Course Description: See Schedule of Courses for specific titles. Spring. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Section Description: Intercultural Performance Studies: African American and Irish Identities on Stage, Page, Screen and Street Political and cultural relations between African American and Irish communities (both in the US and in Ireland) have a long and complicated history. As early as the 18th century the Irish and African “races” were often discussed analogously and pejoratively in British colonial discourse. By 1845, when Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery on a ship called the Cambria and landed in Ireland on the eve of the Irish Famine, he joined forces with Irish political leader and “liberator,” Daniel O’Connell, who introduced Douglass in Dublin that year as “The Black O’Connell of the United States.” Since that time there has been a diverse variety of interactions – imaginatively, critically, politically, and physically – within and between these communities. However, the relationship between these groups has not always been one of positive reinforcement. In large measure, the sense that their struggles were the “same” was considered true in direct measure to the distance between the communities. In fact, the Irish in America were the first minstrels to perform in blackface on the American stage. While they lived in very close proximity to their African-American neighbors, they most often did not see themselves in the same struggle against oppression and equal rights to full citizenship. Yet, the Irish Renaissance that flourished from the coast of Galway to the theatres of Dublin in early 20th century was one source of inspiration for the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920-30s. In fact, throughout the 20th century political as well as theatrical alliances continued to circulate: the Northern Irish Civil Rights Movement in the late 1960s adopted the American Civil Rights Movement as its model for peaceful protest, and included protest songs such as “We Shall Overcome” to name just one example. In this class we will use performance as a lens to read, analyze and discuss a variety of texts that elucidate relations in and between the Irish, Irish American and African-American communities. We will examine historical documents, critical essays, political cartoons, and plays, as well as view theatrical and cinematic performances from past and present. This class will investigate the relationship between history and performance, and explore how the field of performance studies provides key tools for a critical examination of historical representation across mediums.
|MW||16:05 - 17:20||LAFAYETTE HALL L411|
Instructor(s): Kathleen Maguire Gough
Meeting Dates: 12 Jan 2015 - 29 Apr 2015