Re-inventing the Mask: Masking and Minstrelsy in African-American Literature
This research project examines the history of the cultural phenomenon blackface minstrelsy in order to study the themes of masking and minstrelsy in African-American literature. Because the minstrel tradition had influences on nineteenth-century works by white authors, this study considers primary readings by Herman Melville and Mark Twain. It also focuses on works by African-American authors such as William Craft, Toni Morrison, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Amiri Baraka. This study contextualizes how African-American authors present the idea of minstrelsy in their works and discusses how the meanings of masking, as a tool for dealing with race relations, are different for white and African-American authors.
Humanities / English
Professor Nancy Castro
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