The blackface minstrel show is one of the most controversial types of early American music. Regardless, it has had a tremendous impact on American society (both good and bad). This was America’s first musical form that was part of a “mass” culture (as opposed to folk or high culture). Due to the large number of touring minstrel troupes (white troupes prior to the Civil War, and black troupes appearing after), most of America had been exposed to the minstrel show and embraced it for a variety of reasons.
Plan on about 2 hours to complete the reading and assignment.
Read about the minstrel show at the link below before beginning the assignment. Be sure to watch the three-minute documentary clip and other videos embedded into the reading. This will give you some general background on the minstrel show before you read further for this assignment.
Read about the minstrel shows at the links below, then answer the questions that appear following the links. First, however, have a look at the topics listed below. The assigned reading for this assignment will provide some information on each of them.
A stereotype is “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing” (Google). In this case, the stereotypes are exaggerations and inaccurate representations of a group of people (black slaves) that have persisted beyond the minstrel show.
As you read, look for information on these topics:
Reading Link (链接到外部网站。)链接到外部网站。 1 (Here is a brief overview of the Minstrel Show.)
Reading Link (链接到外部网站。)链接到外部网站。2 (Please read all seven pages. Caveat: this is an amateur enthusiast’s exploration of the Minstrel Show. As such, it is uneven in quality, but does provide interesting perspective. I’m not a fan of the writing at this website. You’ll find there many errors of the sort I’m trying to discourage in your own posts. 🙂 Don’t use this writing as a model!)
Video Link (链接到外部网站。)链接到外部网站。 1 (Watch this 7-minute video.) This is a pre-workshop discussion by the director and company members of Spectrum Dance Theatre of Seattle, who in 2015-2016 presented a minstrel-show-based workshop performance. In this video they talk about the content and purpose of this production.
This activity has two purposes:
Be sure to have at least completed the reading for Assignment 4 before beginning this discussion. You’ll need that background information for these tasks to make sense!
Choose TWO of the three topics below and post the information you find.
Reminder about how to post videos: after pasting the link into the discussion forum, place the cursor at the end of the link and press “ENTER” in order to embed the video in to your post. If you have followed these directions and are still having trouble making the video appear, email Dr. Burdick for help.