Designs and Performances of Blackness: Contextualizing the Performance of Blackness in Modern China


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Predissertation Travel Grants to China


Theatre History and Theory


By selecting the most significant performances from the late 20th century to the 1990s and comparing the two very opposite readings and performances of black cultures and racial blackness, one is inscribing racial blackness in China’s own history of staging nationalism and anti-colonialism, and another is turning the performance of black cultures into the construction of China's urban middle class and cosmopolitanism, my project, from a dramaturgical perspective, examines how several historical moments led up to these theatrical and social performances of racial blackness in China. Furthermore, my project demonstrates how the repertoire itself shows a complex relationship to colonialism, modernity, and class consciousness, as well as a historical dialect of Chinese modernism.