELLEN HOXWORTH is an assistant professor of theater studies at the University at Buffalo.
“Kellen Hoxworth’s Transoceanic Blackface: Empire, Race, Performance is poised to become a cornerstone study of blackface minstrelsy, racial impersonation, and the provenance of global popular cultures. This methodologically deft and theoretically ambitious book is cultural studies at its finest.” —Douglas A. Jones, Duke University
“This is an astonishing and important piece of work by a scholar who has been engaged in deep study of racialization.” —Maurya Wickstrom, CUNY Graduate Center
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