The Scene of Harlem Cabaret: Race, Sexuality, Performance

The Scene of Harlem Cabaret: Race, Sexuality, Performance

by Shane Vogel
     
 

Harlem's nightclubs in the 1920s and '30s were a crucial location for testing society's racial and sexual limits. Normally tacit divisions were made spectacularly public in the vibrant, but often fraught, relationship between performer and audience. These cabaret scenes, Shane Vogel contends, also played a key role in the Harlem Renaissance by offering alternatives to… See more details below

Overview

Harlem's nightclubs in the 1920s and '30s were a crucial location for testing society's racial and sexual limits. Normally tacit divisions were made spectacularly public in the vibrant, but often fraught, relationship between performer and audience. These cabaret scenes, Shane Vogel contends, also played a key role in the Harlem Renaissance by offering alternatives to the politics of sexual respectability and racial uplift that sought to dictate the proper subject matter for black arts and letters. Writers, performers, and spectators expanded the possibilities of blackness and sexuality in America, resulting in a queer nightlife that flourished in music, in print, and on stage. The Scene of Harlem Cabaret brings this rich moment in history to life and insists upon the role of nightlife performance as a definitive touchstone for understanding the racial and sexual politics of the early twentieth century.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226862521
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
04/01/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,088,647
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction Against Uplift: Performance, Literature, and the Queer Harlem Renaissance 1

Chapter One American Cabaret Performance and the Production of Intimacy 39

Chapter Two The Scene of Harlem Cabaret: 1926 and After 74

Chapter Three Closing Time: Langston Hughes and the Queer Poetics of Harlem Nightlife 104

Chapter Four Rereading Du Bois Reading McKay: Uplift Sociology and the Problem of Amusement 132

Chapter Five Lena Horne's Impersona 167

Afterword Irrealizing the Queer Harlem Renaissance 194

Notes 203

Bibliography 227

Index 245

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