"American Circuits, American Secrets"/ CAAS 2014 (09/18-21, 2014) Race, Performance, and Transnational Entertainment Circuits

full name / name of organization: 
Kristin Moriah/ The Graduate Center/CUNY
contact email: 

We are seeking a third panelist to help us explore the outer limits of the vaudeville circuit in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Our panel is concerned with transnational performances of race and racial mimicry on the popular stage in Europe. We are particularly interested in racialized American vaudeville acts and performers who travelled on the European continent during this period and the dissonance and consonances that emerge from their performances of racial identity in foreign contexts. Of course, the consumption of racial stereotypes in international contexts is linked to US imperialist and European colonial impulses, but what form did these international performance practices take? What was at stake for performers and their audiences? What sorts of hidden performance histories lie in the wake of these transatlantic performance encounters?

We hope that a comparative study encompassing different genres of racial performance will emerge from our discussion. Work on Native American, African American, Latina/o or Asian performance during this period would be highly welcomed. Possible topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

interracial performance groups
ephemera and visual culture
musicality, musical genres and sound recordings
racial embodiment, racial passing and racial blurring
blackface, yellowface and brownface
stage Indians and cowboys
gendered performance and gender bending
queer couplings and relations
performance strategies of survival and escape
celebrity culture and publicity machines

American Circuits, American Secrets is an international and multidisciplinary conference of scholars hosted by the University of Alberta and will be held in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary meeting of the Canadian Association for American Studies. The conference will take place on September 18-21, 2014 in Banff, Alberta.

If you are interested in joining our panel we would like to hear from you. Please send abstracts of 250-300 words to kmoriah@gc.cuny.edu by January 10th, 2014.

Christine Bold, University of Guelph
Kristin Moriah, The Graduate Center/CUNY