African American Performance and Theater History: A Critical Reader

Paperback | January 18, 2001

EditorHarry J. Elam, David Krasner

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African American Performance and Theater History is an anthology of critical writings that explores the intersections of race, theater, and performance in America. Assembled by two esteemed scholars in black theater, Harry J. Elam, Jr. and David Krasner, and composed of essays fromacknowledged authorities in the field, this anthology is organized into four sections representative of the ways black theater, drama, and performance interact and enact continual social, cultural, and political dialogues. Ranging from a discussion of dramatic performances of Uncle Tom's Cabin to the Black Art Movement of the 1960s and early 1970s, articles gathered in the first section, "Social Protest and the Politics of Representation," discuss the ways in which African American theater and performance haveoperated as social weapons and tools of protest. The second section of the volume, "Cultural Traditions, Cultural Memory and Performance," features, among other essays, Joseph Roach's chronicle of the slave performances at Congo Square in New Orleans and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s critique of AugustWilson's cultural polemics. "Intersections of Race and Gender," the third section, includes analyses of the intersections of race and gender on the minstrel stage, the plight of black female choreographers at the inception of Modern Dance, and contemporary representations of black homosexuality byPomoAfro Homo. Using theories of performance and performativity, articles in the fourth section, "African American Performativity and the Performance of Race," probe into the ways blackness and racial identity have been constructed in and through performance. The final section is a round-tableassessment of the past and present state of African American Theater and Performance Studies by some of the leading senior scholars in the field--James V. Hatch, Sandra L. Richards, and Margaret B. Wilkerson. Revealing the dynamic relationship between race and theater, this volume illustrates how the social and historical contexts of production critically affect theatrical performances of blackness and their meanings and, at the same time, how African American cultural, social, and political struggleshave been profoundly affected by theatrical representations and performances. This one-volume collection is sure to become an important reference for those studying black theater and an engrossing survey for all readers of African American literature.

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From the Publisher

African American Performance and Theater History is an anthology of critical writings that explores the intersections of race, theater, and performance in America. Assembled by two esteemed scholars in black theater, Harry J. Elam, Jr. and David Krasner, and composed of essays fromacknowledged authorities in the field, this anthology i...

Harry J. Elam, Jr. is Christensen Professor for the Humanities, Director of the Introduction to the Humanities, Director of Graduate Studies for Drama, and Director of the Committee on Black Performing Arts at Stanford University. David Krasner is Director of Undergraduate Theater Studies at Yale University, where he teaches theater h...

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Format:PaperbackPublished:January 18, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195127250

ISBN - 13:9780195127256

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Table of Contents

Harry J. Elam, Jr.: The Device of Race: An IntroductionPART I: SOCIAL PROTEST AND THE POLITICS OF REPRESENTATION1. Judith Williams: Uncle Tom's Women2. Margaret B. Wilkerson: Political Radicalism and Artistic Innovation in the Works of Lorraine Hansberry3. Mike Sell: The Black Arts Movement: Performance, Neo-Orality, and the Destruction of the "White Thing"4. William Sonnega: Beyond a Liberal AudiencePART II: CULTURAL TRADITIONS, CULTURAL MEMORY, AND PERFORMANCE5. Joseph R. Roach: Deep Skin: Reconstructing Congo Square6. Telia U. Anderson: "Calling on the Spirit": The Performativity of Black Women's Faith in the Baptist Church Spritual Traditions and Its Radical Possibilities for Resistance7. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: The Chitlin Circuit8. Sandra G. Shannon: Audience and Africanisms in August Wilson's Dramaturgy: A Case of StudyPART III: INTERSECTIONS OF RACE AND GENDER9. Annemarie Bean: Black Minstrelsy and Double Inversion, Circa 189010. David Krasner: Black Salome: Exoticism, Dance, and Racial Myths11. Kimberly D. Dixon: Uh Tiny Land Mass Just Outside of My Vocabulary: Expression of Creative Nomadism and Contemporary African American Playwrights12. Jay Plum: Attending Walt Whitman High: The Lessons of Pomo Afro Homos' Dark FruitPART IV: AFRICAN AMERICAN PERFORMATIVITY AND THE PERFORMANCE OF RACE13. Diana R. Paulin: Acting Out Miscegenation14. Tina Redd: Birmingham's Federal Theater Project Negro Unit: The Administration of Race15. Harry J. Elam, Jr.: The Black Performer and the Performance of Blackness: The Escape, or, A Leap to Freedom by William Wells Brown and No Place To Be Somebody by Charles Gordone16 The Costs of Re-Membering: What's at Stake in Gayl Jones's Corregidora. Christina E. Sharpe: PART V: ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION WITH SENIOR SCHOLARS17. Round-table discussion edited by Harry J. Elam, Jr. and David Krasner: African American Theater: The State of the Profession, Past, Present, and FutureDavid Krasner: Afterword: Change Is ComingSelected BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"An excellent collection of critical writings on issues of race, theater, and performance.... This volume offers compelling insights into producing and performing blackness on the American stage... A vital reference work for anyone interested in cultural studies, American theater, andliterature."--Choice