Jookin': The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African-American Culture / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 35%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $11.07
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 63%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $11.07   
  • New (5) from $21.22   
  • Used (8) from $11.07   


Katrina Hazzard-Gordon offers the first analysis of the development of the jook—an underground cultural institution created by the black working class—together with other dance arenas in African-American culture. Beginning with the effects of African slaves’ middle passage experience on their traditional dances, she traces the unique and virtually autonomous dance culture that developed in the rural South. Like the blues, these secular dance forms and institutions were brought north and urbanized by migrating blacks. In northern cities, some aspects of black dance became integrated into white culture and commercialized. Focusing on ten African-American dance arenas from the period of enslavement to the mid-twentieth century, this book explores the jooks, honky-tonks, rent parties, and after-hours joints as well as the licensed membership clubs, dance halls, cabarets, and the dances of the black elite.

Jook houses emerged during the Reconstruction era and can be viewed as a cultural response to freedom. In the jook, Hazzard-Gordon explains, an immeasurable amount of core black culture including food, language, community fellowship, mate selection, music, and dance found a sanctuary of expression when no other secular institution flourished among the folk. The jook and its various derivative forms have provided both entertainment and an economic alternative (such as illegal lotteries and numbers) to people excluded from the dominant economy. Dances like the Charleston, shimmy, snake hips, funky butt, twist, and slow drag originated in the jooks; some can be traced back to Africa.

Social dancing links black Americans to their African past more strongly than any other aspect of their culture. Citing the significance of dance in the African-American psyche, this study explores the establishments that nurtured ancestral as well as communal links for African-Americans, vividly describing black dances, formal rituals, such as debutante balls, and the influence of black dance on white culture.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"We glean just how rich the black dance tradition is from this vibrant, engaging social history, which hops from the decks of slave ships to honky-tonks, membership clubs and cabarets.... [It] takes us inside Reconstruction-era jook houses where food, gambling, drink and fellowship were offered, and where dances...crystallized into cultural forms."
Publishers Weekly

"An excellent study of black dance.... A well-done and readable account of how black Americans brought their dances with them from Africa, adapted them to the music of urban honky-tonks and jook joints, and created a unique art form."

"Here's a book I've longed for—historically rich, empirically inspired and, above all, reverent to the funk and drive and moral spirit of the Grand Atlantic Black Dance Tradition."
Robert Farris Thompson

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Whites have steadily borrowed from African-American dance. We glean just how rich the black dance tradition is from this vibrant, engaging social history, which hops from the decks of slave ships to honky-tonks, membership clubs and cabarets. Rutgers sociologist Hazzard-Gordon takes us inside Reconstruction-era jook houses where food, gambling, drink and fellowship were offered, and where dances like the shimmy, Charleston, snake hips, funky butt, twist and slow drag crystallized into cultural forms. She deciphers dance as a medium through which blacks have articulated group experience, whether in resisting slavery or in preserving a sense of identity in urban ghettos. Illustrated. Sept.\
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877229568
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Katrina Hazzard-Gordon is Associate Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, Camden, and the founder and director of the Diaspora Dance Theatre and Research Group.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


1. Dancing Under the Lash
The Middle Passage • The Plantation Environment • Bals du Cordon Bleu

2. Shoddy Confines: The Jook Continuum
The Great Transition • Jook Houses, Honky-Tonks, After-Hours Joints • Rent Parties, Chittlin' Struts, Blue Monday Affairs

3. Upper Shadies and Urban Politics
Monday Night at the Paradise Ballroom • Bells, Buzzers, and Air of Legitimacy • Night Clubs, Show Bars, Cabaret Parties • Dancin' in the Streets • Black Elite Affairs


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)