Daphne Brooks, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of African American Studies, and Professor of Theater Studies, American Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Yale University
This talk threads together an exploration of women in blackface minstrelsy, race riots of the Progressive Era, the classic black women’s blues craze and the origins of one of the world’s most famous musicals. In particular, it questions the ways that African Americans navigated an early 20th-century popular culture that policed and restricted their sounds. Ultimately, it asserts that the struggle over radicalized sound in the 1910s was a battle waged between women artists — black and white, in the north and in the south, and on the eve of a blues music revolution.
Daphne A. Brooks is the author of two books: Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850–1910 (Durham, NC: Duke UP), winner of the Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship on African American Performance from ASTR; and Jeff Buckley’s Grace (New York: Continuum, 2005). Brooks is currently working on a three-volume study of black women and popular music culture titled Subterranean Blues: Black Women Sound Modernity. The first volume in the trilogy, Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Archive, the Critic, and Black Women’s Sound Cultures, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press.
Washington University faculty speakers: William Acree, associate professor of Spanish, American culture studies (Affiliate) and performing arts (Affiliate), and associate Director, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity; and Jonathan Fenderson, assistant professor of African and African-American studies