Presentation Title

P-07 Negotiating the White Gaze: American Moor and Adaptation as Revision/Re-vision

Presenter Status

Associate Professor, English

Preferred Session

Poster Session

Start Date

25-10-2019 2:00 PM

Presentation Abstract

This poster presents a work-in-progress: a comparative analysis of three versions of the play American Moor. In this performance, Keith Hamilton Cobb uses Shakespeare's Othello as a frame to tackle stereotypes about black masculinity and the ways they shape black men's everyday experiences. This meditation on race, Shakespeare, American culture and black masculinity's belonging (or lack thereof) directly confronts how white perceptions of blackness⁠—the white gaze⁠—delimit the roles black men can play in Shakespeare and in the society around them. Cobb's production insists on adaptation⁠—a willingness to see both Shakespeare and black men differently⁠—as a powerful response that allows for a re-vision of entrenched racial thinking. But the play itself stages the difficulty of adapting to new racial views, a difficulty the play's transformations across time and for different performance spaces exposes. This project explores the effects of the revisions undertaken as American Moor transforms for predominantly white audiences. Preliminary analyses suggest that the play’s producers push for changes that make the audience’s potential complicity in anti-black ideology less prominent. Yet Cobb’s commitment to audience education via a range of strategies powerfully counters attempts to mute the play’s racial polemic, which insists on a re-vision, a new vision, of race.

Acknowledgments

This work is supported by a Faculty Research Grant awarded by the Office of Research and Creative Scholarship at Andrews University.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Oct 25th, 2:00 PM

P-07 Negotiating the White Gaze: American Moor and Adaptation as Revision/Re-vision

This poster presents a work-in-progress: a comparative analysis of three versions of the play American Moor. In this performance, Keith Hamilton Cobb uses Shakespeare's Othello as a frame to tackle stereotypes about black masculinity and the ways they shape black men's everyday experiences. This meditation on race, Shakespeare, American culture and black masculinity's belonging (or lack thereof) directly confronts how white perceptions of blackness⁠—the white gaze⁠—delimit the roles black men can play in Shakespeare and in the society around them. Cobb's production insists on adaptation⁠—a willingness to see both Shakespeare and black men differently⁠—as a powerful response that allows for a re-vision of entrenched racial thinking. But the play itself stages the difficulty of adapting to new racial views, a difficulty the play's transformations across time and for different performance spaces exposes. This project explores the effects of the revisions undertaken as American Moor transforms for predominantly white audiences. Preliminary analyses suggest that the play’s producers push for changes that make the audience’s potential complicity in anti-black ideology less prominent. Yet Cobb’s commitment to audience education via a range of strategies powerfully counters attempts to mute the play’s racial polemic, which insists on a re-vision, a new vision, of race.