BOOK: Thompson on Dance, Slavery and Performance

Katrina Dyonne Thompson, Ring Shout, Wheel About: The Racial Politics of Music and Dance in North American Slavery. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2014.

via UI Press:

“In this ambitious project, historian Katrina Thompson examines the conceptualization and staging of race through the performance, sometimes coerced, of black dance from the slave ship to the minstrel stage. She shows how these performances informed white European and American understandings of race, influenced interactions between whites and blacks, and often held conflicting meanings in enslaved people’s lives.

“Drawing on travel journals, slave narratives, popular literature, and historical sources, Thompson explicates how black dance was used by whites to justify enslavement, perpetuate the existing racial hierarchy, and mask the brutality of the domestic slave trade. Whether on slave ships, at the auction block, or on plantations, whites often used coerced performances to oppress and demean the enslaved…”

 

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