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Black Women in Contemporary Performance


This course considers the ways in which Black women have operationalized performance as a site for cultural criticism and social commentary. Centering the work of artists including Josephine Baker, Katherine Dunham and others, students will investigate how the use of dance, music, song, costume and other performance elements are leveraged to both stabilize and interrupt audience assumptions about the possibilities of performance beyond entertainment or the stimulation of pleasure. The course will consider how notions of race, gender and sexuality are repeated as consistent performative acts and how these categories are crafted and expressed through the artistic choices of select Black women performers working across theatrical genres from the 1920s to the present.

Counts as an elective in the Cultural Production & Expression category of the Africana Studies major (Geographic Region = North America).
Satisfies a requirement in the Literary & Cultural Representations track of the Gender & Sexuality Studies major and minor.
Counts as an elective for the Dance minor.
Satisfies the Visual and Performing Arts requirement.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.