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Burnt Cork: Traditions and Legacies of Blackface Minstrelsy
Beginning in the 1830s and continuing for more than a century, blackface minstrelsy stage performances that claimed to represent the culture of black Americans remained arguably the most popular entertainment in North America. A renewed scholarly interest in this contentious form of entertainment has produced studies treating a range of issues: its...
Beginning in the 1830s and continuing for more than a century, blackface minstrelsy stage performances that claimed to represent the culture of black Americans remained arguably the most popular entertainment in North America. A renewed scholarly interest in this contentious form of entertainment has produced studies treating a range of issues: its contradictory depictions of class, race, and gender; its role in the development of racial stereotyping; and its legacy in humor, dance, and music, and in live performance, film, and television. The style and substance of minstrelsy persist in popular music, tap and hip-hop dance, the language of the standup comic, and everyday rituals of contemporary culture. The blackface makeup all but disappeared for a time, though its influence never diminished and recently, even the makeup has been making a comeback. This collection of original essays brings together a group of prominent scholars of blackface performance to reflect on this complex and troublesome tradition.
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