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Love Theft

Author: Eric Lott
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199361630
Size: 72.83 MB
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For over two centuries, America has celebrated the same African-American culture it attempts to control and repress, and nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than in the strange practice of blackface performance. Born of extreme racial and class conflicts, the blackface minstrel show appropriated black dialect, music, and dance; at once applauded and lampooned black culture; and, ironically, contributed to a "blackening of America." Drawing on recent research in cultural studies and social history, Eric Lott examines the role of the blackface minstrel show in the political struggles of the years leading up to the Civil War. Reading minstrel music, lyrics, jokes, burlesque skits, and illustrations in tandem with working-class racial ideologies and the sex/gender system, Love and Theft argues that blackface minstrelsy both embodied and disrupted the racial tendencies of its largely white, male, working-class audiences. Underwritten by envy as well as repulsion, sympathetic identification as well as fear--a dialectic of "love and theft"--the minstrel show continually transgressed the color line even as it enabled the formation of a self-consciously white working class. Lott exposes minstrelsy as a signifier for multiple breaches: the rift between high and low cultures, the commodification of the dispossessed by the empowered, the attraction mixed with guilt of whites caught in the act of cultural thievery. This new edition celebrates the twentieth anniversary of this landmark volume. It features a new foreword by renowned critic Greil Marcus that discusses the book's influence on American cultural studies as well as its relationship to Bob Dylan's 2001 album of the same name, "Love & Theft." In addition, Lott has written a new afterword that extends the study's range to the twenty-first century.

Love And Theft Blackface Minstrelsy And The American Working Class

Author: Department of English University of Virginia Eric Lott Associate Professor
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780199762248
Size: 71.30 MB
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For over two centuries, America has celebrated the very black culture it attempts to control and repress, and nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than in the strange practice of blackface performance. Born of extreme racial and class conflicts, the blackface minstrel show sometimes usefully intensified them. Based on the appropriation of black dialect, music, and dance, minstrelsy at once applauded and lampooned black culture, ironically contributing to a "blackening of America." Drawing on recent research in cultural studies and social history, Eric Lott examines the role of the blackface minstrel show in the political struggles of the years leading up to the Civil War. Reading minstrel music, lyrics, jokes, burlesque skits, and illustrations in tandem with working-class racial ideologies and the sex/gender system, Love and Theft argues that blackface minstrelsy both embodied and disrupted the racial tendencies of its largely white, male, working-class audiences. Underwritten by envy as well as repulsion, sympathetic identification as well as fear--a dialectic of "love and theft"--the minstrel show continually transgressed the color line even as it enabled the formation of a self-consciously white working class. Lott exposes minstrelsy as a signifier for multiple breaches: the rift between high and low cultures, the commodification of the dispossessed by the empowered, the attraction mixed with guilt of whites caught in the act of cultural thievery.

Black Mirror

Author: Eric Lott
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674967712
Size: 72.85 MB
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Blackness is a prized commodity in American pop culture. Marketed to white consumers, it invites whites to view themselves in a mirror of racial difference, while remaining “wholly” white. From sports to literature, film, and music to investigative journalism, Eric Lott reveals the hidden dynamics of this self-and-other racial mirroring.

The Arts And Culture Of The American Civil War

Author: James A. Davis
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1315438232
Size: 31.93 MB
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In 1864, Union soldier Charles George described a charge into battle by General Phil Sheridan: "Such a picture of earnestness and determination I never saw as he showed as he came in sight of the battle field . . . What a scene for a painter!" These words proved prophetic, as Sheridan’s desperate ride provided the subject for numerous paintings and etchings as well as songs and poetry. George was not alone in thinking of art in the midst of combat; the significance of the issues under contention, the brutal intensity of the fighting, and the staggering number of casualties combined to form a tragedy so profound that some could not help but view it through an aesthetic lens, to see the war as a concert of death. It is hardly surprising that art influenced the perception and interpretation of the war given the intrinsic role that the arts played in the lives of antebellum Americans. Nor is it surprising that literature, music, and the visual arts were permanently altered by such an emotional and material catastrophe. In The Arts and Culture of the American Civil War, an interdisciplinary team of scholars explores the way the arts – theatre, music, fiction, poetry, painting, architecture, and dance – were influenced by the war as well as the unique ways that art functioned during and immediately following the war. Included are discussions of familiar topics (such as Ambrose Bierce, Peter Rothermel, and minstrelsy) with less-studied subjects (soldiers and dance, epistolary songs). The collection as a whole sheds light on the role of race, class, and gender in the production and consumption of the arts for soldiers and civilians at this time; it also draws attention to the ways that art shaped – and was shaped by – veterans long after the war.

Country Soul

Author: Charles L. Hughes
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469622440
Size: 74.13 MB
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In the sound of the 1960s and 1970s, nothing symbolized the rift between black and white America better than the seemingly divided genres of country and soul. Yet the music emerged from the same songwriters, musicians, and producers in the recording studios of Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, and Muscle Shoals, Alabama--what Charles L. Hughes calls the "country-soul triangle." In legendary studios like Stax and FAME, integrated groups of musicians like Booker T. and the MGs and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section produced music that both challenged and reconfirmed racial divisions in the United States. Working with artists from Aretha Franklin to Willie Nelson, these musicians became crucial contributors to the era's popular music and internationally recognized symbols of American racial politics in the turbulent years of civil rights protests, Black Power, and white backlash. Hughes offers a provocative reinterpretation of this key moment in American popular music and challenges the conventional wisdom about the racial politics of southern studios and the music that emerged from them. Drawing on interviews and rarely used archives, Hughes brings to life the daily world of session musicians, producers, and songwriters at the heart of the country and soul scenes. In doing so, he shows how the country-soul triangle gave birth to new ways of thinking about music, race, labor, and the South in this pivotal period.

