Rhae Lynn Barnes Humanities and Social Science
The Print Culture and Gender RElations of Amateur Minstrelsy
Blackface minstrel shows in the 19th century are well documented, but their parallel counter-part, amateur minstrelsy, is believed to be a peripheral phenomenon implemented by scattered radicals. Thousands of blackface plays were written and distributed in the 20th century with crucial contributions to both racial and gender construction that have not been cataloged or analyzed. I will track amateur minstrelsys print culture between 1890 and 1960, expanding its chronology, increase minstrel researchs geography to the American Midwest, further illuminate the cross-dressing gender conflict in minstrelsy, and provide a bibliographical analysis of amateur minstrelsy by tracking its print culture. This bibliographic database will fill the baffling 100-year gap between 19th century professional minstrelsy and contemporary coverage of its traces in film and television.