Live Stream: Ayanna Thompson presents Blackface, in conversation with Natalie Hopkinson

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The event is co-sponsored by Skylight Books in Los Angeles, CA and Source Booksellers in Detroit, MI.

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Ayanna Thompson is a Regents Professor of English and Director of the Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies (ACMRS) at Arizona State University. For more information, visit her website,

In the latest entry in Bloomsbury's Object Lessons Series, Thompson’s Blackface explores what blackface is, why it occurred, and why this racist tradition remains so popular, so persistent, well into the 21st century. Thompson, a Renaissance literature and theater scholar, traces the origins of blackface from Medieval morality plays to the American minstrel shows of the nineteenth century. Thompson argues that blackface perpetuates white supremacy, and concludes by making an impassioned argument for why, particularly in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, we must extirpate the practice from our culture.

“Blackface reveals a legacy of performance that is pointed and detrimental, known but purposely forgotten. Thompson's analysis is exquisite and exact. A new entry for the historical record.” – Ibram X. Kendi, Founding Director, Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, and author of How to Be An Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning

“Essential! This is a lucid, engaging, and long overdue exorcism of American culture's greatest haunt.” – Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Associate Director, Playwriting MFA program, Hunter College, CUNY, USA, recipient of the Obie Award for Best New American Play (Appropriate, An Octoroon) and Pulitzer Prize finalist (Gloria, Everybody)

Natalie Hopkinson is Associate Professor of Communication, Culture and Media Studies at Howard University. She is the author of Go-Go Live (Duke University Press, 2012) and A Mouth is Always Muzzled (The New Press, 2018). For more information, visit her website.

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Virtual Event on YouTube
Blackface (Object Lessons) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501374012
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Academic - April 8th, 2021

A Mouth Is Always Muzzled: Six Dissidents, Five Continents, and the Art of Resistance Cover Image
ISBN: 9781620971246
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: New Press - February 6th, 2018

SKU: x672389