“Exporting Jim Crow: Blackface Minstrelsy in South Africa and Beyond” a Talk by Chinua Thelwell

Online Event

24/11/2020, 3:30 pm - TO 24/11/2020 - 5:00 pm

Organizer: McMaster University

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Following the pathways of imperial commerce, blackface minstrel troupes began to cross the globe in the mid-nineteenth century, popularizing American racial ideologies as they traveled from Britain to its colonies in the Pacific, Asia, and Oceania, finally landing in South Africa during the 1860s and 1870s.

The first popular culture export of the United States, blackface minstrel shows frequently portrayed black characters as non-citizens who were unfit for democratic participation and contributed to the construction of a global color line. Chinua Thelwell brings blackface minstrelsy and performance culture into the discussion of apartheid’s nineteenth-century origins and afterlife, drawing upon a broad archive of sources.

Exporting Jim Crow highlights blackface minstrelsy’s cultural and social impact as it became a dominant form of entertainment, moving from its initial appearances on music hall stages to its troubling twentieth-century resurgence on movie screens and at public events. This carefully researched and highly original study proves that the performance of race in South Africa was inherently political, contributing to racism and shoring up white racial identity.

Here are the Zoom meeting details:
Meeting ID: 951 2694 8145
Passcode: 520011