Africans on Stage

Studies in Ethnological Show Business

Africans on Stage

"...engaging, richly illustrated, and well-reserached.... Part anthology, cultural studies, history, journalism and political science, it... manages to consistently engage the reader..." - African Studies Review "Lindfors's book shows how the 'edutainment' of the 19th century perpetuated an ignorance of Africa that makes it easy for whites to stay racist and difficult for blacks to gain an accurate and dignified understanding of their heritage.... an unusually strong, readable collection." —Boston Book Review Ethnological show business—that is, the displaying of foreign peoples for commercial and/or educational purposes—has a very long history. In the 19th and 20th centuries some of the most interesting individuals and groups exhibited in Europe and America came from Africa, or were said to come from Africa. African showpeople (real as well as counterfeit), managers and impresarios, and the audiences who came to gape are the featured attractions here—how they individually and in concert helped to shape Western perceptions of Africans.

Profiles of African American Stage Performers and Theatre People, 1816-1960

Profiles of African American Stage Performers and Theatre People, 1816-1960

Entries provide succinct biographical and theatrical information gathered from a variety of sources including library theater and drama collections, dissertations and theses, newspaper and magazine reviews and criticism, theater programs, theatrical memoirs, and earlier performing arts directories. Among the professional artists included in this volume are performers, librettists, lyricists, directors, producers, choreographers, stage managers, and musicians. The individuals profiled represent almost every major category and genre of the professional, semiprofessional, regional, and academic stage including minstrelsy, vaudeville, musical theater, and drama.

Visualizing Africa in Nineteenth-Century British Travel Accounts

Visualizing Africa in Nineteenth-Century British Travel Accounts

This study examines and explains how British explorers visualized the African interior in the latter part of the nineteenth century, providing the first sustained analysis of the process by which this visual material was transformed into the illustrations in popular travel books. At that time, central Africa was, effectively, a blank canvas for Europeans, unknown and devoid of visual representations. While previous works have concentrated on exploring the stereotyped nature of printed imagery of Africa, this study examines the actual production process of images and the books in which they were published in order to demonstrate how, why, and by whom the images were manipulated. Thus, the main focus of the work is not on the aesthetic value of pictures, but in the activities, interaction, and situations that gave birth to them in both Africa and Europe.

Whiting Up

Whiteface Minstrels and Stage Europeans in African American Performance

Whiting Up

In the early 1890s, black performer Bob Cole turned blackface minstrelsy on its head with his nationally recognized whiteface creation, a character he called Willie Wayside. Just over a century later, hiphop star Busta Rhymes performed a whiteface supercop in his hit music video "Dangerous." In this sweeping work, Marvin McAllister explores the enduring tradition of "whiting up," in which African American actors, comics, musicians, and even everyday people have studied and assumed white racial identities. Not to be confused with racial "passing" or derogatory notions of "acting white," whiting up is a deliberate performance strategy designed to challenge America's racial and political hierarchies by transferring supposed markers of whiteness to black bodies--creating unexpected intercultural alliances even as it sharply critiques racial stereotypes. Along with conventional theater, McAllister considers a variety of other live performance modes, including weekly promenading rituals, antebellum cakewalks, solo performance, and standup comedy. For over three centuries, whiting up as allowed African American artists to appropriate white cultural production, fashion new black identities through these "white" forms, and advance our collective ability to locate ourselves in others.

Forty Years of Sport and Social Change, 1968-2008

To Remember is to Resist

Forty Years of Sport and Social Change, 1968-2008

1968 was a year of protest in civil society (Prague, Paris, Chicago) and a year of protest in sport. After a world-wide campaign, the anti-apartheid movement succeeded in barring South Africa from the Olympic Games, while US athletes from the Olympic Project for Human Rights used the medals podium to decry the racism of North America. Meanwhile, students in Mexico demonstrated against social priorities in Mexico, the host of the 1968 Games. These events contributed significantly to the rejection of the idea that sports are apolitical, and stimulated the scholarly study of sport across the social sciences. Leading up to the Beijing Olympic Games, similar dynamics were played out across the globe, while a campaign was underway to boycott the ‘Genocide Olympics’. The volume, To Remember is to Resist, came out of a three-day conference on sports, human rights and social change hosted by the University of Toronto forty years after Mexico and eighty days before the Beijing Opening Ceremony. The contributions to this volume capture the memories of activists who were "on the ground" using sport as a site for the struggle for human rights and provide scholarly examinations of past and current human rights movements in sport. This book was previously published as a special issue of Sport in Society.

Forays into Contemporary South African Theatre

Devising New Stage Idioms

Forays into Contemporary South African Theatre

After the end of Apartheid, South African theatre was characterized by a remarkable process of constant aesthetic reinvention. This multivocal volume documents some of the various ways in which the “rainbow” nation has forged these innovative stage idioms.

Africans in Europe

The Culture of Exile and Emigration from Equatorial Guinea to Spain

Africans in Europe

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Willis Richardson, Forgotten Pioneer of African-American Drama

Willis Richardson, Forgotten Pioneer of African-American Drama

During the 1920s and 1930s, Willis Richardson (1889-1977) was respected as a significant African-American playwright and drama anthologist. His plays were performed by numerous black high school, college, and university drama groups and by various theater companies in Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Baltimore, and Atlanta. Several of his 46 plays were published in various magazines. In his essays, he urged African Americans to seek their dramatic material in their own experiences. He also edited three anthologies of plays by black dramatists. With the opening performance of The Chip Woman's Fortune (1923), he became the first African American to have a play produced on Broadway. But between 1940 and his death in 1977, Richardson came to realize that his plays were period pieces and that they no longer reflected the African-American experience. In spite of his enormous contributions, Richardson died in obscurity, and his work has been neglected by scholars. This critical biography offers the first extensive consideration of Richardson's life and work and firmly reestablishes his place in the history of the theater.

Psychological Principles and the Black Experience

Psychological Principles and the Black Experience

This book demonstrates how the basic body of knowledge in psychology can be applied to the experiences and behavior of blacks, as differentiated from those of whites. The author begins with a brief description of African culture, discusses the slave trade, and presents a sketch of the initial experiences of other ethnic groups in the United States. Following a discussion of black psychology and black psychologists, the author analyzes and relates specifically to the black experience such precepts as learning theories, perception, intelligence, frustration/adjustment, and personality. Includes discussion on criminal behavior, substance abuse, suicide and mental illness from a black perspective. The author concludes with an exploration of the factors that must be considered if psychological intervention with black patients and clients is to be effective. Contents: A Brief Look at the Past; Black Psychology and Black Psychologists; Learning and Conditioning; Perception and Consciousness; Black Intellectual Ability; Frustration and Adjustment; Personality; Socially Deviant and Socially Destructive Behavior; Mental Disorders; and Helping Troubled Blacks.

Staging Race

Black Performers in Turn of the Century America

Staging Race

Drawing extensively on black newspapers and commentary of the period, Karen Sotiropoulos shows how black performers and composers participated in a politically charged debate about the role of the expressive arts in the struggle for equality. Despite the racial violence, disenfranchisement, and the segregation of virtually all public space, they used America's new businesses of popular entertainment as vehicles for their own creativity and as spheres for political engagement.