Love Theft

Author: Eric Lott
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199361630
Format: PDF
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For over two centuries, America has celebrated the same African-American culture it attempts to control and repress, and nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than in the strange practice of blackface performance. Born of extreme racial and class conflicts, the blackface minstrel show appropriated black dialect, music, and dance; at once applauded and lampooned black culture; and, ironically, contributed to a "blackening of America." Drawing on recent research in cultural studies and social history, Eric Lott examines the role of the blackface minstrel show in the political struggles of the years leading up to the Civil War. Reading minstrel music, lyrics, jokes, burlesque skits, and illustrations in tandem with working-class racial ideologies and the sex/gender system, Love and Theft argues that blackface minstrelsy both embodied and disrupted the racial tendencies of its largely white, male, working-class audiences. Underwritten by envy as well as repulsion, sympathetic identification as well as fear--a dialectic of "love and theft"--the minstrel show continually transgressed the color line even as it enabled the formation of a self-consciously white working class. Lott exposes minstrelsy as a signifier for multiple breaches: the rift between high and low cultures, the commodification of the dispossessed by the empowered, the attraction mixed with guilt of whites caught in the act of cultural thievery. This new edition celebrates the twentieth anniversary of this landmark volume. It features a new foreword by renowned critic Greil Marcus that discusses the book's influence on American cultural studies as well as its relationship to Bob Dylan's 2001 album of the same name, "Love & Theft." In addition, Lott has written a new afterword that extends the study's range to the twenty-first century.

Love and Theft Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class

Author: Department of English University of Virginia Eric Lott Associate Professor
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780199762248
Format: PDF, Kindle
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For over two centuries, America has celebrated the very black culture it attempts to control and repress, and nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than in the strange practice of blackface performance. Born of extreme racial and class conflicts, the blackface minstrel show sometimes usefully intensified them. Based on the appropriation of black dialect, music, and dance, minstrelsy at once applauded and lampooned black culture, ironically contributing to a "blackening of America." Drawing on recent research in cultural studies and social history, Eric Lott examines the role of the blackface minstrel show in the political struggles of the years leading up to the Civil War. Reading minstrel music, lyrics, jokes, burlesque skits, and illustrations in tandem with working-class racial ideologies and the sex/gender system, Love and Theft argues that blackface minstrelsy both embodied and disrupted the racial tendencies of its largely white, male, working-class audiences. Underwritten by envy as well as repulsion, sympathetic identification as well as fear--a dialectic of "love and theft"--the minstrel show continually transgressed the color line even as it enabled the formation of a self-consciously white working class. Lott exposes minstrelsy as a signifier for multiple breaches: the rift between high and low cultures, the commodification of the dispossessed by the empowered, the attraction mixed with guilt of whites caught in the act of cultural thievery.

Inside the Minstrel Mask

Author: Annemarie Bean
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
ISBN: 9780819563002
Format: PDF, ePub
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A sourcebook of contemporary and historical commentary on America's first popular mass entertainment.

Black Like You

Author: John Strausbaugh
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781585425938
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Presents an analysis of American racial attitudes as reflected by the historical practice of "blackface," exploring its past role in entertainment, its continuing impact, and its role as a symbol of positive advances in modern race relations.

Burnt Cork

Author: Stephen Johnson
Publisher: Univ of Massachusetts Press
ISBN: 1558499342
Format: PDF, ePub
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This collection of original essays brings together a group of prominent scholars of blackface performance to reflect on this complex and troublesome tradition. The essays consider the early relationship of the blackface performer with American politics and the antislavery movement; the relationship of minstrels to the commonplace compromises of the touring 'show' business and to the mechanisation of the industrial revolution; and much more.

Black Mirror

Author: Eric Lott
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674967712
Format: PDF, Docs
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Blackness is a prized commodity in American pop culture. Marketed to white consumers, it invites whites to view themselves in a mirror of racial difference, while remaining “wholly” white. From sports to literature, film, and music to investigative journalism, Eric Lott reveals the hidden dynamics of this self-and-other racial mirroring.

Darkest America Black Minstrelsy from Slavery to Hip Hop

Author: Yuval Taylor
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393070980
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Investigates the origin and heyday of black minstrelsy and discusses whether or not the art form is actually still alive in the work of contemporary performers--from Dave Chappelle and Flavor Flav to Spike Lee.

Raising Cain

Author: W. T. Lhamon
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674747111
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Cain made the first blackface turn, blackface minstrels liked to say of the first man forced to wander the world acting out his low place in life. It wasn't the "approved" reading, but then, blackface wasn't the "approved" culture either--yet somehow we're still dancing to its renegade tune. The story of an insubordinate, rebellious, truly popular culture stretching from Jim Crow to hip hop is told for the first time in Raising Cain, a provocative look at how the outcasts of official culture have made their own place in the world. Unearthing a wealth of long-buried plays and songs, rethinking materials often deemed too troubling or lowly to handle, and overturning cherished ideas about classics from Uncle Tom's Cabin to Benito Cereno to The Jazz Singer, W. T. Lhamon Jr. sets out a startlingly original history of blackface as a cultural ritual that, for all its racist elements, was ultimately liberating. He shows that early blackface, dating back to the 1830s, put forward an interpretation of blackness as that which endured a commonly felt scorn and often outwitted it. To follow the subsequent turns taken by the many forms of blackface is to pursue the way modern social shifts produce and disperse culture. Raising Cain follows these forms as they prolong and adapt folk performance and popular rites for industrial commerce, then project themselves into the rougher modes of postmodern life through such heirs of blackface as stand-up comedy, rock 'n' roll, talk TV, and hip hop. Formally raising Cain in its myriad variants, blackface appears here as a racial project more radical even than abolitionism. Lhamon's account of its provenance and persistence is a major reinterpretation of American culture.

Blackface White Noise

Author: Michael Rogin
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520213807
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The tangled connections that have bound Jews to African Americans in popular culture and liberal politics are at the heart of this text. It explores blackface in Hollywood films as an aperture to various broader issues.

Behind the Burnt Cork Mask

Author: William John Mahar
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
ISBN: 9780252066962
Format: PDF, ePub
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The songs, dances, jokes, parodies, spoofs, and skits of blackface groups such as the Virginia Minstrels and Buckley's Serenaders became wildly popular in antebellum America. Behind the Burnt Cork Mask not only explores the racist practices of these entertainers but considers their performances as troubled representations of ethnicity, class, gender, and culture in the nineteenth century. William J. Mahar's unprecedented archival study of playbills, newspapers, sketches, monologues, and music engages new sources previously not considered in twentieth-century scholarship. More than any other study of its kind, Behind the Burnt Cork Mask investigates the relationships between blackface comedy and other Western genres and traditions; between the music of minstrel shows and its European sources; and between "popular" and "elite" constructions of culture. By locating minstrel performances within their complex sites of production, Mahar offers a significant reassessment of the historiography of the field. Behind the Burnt Cork Mask promises to redefine the study of blackface minstrelsy, charting new directions for future inquiries by scholars in American studies, popular culture, and musicology.