The Challenge Of American History

Author: Louis P. Masur
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 9780801862229
Size: 19.97 MB
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In The Challenge of American History, Louis Masur brings together a sampling of recent scholarship to determine the key issues preoccupying historians of American history and to contemplate the discipline's direction for the future. The fifteen summary essays included in this volume allow professional historians, history teachers, and students to grasp in a convenient and accessible form what historians have been writing about.

Journal Of The Civil War Era

Author: William A. Blair
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469616009
Size: 60.98 MB
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The Journal of the Civil War Era Volume 4, Number 4 December 2014 TABLE OF CONTENTS Articles Gary Gallagher & Kathryn Shively Meier Coming to Terms with Civil War Military History Peter C. Luebke "Equal to Any Minstrel Concert I Ever Attended at Home": Union Soldiers and Blackface Performance in the Civil War South John J. Hennessy Evangelizing for Union, 1863: The Army of the Potomac, Its Enemies at Home, and a New Solidarity Andrew F. Lang Republicanism, Race, and Reconstruction: The Ethos of Military Occupation in Civil War America Professional Notes Kevin M. Levin Black Confederates Out of the Attic and Into the Mainstream Book Reviews Books Received Notes on Contributors

Censoring Racial Ridicule

Author: M. Alison Kibler
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469618370
Size: 25.58 MB
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A drunken Irish maid slips and falls. A greedy Jewish pawnbroker lures his female employee into prostitution. An African American man leers at a white woman. These and other, similar images appeared widely on stages and screens across America during the early twentieth century. In this provocative study, M. Alison Kibler uncovers, for the first time, powerful and concurrent campaigns by Irish, Jewish and African Americans against racial ridicule in popular culture at the turn of the twentieth century. Censoring Racial Ridicule explores how Irish, Jewish, and African American groups of the era resisted harmful representations in popular culture by lobbying behind the scenes, boycotting particular acts, and staging theater riots. Kibler demonstrates that these groups' tactics evolved and diverged over time, with some continuing to pursue street protest while others sought redress through new censorship laws. Exploring the relationship between free expression, democracy, and equality in America, Kibler shows that the Irish, Jewish, and African American campaigns against racial ridicule are at the roots of contemporary debates over hate speech.

Huck Finn S America

Author: Andrew Levy
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1439186987
Size: 65.81 MB
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A provocative, exuberant, and deeply researched investigation into Mark Twain’s writing of America’s favorite icon of childhood, Huckleberry Finn: “A boldly revisionist reading of Twain’s Huckleberry Finn…Twain’s masterpiece emerges as a compelling depiction of nineteenth-century troubles still all too familiar in the twenty-first century” (Booklist, starred review). In the “groundbreaking” (Dallas Morning News) Huck Finn’s America, award-winning biographer Andrew Levy shows how modern readers have misunderstood Huckleberry Finn for decades. Mark Twain’s masterpiece is often discussed either as a carefree adventure story for children or a serious novel about race relations, yet Levy argues, it is neither. Instead, Huck Finn was written at a time when Americans were nervous about “uncivilized” bad boys, and a debate was raging about education, popular culture, and responsible parenting—casting Huck’s now-celebrated “freedom” in a very different and very modern light. On issues of race, on the other hand, Twain’s lifelong fascination with minstrel shows and black culture inspired him to write a book not about civil rights, but about race’s role in entertainment and commerce, the same features on which much of our own modern consumer culture is also grounded. In Levy’s vision, Huck Finn has more to say about contemporary children and race that we have ever imagined—if we are willing to hear it. An eye-opening, groundbreaking exploration of the character and psyche of Mark Twain as he was writing his most famous novel, Levy’s book “explores the soul of Mark Twain's enduring achievement with the utmost self-awareness...An eloquent argument, wrapped up in rich biographical detail and historical fact.” (USA TODAY). Huck Finn’s America brings the past to vivid, surprising life, and offers a persuasive argument for why this American classic deserves to be understood anew.

The Product Of Our Souls

Author: David Gilbert
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 146962270X
Size: 79.38 MB
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In 1912 James Reese Europe made history by conducting his 125-member Clef Club Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. The first concert by an African American ensemble at the esteemed venue was more than just a concert--it was a political act of desegregation, a defiant challenge to the status quo in American music. In this book, David Gilbert explores how Europe and other African American performers, at the height of Jim Crow, transformed their racial difference into the mass-market commodity known as "black music." Gilbert shows how Europe and others used the rhythmic sounds of ragtime, blues, and jazz to construct new representations of black identity, challenging many of the nation's preconceived ideas about race, culture, and modernity and setting off a musical craze in the process. Gilbert sheds new light on the little-known era of African American music and culture between the heyday of minstrelsy and the Harlem Renaissance. He demonstrates how black performers played a pioneering role in establishing New York City as the center of American popular music, from Tin Pan Alley to Broadway, and shows how African Americans shaped American mass culture in their own image.