Staging Race

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$21.38
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $23.76
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (7) from $23.76   
  • New (3) from $25.79   
  • Used (4) from $23.76   

Overview

Staging Race casts a spotlight on the generation of black artists who came of age between 1890 and World War I in an era of Jim Crow segregation and heightened racial tensions. As public entertainment expanded through vaudeville, minstrel shows, and world's fairs, black performers, like the stage duo of Bert Williams and George Walker, used the conventions of blackface to appear in front of, and appeal to, white audiences. At the same time, they communicated a leitmotif of black cultural humor and political comment to the black audiences segregated in balcony seats. With ingenuity and innovation, they enacted racial stereotypes onstage while hoping to unmask the fictions that upheld them offstage.

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.

The story of how African Americans entered the stage door and transformed popular culture is a largely untold story. Although ultimately unable to erase racist stereotypes, these pioneering artists brought black music and dance into America's mainstream and helped to spur racial advancement.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Robin D. G. Kelley
Karen Sotiropoulos tells the riveting story of a group of black intellectuals who challenged social Darwinism, imperialism, segregation and promoted a discourse of black nation-building. Brilliantly written and conceived, Staging Race will force us all to rethink early 20th century black musical theater, as well as black political thought during the so-called "nadir" of African American history.
Kathy Peiss
In Staging Race, Karen Sotiropoulos casts the politics of turn-of-the-century African-American entertainment in a new light. Tracing such figures as Bert Williams, Aida Overton Walker, and James Reese Europe, she reveals how black entertainers pushed against the minstrel stereotypes they were expected to perform, inserting social and political themes to speak directly to black audiences and over the heads of whites. They created performers' organizations, established a black-owned sheet music company, and eventually broke onto the Broadway stage. Meticulous in its research, powerfully argued, and elegantly written, this is a first-rate work of scholarship.
Kenneth Goings
Sotiropoulos has written an exciting original piece of work that will prompt scholars to re-think what they knew about African American performers during the "nadir." She convincingly asserts that these artists played into and used the racist stereotypes that were being promulgated as a way of gaining space in the public arena. In using those stereotypes the African American performers were in a dialogue with their African American audiences about issues of personhood as well as critiquing the stereotype themselves. This is an important book.
New York Review of Books - Darryl Pinckney
Nowadays black minstrels are not seen as black performers trapped into humiliating roles, but as black performers helping to define what blackness was. Karen Sotiropoulos, in her extremely useful history, Staging Race: Black Performers in Turn of the Century America, argues that the popular stage was a part of the political debate.
Journal of American History - Scott A. Newman
By examining the history of leading black artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Sotiropoulos addresses an important and often overlooked aspect of African American history. Staging Race is a valuable addition to the field of cultural studies and offers readers a new perspective on the role of commercial amusements and celebrity artists in the transformation of American race relations during the twentieth century.
New York Review of Books

Nowadays black minstrels are not seen as black performers trapped into humiliating roles, but as black performers helping to define what blackness was. Karen Sotiropoulos, in her extremely useful history, Staging Race: Black Performers in Turn of the Century America, argues that the popular stage was a part of the political debate.
— Darryl Pinckney

Journal of American History

By examining the history of leading black artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Sotiropoulos addresses an important and often overlooked aspect of African American history. Staging Race is a valuable addition to the field of cultural studies and offers readers a new perspective on the role of commercial amusements and celebrity artists in the transformation of American race relations during the twentieth century.
— Scott A. Newman

New York Review of Books
Nowadays black minstrels are not seen as black performers trapped into humiliating roles, but as black performers helping to define what blackness was. Karen Sotiropoulos, in her extremely useful history, Staging Race: Black Performers in Turn of the Century America, argues that the popular stage was a part of the political debate.
— Darryl Pinckney
Journal of American History
By examining the history of leading black artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Sotiropoulos addresses an important and often overlooked aspect of African American history. Staging Race is a valuable addition to the field of cultural studies and offers readers a new perspective on the role of commercial amusements and celebrity artists in the transformation of American race relations during the twentieth century.
— Scott A. Newman
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674027602
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 0.69 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Sotiropoulos is Associate Professor of History at Cleveland State University.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Politics, Not Minstrelsy

1. Minstrel Men and the World's Fair

2. Vaudeville Stages and Black Bohemia

3. The "Coon Craze" and the Search for Authenticity

4. "No Place Like Home": Africa on Stage

5. Morals, Manners, and Stage Life

6. Black Bohemia Moves to Harlem

Coda: Hokum Redux

Notes

Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com 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 & Noble.com 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 & Noble.com 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 BN.com 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

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com 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 BN.com. 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)