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Title: Performing Between the Lines: AfroAsian Encounters Between African American and Japanese American Performers
Authors: Tillman, Teri
Advisors: Scheppele, Kim Lane
Department: Sociology
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: This thesis attempts to investigate the purposes of cross-cultural racial parody, specifically when Japanese Americans parody black culture and African Americans parody Japanese culture. Some cultural historians have understood such instances of cross-cultural racial performance as mere cultural appropriation preserving existing racial stereotypes within American society. Other historians suggest the use of racial parody as a means of asserting the performer’s own unique identity when the practice is put into contexts that allow performers to empathize with the parodied cultural group. Using theoretical concepts from dramaturgical sociology, gender studies, and queer cultural studies I investigate specific cases of Japanese American blackface and African American yellowface. While I note the ways in which many instances of cross-cultural racial performance merely appropriate culture, my close reading of Japanese American blackface and African American yellowface uncovers the possibility for the reconceptualization and reterritorialization of minstrel traditions in which culturally empathetic Japanese American and African American performers use existing male orientalist and white supremacist structures to disidentify and repurpose their cross-cultural racial performances as cites of revolutionary AfroAsian exchange.
Extent: 110 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Sociology, 1954-2016

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