Daphne A. Brooks | Lemonade from Lemons: Black Women Artists and the Gershwin Problem, 1935-2020
Lecture | February 6 | 4-5:30 p.m. | Durham Studio Theater (Dwinelle Hall) | Note change in location
Daphne A. Brooks, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of African American Studies; Professor of Theater Studies, American Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Yale University
The Patrick Finelli Keynote Speaker Series and the Performance Studies Graduate Speaker Series present Daphne A. Brooks, "Lemonade from Lemons: Black Women Artists and the Gershwin Problem, 1935-2020."
As we approach the 85th anniversary of George Gershwin and DuBose Heywards complicated and stubbornly enduring folk opera, Porgy and Bess, this talk interrogates the politics and poetics of black feminist performance practices and strategies of (re)arrangement in relation to this text and its multiplicity of iterationsfrom southern renaissance blackface novel to local color four-act play, from behemoth, multi-generic musical to American songbook playlist canon. It ultimately aims to recuperate the secret history of sonic strategy and counter-archiving deployed by stage actors, cabaret chanteuse virtuosos, jazz geniuses, and contemporary pop phenoms who dissected, disassembled, and redesigned the sound and aesthetics of black womanhood by way of the Gershwin and Heyward problem. Their work reminds us that at the heart of Porgy and Bess, theres a riot goin on.
About the Speaker
Daphne A. Brooks is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of African American Studies, Theater Studies, American Studies, and Womens, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. She is the author of two books: Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910 (Durham, NC: Duke UP), winner of The Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship on African American Performance from ASTR, and Jeff Buckleys Grace (New York: Continuum, 2005). Brooks is currently working on a three-volume study of black women and popular music culture entitled Subterranean Blues: Black Women Sound Modernity. The first volume in the trilogy, Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Archive, the Critic, and Black Womens Sound Cultures, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press.