Making History Black: Theatre and the Art of Reimagination, examines how contemporary black theatre artists such as Colman Domingo, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Katori Hall, Jeremy O’ Harris, Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins, and Dominique Morisseau, stage imaginative reconstructions of the past and render "flashpoints" of African American history such as the antebellum period, the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power Movement and the present through the prismatic vantage point of black female subjectivity. The playwrights are a varied lot by gender, class, sexual identity, and outlook, yet all their work seems to readily convey that, when it comes to black characters, communities and lives – especially that of agent black women, the historical record is wanting of a deep overhaul and re-examination. A historic re-imagination, as I’ve configured the cultural production of these black theatre artists. Black feminist scholars such as Saidiya Hartman, Barbara Ransby, Imani Perry, and Gabrielle Forman are actively engaged in recovery projects to write black women into the nation’s historic record by excavating black women’s contributions to political and cultural movements and institutions. My project is distinct, not only in that my focus is on theater as literature and event, but I am working without an established archive and on work that is vitally and urgently present tense. I trace then not the arc of historical narratives and timelines or even of representation, but rather the imaginative arcs (and detours, and forkings) of these writers as they “play” with the flashpoints of black life in the US.
The ideal undergraduate researcher will be a strong writer, organized, responsible and familiar with and interested in contemporary US theatre.
I require a researcher from Spring 2021 to Spring 2022.
Students will be tasked with researching scholarship on contemporary playwrights, and organizing and maintaining files.