Unit I: Minstrelsy
Key Concepts: Race, Slavery, South, Performance, Class, Gender
Wednesday, August 23
Topic: Introduction and Overview: Doing American Studies
Assignment: Find the right room
Monday, August 28
Topic: Blackface Minstrelsy: Race, Ambiguity, and Popular Culture in America
Assignment: Stephen Johnson, “Introduction: The Persistence of Blackface and the Minstrel Tradition,” (excerpt, pp. 1-9), from Stephen Johnson, ed., Burnt Cork: Traditions and Legacies of Blackface Minstrelsy (2012); and Eric Lott, “’The Seeming Counterfeit’: Racial Politics and Early Blackface Minstrelsy,” American Quarterly 43, no. 2 (June 1991): 223-254.
Wednesday, August 30
Topic: The History of Nineteenth Century Blackface Minstrelsy: Dancing Fools and Blacked Up Black Men
Monday, September 4
Topic: Blackface in the Twentieth Century: Minstrelsy and Folk Music
Assignment: “folk” songs; Hale, “Black as Folk: The Folk Music Revival, the Civil Rights Movement, and Bob Dylan” from Grace Elizabeth Hale, A Nation of Outsiders (2011)
Wednesday, September 6
Topic: Minstrelsy in Contemporary Popular Culture
Assignment: film: Spike Lee, Bamboozled (2000) located in the class's Kaltura Media Gallery in Collab; and Alice Maurice, “From New Deal to No Deal: Blackface Minstrelsy, Bamboozled, and Reality Television,” (pp. 191-222) in Stephen Johnson, ed., Burnt Cork: Traditions and Legacies of Blackface Minstrelsy (2012).