Morgan Centre seminar: 'Blackface Desdemona: Theorizing Interracial Kinship Anxieties from William Shakespeare to Toni Morrison'
|Starts:||15:00 9 Feb 2022|
|Ends:||16:00 9 Feb 2022|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
|Who is it for:||University staff, External researchers, Adults, Current University students|
|Speaker:||Dr Brigitte Fielder|
Speaker: Brigitte Fielder (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Depictions of white women in interracial sexual kinship illustrate the rhetoric by which antebellum discourses of race theorize blackness as transferrable from Black men (who “have” race) to white women (who “receive” race.) While Othello and Desdemona become iconic figures of interracial sexual relations in the American nineteenth-century, more complex rhetorics of racial marking and desire are at play in blackface minstrel productions of Othello, in which even Desdemona is represented in blackface. These plays demonstrate how Desdemona’s “begrimed” appearance literalized cultural and political anxieties about the “transfer” of racial marking from Black men to white women through interracial sex. Toni Morrison’s Desdemona (2011) re-centers the play’s race relations as a dialectic between the white woman and her childhood nurse. Recognizing Black women beyond the caricatures of racist minstrelsy further shifts white women’s potential and failures of interracial kinship beyond normative genealogies.
Brigitte Fielder is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
All welcome, register via Eventbrite to receive details of how to join the seminar.
Photo by Molly Blackbird on Unsplash.
Travel and Contact Information
Online - register to receive details of how to join the seminar.