Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity / Edition 1

Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity / Edition 1

by E. Patrick Johnson
     
 

ISBN-10: 0822331918

ISBN-13: 9780822331919

Pub. Date: 08/13/2003

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

Performance artist and scholar E. Patrick Johnson’s provocative study examines how blackness is appropriated and performed—toward widely divergent ends—both within and outside African American culture. Appropriating Blackness develops from the contention that blackness in the United States is necessarily a politicized identity—avowed

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Overview

Performance artist and scholar E. Patrick Johnson’s provocative study examines how blackness is appropriated and performed—toward widely divergent ends—both within and outside African American culture. Appropriating Blackness develops from the contention that blackness in the United States is necessarily a politicized identity—avowed and disavowed, attractive and repellent, fixed and malleable. Drawing on performance theory, queer studies, literary analysis, film criticism, and ethnographic fieldwork, Johnson describes how diverse constituencies persistently try to prescribe the boundaries of "authentic" blackness and how performance highlights the futility of such enterprises.

Johnson looks at various sites of performed blackness, including Marlon Riggs’s influential documentary Black Is . . . Black Ain’t and comedic routines by Eddie Murphy, David Alan Grier, and Damon Wayans. He analyzes nationalist writings by Amiri Baraka and Eldridge Cleaver, the vernacular of black gay culture, an oral history of his grandmother’s experience as a domestic worker in the South, gospel music as performed by a white Australian choir, and pedagogy in a performance studies classroom. By exploring the divergent aims and effects of these performances—ranging from resisting racism, sexism, and homophobia to excluding sexual dissidents from the black community—Johnson deftly analyzes the multiple significations of blackness and their myriad political implications. His reflexive account considers his own complicity, as ethnographer and teacher, in authenticating narratives of blackness.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822331919
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
08/13/2003
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
1,288,648
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: "Blackness" and Authenticity: What's Performance Got to Do with It?1
1The Pot Is Brewing: Marlon Riggs's Black Is ... Black Ain't17
2Manifest Faggotry: Queering Masculinity in African American Culture48
3Mother Knows Best: Blackness and Transgressive Domestic Space76
4"Nevah Had uh Cross Word": Mammy and the Trope of Black Womanhood104
5Sounds of Blackness Down Under: The Cafe of the Gate of Salvation160
6Performance and/as Pedagogy: Performing Blackness in the Classroom219
App. AMary Rhyne's Narrative257
App. BInterview with Mrs. Smith311
Notes315
Bibliography345
Index361

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