Whites in blackface, blacks in whiteface: Racial Fluidities and national identities

Posted: March 26, 2013 in Afrocentricity, Jason Richards, Minstrelsy

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Author: Jason Richards

A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

This project examines how literary uses of blackface minstrelsy both stabilize and destabilize raced and national identities by investigating texts that involve figurative and literal representations of whites in blackface and blacks in whiteface. The narratives I analyze employ minstrelsy not only to create and sustain raced identities, but also to register slippages, overlaps, and inversions across the color line—paradoxically reinforcing and subverting racial hierarchies. I am ultimately concerned with how this paradox reveals the often contradictory nature of American selfhood. By drawing on postcolonial theory to explore how minstrelsy shaped national identity, I have sought to recontextualize blackface, which has remained largely outside discussions of postcoloniality in American studies.READ IT HERE

 

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