Africans on Stage

Africans on Stage

Studies in Ethnological Show Business
Bernth Lindfors, Bernth Lindfors
Distribution: World
Publication date: 04/22/2000
Format: Hardback 40 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-33468-8
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...engaging, richly illustrated, and well-reserached.... Part anthology, cultural studies, history, journalism and political science, it... manages to consistently engage the reader..." - African Studies Review

Lindfors's book shows how the 'edutainment' of the 19th century perpetuated an ignorance of Africa that makes it easy for whites to stay racist and difficult for blacks to gain an accurate and dignified understanding of their heritage.... an unusually strong, readable collection." —Boston Book Review

Ethnological show business—that is, the displaying of foreign peoples for commercial and/or educational purposes—has a very long history. In the 19th and 20th centuries some of the most interesting individuals and groups exhibited in Europe and America came from Africa, or were said to come from Africa. African showpeople (real as well as counterfeit), managers and impresarios, and the audiences who came to gape are the featured attractions here—how they individually and in concert helped to shape Western perceptions of Africans.

Author Bio

Bernth Lindfors is Professor of English and African Literatures at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the founding editor of the journal of Research in African Literature and has written and edited a number of books on African verbal arts, the most recent being African Textualities: Texts, Pre-texts, and Contexts of African Literature (1997).

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Table of Contents

Zoe Strother, Display of the Body Hottentot
Bernth Lindfors, Charles Dickens and the Zulus
Shane Peacock, Africa Meets the Great Farini
Veit Erlmann, ‘Spectatorial Lust’: The African Choir in England, 1891-1893
Robert W. Rydell, ‘Darkest Africa’: African Shows at America’s World’s Fairs, 1893-1940
Jeffrey Green, A Strange Revelation in Humankind: Six Congo Pygmies in Britain, 1905-1907
Harvey Blume, Ota Benga and the Barnum Perplex
Neil Parsons, ‘Clicko,’ Franz Taaibosch, South African Bushman Entertainer in England, France, Cuba, and the United States, 1908-1940