The Problem of the Color[blind]: Racial Transgression and the Politics of Black Performance
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Beautifully written and cogently argued, The Problem of the Color[blind] addresses one of the most persistent sociopolitical questions in contemporary culture: 'Are we a multicultural nation, or a colorblind one?' A tremendously illuminating study that promises to break new ground in the fields of theater and performance studies, African American Studies, feminist theory, cultural studies, and film and television studies. ---Daphne Brooks, Princeton University The Problem of the Color[blind] focuses on black performance in theater, film, and television to examine and theorize questions of multiculturalism versus colorblindness in American culture. The book explores aspects of nontraditional casting, a practice that assumes the possibility and desirability of a performing body that is somehow race neutral. Nontraditional casting occurs often enough that audiences can recognize it as a product of integration within American culture, but it's practiced far less than it could be and remains largely untheorized. Brandi Catanese explores questions that colorblind casting provokes, including what cultural and aesthetic processes are at play and where race neutrality is located (e.g., in the eyes of the spectator, in the body of the performer, in the medium of the performance?). Concluding that ideologies of transcendence are ahistorical and therefore unenforceable, Catanese advances the concept of racial transgression as her chapters move between readings of dramatic texts, films, and popular culture, and debates in critical race theory and the culture wars. Brandi Wilkins Catanese is Associate Professor of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies and African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
- University of Michigan Press, October 2012
University of Michigan Press
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